Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Top: Beverly Ford Evans, Gadsden Country Club

Above: Jill Berry, Gadsden Country Club

Two days of paintings hang on the walls of the Gadsden Museum of Art. The 15 artists of the Southeastern Plein Air Invitational have faced windy conditions, threat of rain, and fatigue to produce truly outstanding paintings. Not content to paint only at the pre-arranged locations, some rise at 4 a.m. to find just the right place to catch the sun rise. Others skip supper to go to the rocky ridge of Scenic Drive to paint until it is too dark to see the canvas. For this week of intensive effort, the artists will go all out to chase the best views and bring them back on canvas to be enjoyed for years to come.

The difference in styles is astonishing from muted tonal palettes with smoothly graduated values to thick, staccato strokes that seem to break the painting surface into shards of color. Sweeping landscapes sit next to closely observed flower studies and old barns show off their gray sides and tin roofs next to manicured golf holes with triangular flags flying. Every artist has a point of view and a personal style—the fun comes in liking every painting but feeling the tug of preference for the special one that seems to speak directly to you.

Come by the museum to see the first 60+ paintings and visit the artists as they set up their easels in downtown Gadsden, Alabama City, and Attalla on Wednesday, on the banks of the Coosa at Rainbow Landing (Southside Bridge) on Thursday, and in the historic districts on Friday (Turrentine Avenue; Haralson, Walnut, and Reynolds Streets; and Argyle Circle). See all the paintings and meet the artists at the reception on Friday, April 29, 6-8 p.m. in the galleries at the Gadsden Museum of Art.

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