“Plein Air Maine,” a exhibition of paintings by Mitch Billis, Brad Betts and Bjorn Runquist, will run Saturday, Sept. 11 through Oct. 30 at Gleason Fine Art, 545 Congress St. The public is invited to a First Friday reception Friday, Oct. 1 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Betts, Billis and Runquist all adhere to a tradition born of the 19th-century move toward artistic freedom that encouraged artists to leave their studios; take their easels and paints outside and paint nature as seen and experienced in person. These artists — Betts in East Boothbay, Billis in Boothbay Harbor and Runquist on the St. George peninsula — find painting en plein air exhilarating and challenging.

Runquist began life in Sweden, Billis in upstate New York and Betts in Florida. With lots of side trips — Billis to Montana and Runquist to Connecticut — all found their way to the coast of Maine and satisfied their art muses. Runquist and Billis have had long careers with many awards; Betts, who balances his painting sessions with his duties as a house dad, has just begun his journey.

Hours are Wednesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and anytime by appointment. For more information, call 699-5599 or send e-mail to info@gleasonfineart.com.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.