Friday, September 23, 2011


Above: Plein air painter on Black Creek above the Falls.

Left: Vintage postcard of Noccalula Falls.

On Monday, October 10, plein air artists will be on location at Noccalula Falls Park from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the Southeastern Paint Out hosted by the Gadsden Museum of Art. What scenic beauty will inspire the artists?

The Falls

The outstanding feature is a 90-foot waterfall on a mountain top—the western end of Lookout Mountain. Ample rain produces raging white water above and below the falls. Even when water is lower, slower, and calmer, the sight of water cascading from the high rim to the gorge below is an awe inspiring sight. Unlike at other attractions, walking paths allow visitors to get close to the Falls and lucky visitors may see a fully formed rainbow in the spray far below. Vantage points range from a few feet from the drop-off to a bridge arching over Black Creek just behind the cliff edge to the rim of the gorge. One particularly picturesque long view features benches with ample space off the pathway to set up easels. For painters who enjoy including figures in their work, families can often be seen wading in the shallows feeding the ducks and waterfowl that abound in the creek above the Falls. Rocks smoothed by thousands of years of water flow offer access to the creek’s edge and are fascinating records of geological forces.

The Gorge

For the adventurous (and fit) painter steps and trails provide access to the gorge below the Falls. Under the waterfall is a rock shelter which allows hikers to pass behind the rushing water and to look out through its lacy patterns. Huge boulders fallen from the rim over the ages frame the pool at the foot of the waterfall. Emptying from the pool Black Creek continues as a rushing mountain stream with rocks, rivulets, and pools.

The Park and Pioneer Village

Reconstructed log cabins, a covered bridge, and other historic structures offer the artists the challenge of architecture softened by native plantings and mature trees. A miniature train offers an excellent way for painters to look for possible locations and for visitors to see the painters at work—and another possible subject for the day’s painting excursion.

Visitors Welcome!

Museum volunteers will be on hand to assist visitors coming to meet the artists and see them at work. Look for the blue umbrella at the entrance to the park.

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