`I have been to a lot of paint outs, and this is the best one I have

ever been to," says Long Island painter Noel Darvie. "I think the

hospitality for the artists is phenomenal. I love this paint out, and

I can’t say that about the others."

Darvie is speaking about the Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart’s

annual paint out event, which takes place Saturday, October 21, at the

academy’s campus on Drake’s Corner Road in Princeton. The event, open

to artists and spectators alike, offers a day for artists to paint

scenes on the school’s beautiful grounds using oil, watercolor,

acrylic, or pastel. The school’s 43-acre campus includes the 22,000

square foot Manor House, designed by the well-known architect Rolf

Bauhan and built in an eclectic Gothic style. The campus also contains

other scenic areas including a grotto, stone gazebo, formal garden

with fountain, meadows, and woods. Visitors are encouraged to watch as

the artists create their works of art.

Darvie, who participated in the event in 2004, says this year he will

probably choose one of the architectural elements of the campus as his

subject matter, but adds, "I never know until I get there." Darvie was

born in Bronx, New York. His father was a jeweler and model maker, and

his mother was a housewife. Darvie attended Roosevelt High School in

Yonkers, graduating in 1968. He also studied college-level painting

and drawing at the Westchester Art Workshop and at the Art Students

League in New York. He lives in Valley Stream, Long Island, and is

currently a part-time artist, also working as a construction manager

for Merrill Lynch.

"I started out as a portrait painter and then went on to do landscapes

on location, and I’ve been doing that for over 25 years now," says


Unlike most paint outs, the event at Princeton Academy of the Sacred

Heart is free to the artists and they do not charge a commission on

paintings sold at the event. Sandra Tasca, event coordinator and

Academy parent: "This is a community building event in support of

artists." The first event in 2003 drew in 42 artists, and 2004 drew in

90 artists and 30 students. At the time of my conversation with Tasca,

she had already received positive responses from approximately 80

artists to the open call for this year’s event.

Russ Johnson participated in both previous events and plans to attend

this year. He says the campus "looks like old England. It’s a

spectacular location, one of the finest painting locations in New

Jersey, and it’s only open to the public to paint during this event.

It has open fields, deep woods, fountains – it’s really terrific and

it’s totally free, which is remarkable. It is above and beyond what

they have to do."

Johnson was born in Staten Island, his father a deputy sheriff, his

mother a homemaker. He earned a bachelors in English from Wagner

College in 1967 and a masters degree in 1972, taking "a bunch of art

courses" throughout. After five and a half years in the Air Force, and

starting a family, Johnson found himself the CEO of a small Citigroup

company, living in Princeton Junction, and painting watercolors in his

spare time. Eventually he decided he could not do it on a part-time

basis anymore. "In order to get where you want to be you have to bite

the bullet and give it a shot." Johnson has been painting full-time

since 2001.

`The big draw of this paint out is the architecture," says Johnson. In

his first year he painted the Manor House, and in the second he

painted the fountain. This year he is unsure what the subject will be

but it will follow his usual style, painting "smaller scenes with lots

of texture and detail rather than larger scenes." He also adds that

during the day he is usually able to finish his main piece and then

continue to make several less detailed studies.

The event begins at 6 a.m., with artists painting until 4 p.m. At 4:30

p.m. a wine and cheese reception will be held in the Manor House and

all of the works created during the paint out will be displayed and

available for purchase at a silent auction. At 6 p.m. the auction will

close and awards will be announced." And once again, sweetening the

pot, according to Tasca’s invitation, there will be breakfast and

coffee and treats in the Manor House and barbequed burgers at lunch,

all available to both artists and spectators.

Awards given will include the "Utrecht Plein-Air Award of Excellence,"

a $300 Artsmart Value card, a $250 award sponsored by the New American

Gallery for "the Watercolor Which Best Captures the Spirit of

Princeton Academy," the "Academy Award" of $100 for the most creative

use of light, and a "Newcomers Award" of $50

Yardley artist John Ennis, whose painting, "Purple Scarf" (see U.S. 1,

October 11), just won the Patrons Award at the 77th annual Phillips

Mill juried exhibition in Stockton, will return this year for the

experience of the event. He says via E-mail that last year’s event

took place on "a beautiful fall day, a great experience to paint with

fellow artists. I met several new friends there."

Ennis was born in Bristol, Pennsylvania, to a father who was a weaver

and a mother who was a nurse. He received a bachelors in fine art from

the Maryland Institute and is a life member of the Art Students

League. Ennis is currently a full-time artist; following a successful

career in illustration, he now primarily paints portraits. Using oil,

Ennis also paints various subjects including plein-air landscapes, but

he says his work consists of primarily figurative painting, both from

life and from photos. Last year at the Academy paint out, Ennis

painted foliage, but this year he says he "may choose some structure,

a building or fountain, and possibly add a figure."

According to the Academy’s website, "The paint out is a wonderful

experience for for young and old alike, perfect for families to enjoy

together." Spectators are encouraged to come and observe, ask

questions, talk with the artists, or bring their own supplies and

paint their own scenes.

Paint Out, Saturday, October 21, 6 a.m., Princeton Academy of the

Sacred Heart, 101 Drake’s Corner Road, Princeton, Artists are invited

to spend the day painting scenes on the school’s 43-acre grounds.

Complimentary lunch served to artists. Wine and cheese reception

features a silent auction of works created that day. Awards announced

at 6 p.m. Free. Rain or shine. 609-921-6499.

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