"Indiana Plein Air Painters, Inc,/Center for Agricultural Science & Heritage, Inc.

Quarry Books/IU Press; $39.95

This splendid coffee table book brings you into the mystical, ordinary, elusive and profound worlds of painting, essaying and farming so that sorting it out and processing one after the other becomes a journey of new delights. Ten painters embarked on a safari of sorts, to bag the sights and, yes, sounds, emotions, smells and feel of fields, barns, processing plants, farmhouses, fairs and markets. It’s a kaleidoscope of words and images to plumb the way we have connected with the land and the ways the land has shaped us.

On recent drives to and through Brown County and westward along U.S. 24, the experiences were heightened because of having turned the 240 pages and having lingered over the 122 color plates. My favorites are the same scenes painted by different artists, perhaps during different seasons. It’s the best art theory training.

It’s been a savoring experience — the artists’ comments revealing emotions and ideas while painting, Judy O’Bannon’s upbeat foreword, Rachel Berenson Perry’s description of plein air painting in Indiana and the in-depth analysis of agriculture-in-flux by Gary R. Truitt and Kathleen Stubbe Truitt. To order call 1-800-842-6796 or http://iupress.indiana.edu.

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