GULFPORT, Fla. — It’s a style started that in the 1800s in Europe and continues today in Gulfport.

Plein air — or outdoor — painting will be the subject of a competition show Friday along Beach Boulevard, and artists have already arrived in Gulfport to teach and compete for best in show.

What You Need To Know

  •  The second annual Gulfport plein air art show will take place Friday

  •  Plein air — or outdoor — painting is a style that started in Europe in the 1800s

  • The show will take place along Beach Boulevard from 5-9 p.m., along with the city’s First Friday Art Walk

Susan Wiley, who will be judging the show, lives in neighboring St. Pete.

“I’m looking for color and lots of life,” Wiley said, describing her own plein air work.

Wiley is a veteran of moving her office out into the field — with easel, paints and little tables.

She’s been an artist for 40 years, and has been teaching for 30.

She said it is exciting to work and paint outdoors.

“You have to make a quick observation and you have to record it,” said Wiley. “It develops your focus, your sense of color.”

Wiley said the sunlight and the atmosphere will inform an artist's work in ways that studio painting cannot.

She insists this is a style for all levels of talent.

“People are intimidated, because people are watching, it is out in the open,” said Wiley. “But people are just curious and they will be very supportive.”

As a judge, Wiley will pick best in show — which will be held Friday evening on Beach Boulevard from 5-9 p.m., along with the city’s First Friday Art Walk.

Competition aside, many artists say that the creation of art itself is the best reward.

“You start looking at things differently — that you never noticed before,” Wiley said. “It’s just a joyful thing — it just brings peace and harmony and comfort to your soul.”

Anyone who would like to learn about the plein air painting style can take a class on Wednesday, March 30.