Tuesday, April 12, 2011


In the last two years I’ve become an art collector the easy way—I attended the plein air events hosted each April by the Gadsden Museum of Art. This year the Southeastern Plein Air Invitational offers a chance to see 15 professional artists from eight states painting the spring beauty of the Deep South—April 24-29, each day at a different location. Join me as I search for my next acquisition among the over 150 original paintings created in that one week. Watching the paintings as they are created on location and meeting the artists makes the owning the paintings so special.

What is plein air painting, you may ask? Today’s artists continue a tradition begun over 150 years ago in France by artists like Monet and Renoir who left their studios to paint en plein air (in the open air) and became known as Impressionists. Like today’s artists they wanted to save the light, color, and atmosphere of a moment in time. A plein air artist captures dancing sunlight with a flick of the wrist, a spring garden in a swirl of color, and historic architecture with a few brushstrokes. While it seems like magic, painting the landscape on-location requires a mixture of talent and years of observation, study, and practice.

Tomorrow meet John Guernsey who painted my first acquisition from the 2009 festival. This is his third year at the festival. Can’t wait to see this year’s landscapes!

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