ZUMBROTA -- "Art in the Open," an exhibit featuring the works of 12 regional "plein air" artists, is on display this month at Crossings at Carnegie. In the works is a January show focusing on magical thinking.

"Plein air" is a French term meaning "in the open." It describes paintings that have been done outdoors, directly from the subject.

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"You'll recognize Minnesota scenes such as Whitewater State Park, Silver Lake and the shores of Superior," Crossings spokesmen said. "Come see how the artists capture light, leaves, running water, tall grasses, hay bales, sunsets, cloud formations and the colors nature paints for us every day."

Among participating artists is Dan Wiemer of Red Wing, watercolor artist and president of the Minnesota Watercolor Society. He depicts the world through the colors, shapes and textures of natural landscapes.

"If I can look at a finished piece and put myself back in that place through the painting," he said, "then that painting is successful on a personal level."

The exhibit also showcases paintings by Fred Somers of Northfield, Minn., who said he paints "en plein aire" in order to paint better in the studio.

"When painting outdoors, the challenge is not so much in painting what you see, but in seeing what to paint," he said. "Each artist's unique experience is what gives this show such delightful richness. I am always looking to be surprised by beauty in ordinary and unexpected places."

Other artists in the show are Becky Jokela of Cannon Falls, Jennifer Mogensen of Pine Island, Jeanette Ahern of Plainview, Minn., Cheryl LeClair-Sommer of Little Canada, Minn., Rita Beyer Corrigan of Rosemount, Minn., Michelle Wegler and Lisa Stauffer of Duluth, Minn., and three Rochester artists -- Dr. Eugene DiMagno, Jeanne Licari and Fran Haddy.

Call for art issued

Can fish fly? Can airplanes swim? Could you bungee jump from the moon? What if humans grew carrots for arms or fairies frequented your bird bath?

"If you've dreamed it up or imagined" something that treads the line between reality and fantasy," Crossings at Carnegie wants to see it.

The art center is organizing a January 2007 exhibit with the theme "Art of Magical Thinking." Any interested artist is invited to "Put your upside-down, fantastical fantasies to the test and see what happens," spokesmen said.

They quoted contemporary British artist David Farren, who said, "Magic is not a way of doing things, but a certain mythical way of seeing them." Magical thinking can be reflected in images of superstitions like crossing your fingers for good fortune or wearing a lucky shirt, in actions such as defying gravity, or in seeing the world through a child's eyes, Crossings spokesmen added.

Art work of any medium and any size, two- or three-dimensional, can be entered in the show. Pieces must be for sale.

They should be delivered -- ready to hang or display -- by Dec. 30 to Crossings, located in the former library at 320 East Ave. Acceptance will be first come, first served; reserve space by filling out the form available on the Web site www.crossingsatcarnegie.com. Entry fee is $15.

For more about Crossings activities, call (507) 732-7616 or visit the Web site.