An avid proponent and practitioner of plein air painting, Robert Thoren has relished the opportunity to paint the Northern Virginia landscape, particularly the lush terrain of the Shenandoah Valley. Before moving to Virginia in 1993, Robert studied with teachers closely associated with the late Russian emigre impressionist Sergei Bongart, whose work was recently featured in a showing at the Frye Gallery in Seattle together with that of fellow emigres Nicolai Fechin and Leon Gaspard. Like Sergei, Robert paints in a sensual, impressionistic style emphasizing vivid color and the employ of dramatic brushstrokes. His artistic goal is to suggest spontaneity while maintaining a firm mastery of drawing and painting techniques. In his many still lifes, Robert celebrates the Bongart school's focus upon color and its ability to transform everyday objects into scenes of powerful emotion.