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New Rochelle High School Hosts Annual “En Plein Air & Raku” Day

Written By: Robert Cox

NEW ROCHELLE, NY (May 23, 2023) — New Rochelle High School held its annual “En Plein Air & Raku” day. The event took place in Huguenot Park, by the twin lakes off North Avenue on Thursday, May 18 from 8 am to 2 pm.

The “En Plein Air & Raku” day is an opportunity for advanced 2D and 3D art classes to showcase their work.

Guest artist @banshee.maria.7 from @banshee_maria_studio were in attendance, along with teachers @moiramccaul, @ellenzsalov, @scottseaboldt, @jojosk72, @banshee.maria.7, and @yummyknife.

The event was supported by @newrochellehighschoolpage, @creativenewro, @newrochellecouncilonthearts, and @newrochellehighschoolptsa.

It was a day of creativity and inspiration where students — all juniors — created and displayed amazing artwork. See more here.

“En plein air” is a French phrase meaning “in the open air” and refers to the act of painting outdoors ¹. This method contrasts with studio painting or academic rules that might create a predetermined look. The theory of ‘En plein air’ painting is credited to Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes (1750–1819), where he developed the concept of landscape portraiture by which the artist paints directly onto canvas in situ within the landscape. It enabled the artist to better capture the changing details of weather and light ¹.

Some renowned painters who practiced En Plein Air painting include French Impressionist painters such as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir ⁵. These artists advocated for plein air painting and much of their work was done outdoors ⁵.

One of Monet’s most famous paintings, “Impression, Sunrise,” was painted en plein air in 1872 ⁴.

Raku is a type of low-firing process that was inspired by traditional Japanese raku firing ¹. Western-style raku usually involves removing pottery from the kiln while at bright red heat and placing it into containers with combustible materials.

Once the materials ignite, the containers are closed. This produces an intense reduction atmosphere which affects the colors in glazes and clay bodies ¹. The term “Raku” translates roughly to “happiness in the accident” ³.


(1) En plein air – Wikipedia.

(2) En Plein Air – Modern Art Terms and Concepts | TheArtStory.

(3) All About En Plein Air Painting, What You Need to Know.

(2) What is En Plein Air Painting? Artists Who Paint Outdoors.

(3) What Is Plein-Air Painting? – The World of Open-Air Painting.

(4) These Artists Travel the World to Paint En Plein Air | Artsy.

(5) Plein Air Painting – A Detailed History of Open Air Painting.

(1) What Is Raku Pottery? – The Spruce Crafts.

(2) What Is Raku Pottery: Facts And Tips For Beginner Potters.

(3) Raku Definition & Meaning – Merriam-Webster.

(4) Overview of Japanese Pottery Technique Raku – The Spruce Crafts.