Organizers are putting the first strokes to this year’s America’s Great Plein Air Paint-out.

Organizers are putting the first strokes to this year’s America’s Great Plein Air Paint-out.

The Forgotten Coast Cultural Coalition will sponsor this year’s eighth-annual Paint-out, which brings artists from around the country to paint locales from Alligator Point in Franklin County to Mexico Beach in Bay County from May 2-12.

The official kickoff comes at 6:30 p.m. ET Monday, Jan. 14 with the 2013 Volunteer Kickoff and Appreciation gathering at the Indian Pass Raw Bar.

There will be oysters, shrimp and gumbo. The event is in need of volunteers, so Mary Kenny from the FCCC encourages folks to come out and “bring a friend.”

Plein air is French word that translates simply to “open air.”

John Constable, a 19th century English artist whose paintings bring hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction, encouraged artists to forget about formulas and “trust their own vision in finding truth in nature.”

Around that time, a group of artists in France focused on capturing everyday life and the natural world surrounding it. Plein air established the foundation for what became the Impressionist movement.

Plein air paintings are done on location, capturing the atmosphere of the movement, something of a photograph on canvas with brushwork, with little to no work in the studio.

Last year, 20 nationally-known artists gathered for America’s Great Plein Air Paint-out, setting up easels to document the landscape and culture of the Forgotten Coast, considered the last vestige of “Old Florida.”

The event included five exhibits across the Forgotten Coasts, daily artist demonstrations, two workshops, art sales and a series of public receptions.

“Many local artists gather and paint alongside the event’s invited artists; it is amazing to see the art being created,” said Joe Taylor, organizer of last year’s Paint-out.

The FCCC is a non-profit established to produce regional multi-community cultural events and coordinates the Paint-out among communities such as Mexico Beach, WindMark Beach, Port St. Joe, Cape San Blas, Indian Pass, Apalachicola, Eastpoint, St. George Island, Carrabelle, SummerCamp and Alligator Point.

Support also comes from a host of private sponsors as well as the Tourist Development Councils of Gulf and Franklin counties.