Sunday, April 17, 2011


Provenance for a painting means its history—who painted it, who has owned it, and where it has been exhibited. The provenance of a painting adds value for the art collector. A painter can’t have provenance like a painting but sometimes knowing about the artist enriches the experience for a collector. Craig Reynolds participated in both years of the plein air events in Gadsden and is scheduled to be one of the professionals at this year’s Southeastern Plein Air Invitational. Craig’s late father was also an artist whose watercolors are avidly collected. Now Craig continues the tradition but in his own style—oil paintings with the loose brushwork and soft edges of Impressionism but with strong contrasts and color combinations that are uniquely his own. Look for Craig’s work at the Shelby Lee Gallery in Charleston, The Gale Gallery in New Orleans, and The Renaissance Gallery in Northport, Alabama. But for the week of April 25-29 look for Craig on location in Gadsden and his painting in the galleries of the Gadsden Museum of Art until June 3.

I was lucky to buy one of Craig’s painting at last year’s plein air event—an evocative study of late afternoon in the James Martin Wildlife Park, an urban greenspace bounded by busy streets and a shopping mall. I was immediately attracted to the sense of peace it captured, a meditation on the beauty that is all around us if we only take the time to see. Notice the many shades of green in the trees and the water? Green is the hardest color for artists to mix but Craig is a master of this difficult task. Still, would the painting have any impact without those hints of red and orange? In the art world this effect is called simultaneous contrast—opposites placed close together intensify each other. Since red and green are opposite on the color wheel and opposite in temperature (warm and cool), the addition of touches of red to a mostly green painting makes it glow with an inner radiance. I enjoy the painting everyday not only for its beauty but also in appreciation of the highly developed skills of the artist.

In the next blog I’ll preview the locations for this year’s painting days.

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