Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Amy Peterson's view of autumn in Wills Creek Vineyard.

Paintings completed during the Southeastern Paint Out are now on exhibit in the Gadsden Museum of Art until November 11. See the paintings in this blog plus over 60 other originals daily 10-4 (except Sunday). Paintings are available for purchase.

Cynthia McGinnis's impressions of the gorge at Noccalula Falls.

Karen Weir focuses on the bright yellow of a tree silhouetted against a mountain in the Duck Springs community.

Mary McCormick captures fallen leaves and the refection of the sky on still water.

Peggy Kilgo captures the charm of a storefront in downtown Gadsden.

Don Housler is inspired by the residential architecture in Gadsden's Historical Districts including the dappled sunlight effects.

Kevin Keenan's streetscape of Cleveland Avenue combines the geometry of man-made structures with the beauty of autumn trees.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


See the entire Paint Out collection in the third floor galley at The Gadsden Museum of Art (515 Broad Street) through November 11--8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily except Sunday.

The last day of Southeastern Paint Out offered perfect weather, fall color, roses, and vintage architecture in Gadsden’s Historic District. Painting ended early so that artists, museum staff, and volunteers could prepare for the gallery opening at 6 p.m. But before the end of the session five artists participated in a Quick Draw competition in Judy and Don Bacon’s rose garden on Reynolds Street—a timed two-hour period where each artist completed a single painting.

At the gallery opening people came early and stayed to closing at 8 p.m. Bidders in the Wet Paint auction began picking their favorites and placing bids as soon as they entered the gallery—three lucky patrons won their choice when bidding ended. The remaining collection of over 60 original paintings is available for purchase beginning on Saturday and continuing daily through November 11 (8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily except Sunday). The gallery buzzed with people discussing the paintings with the artists and selecting the paintings they hoped to buy. Some of the most enthusiastic potential purchasers were the youngest—teens who came to the opening as an artist’s guest or with parents who were museum members.

Craig Reynolds, artist in residence for the Southeastern Paint Out, judged the Quick Draw selecting Kevin Keenan’s painting as the winner. Over $300 in prize money was awarded to participants in the Quick Draw, a donation by Craig, his sister, and his mother. Craig graciously presented the prizes while explaining the difficulties and special skills involved in creating a successful plein air painting.

After an intense week of painting through wind, rain, and finally, fair weather, the results of the artist's efforts hung on the gallery walls. The artists were exhausted but exhilarated by their experiences at the Southeastern Paint Out. Many took time to express their appreciation to the staff and volunteers of the Gadsden Museum of Art for their support and assistance during the week.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Vintage postcard offers greetings from Gadsden. The plein air painters offer another way to celebrate the beauty and variety of scenic Gadsden--see them painting today in the Historic Districts and discover a week's worth of creativty tonight at the opening reception at the Gadsden Museum of Art.

The sun finally came out on the artists in the Southeastern Paint Out Thursday when predicted rain made only one or two short appearances. Taking advantage of the favorable weather, painters spent the morning in downtown Gadsden capturing cityscapes and street scenes. In the afternoon they moved to the brow of Lookout Mountain (Scenic Drive) for dramatic overlooks of the city on one side of the ridge and rural valleys on the other.

TODAY’S LOCATION: Gadsden’s Historical Districts

Victorians from the late-1890s, craftsmen bungalows from the 1920s, and other architectural styles await them. Wide front porches decorated with fall flowers and wicker combine with landscaped yards to create a nostalgic street scene. Dogwoods, maples and other trees show off the reds, oranges, and yellows of early fall. October blue skies above—not a cloud in the sky—make for the strong value contrasts and lush colors plein air painters revel in.

Come by and see the painters on their last day of painting in the Southeastern Paint Out sponsored by the Gadsden Museum of Art. The streets are wide and parking is easy. Sidewalks make walking easy, too. For information on the exact locations of painters, check with the museum volunteers at the corner of Walnut and Turrentine Avenue—look for the blue market umbrella. Or, just ride around looking for easels—artists will be scattered along Turrentine Avenue; Haraldson, Reynolds, and Walnut Streets; and Argyle Circle.


This afternoon artists will participate in a Quick Draw competition. Museum staff will pick a location somewhere in the Historical District and artists will have only two hours to complete a painting of some aspect of that location. Prizes for the winners of the Quick Draw will be announced at the opening reception.


See the entire week’s collection while enjoying light refreshments at the opening reception tonight (October 14) from 6 to 8 p.m. Selected works from each artist will be featured in a Wet Paint Auction--—HINT! HINT! The best paintings of the week!

EXHIBIT—October 15-November 1

Discover a new way to see Gadsden! The paintings from the Southeastern Paint Out will be on display and available for purchase at the museum through November 11.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Vintage postcard of downtown Gadsden--location for the Southeastern Paint Out tomorrow. Named 'Broad Street' for its ample width, many of the storefronts remain and the street is as busy as ever with merchants, restaurants, and offices.

No sun again today as the artists in the Southeastern Paint Out spread out along the Coosa River to paint on location. Walkers at Lafferty’s Landing were surprised to find themselves sharing the boardwalk with painters and easels—but they enjoyed the change! The location gave painters plenty to choose from:

  • The bright red flare of colored leaves enlivened the green on the opposite shore. Artists know that color complements like red and green set up a kind of vibration—that is, putting together two colors that are opposites on the color wheel emphasizes their differences.
  • Water, a favorite subject for all impressionist painters, has its own color and reflects the color of the sky and the surrounding landscape. Painting water is always a challenge because it is constantly changing—but what a joy when that wet look appears as if by magic in the painting. To achieve the look artists must closely observe the contrast of light and dark and keep all the edges (the line where two colors meet) softly blurred.
  • Clouds are not puffy meringue but instead specific forms with infinite color variations that depend on the weather, time of the day, and season of the year.
  • Bridges—three of the bridges that cross the Coosa were visible from today’s locations. Memorial Bridge (Broad Street Bridge) offers dramatic arches and intricate balustrades—a romantic silhouette with the vintage look of the 1930s. Close by the railroad bridge built in the 1890s is muscular with rough hewn rock piers straddling the water and silver steel tracery above. In the opposite direction, the I-759 Bridge is starkly modern and higher than either of the older bridges. A painting of a bridge, with water moving below it and scudding clouds above, always makes for an exciting image.
  • Wildlife—rivers offer habitat to an amazing community of birds, insects, and mammals, all waiting to play a part on canvas.

Today some of the wildlife—gnats, to be specific—got up-close and personal with the artists. It appears that riverbanks are favorite habitat for these tiny two-winged flies because artist Peggy Kilgo found herself in the center of an insect cloud. Harmless but annoying, the gnats were dispersed with bug spray but in the battle some gnats lost their lives and are now preserved in oil paint. Plein air artists refer to these little bumps on the surface of a canvas as ‘texture’ and think of them as enhancing the overall effect.


If weather had been kind, the artists expected to be painting from the brow of Lookout Mountain tomorrow but since rain is expected, the artists will be painting in downtown Gadsden. The Gadsden Museum of Art (515 Broad Street) will serve as the base of operations—visitors can find out the location of the artists by stopping by the museum. Other Gadsden plein air events have experienced rain and artists have managed to produce extraordinary work. The earliest Impressionists were fascinated by all kinds of weather effects and nothing is more dramatic that slick shinny pavement and electric lights! Come out and see what the painters at the Southeastern Paint Out discover about painting architecture, busy streets, and store windows on a rainy day! The Quick Draw originally scheduled for Thursday will now be moved to the Historical Districts, the location for Friday.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Tomorrow's base of operations is Lafferty's Landing (off Albert Rains Blvd.) where artists and volunteers are expecting a sunny day for painting.

Artists described their day at Wills Creek Winery as cloudy, breezy, and misty—yet they were elated about the paintings they created. Plein air painters—artists painting exclusively on-location—seek to capture the light and atmosphere of a particular place at a particular time. Artists had two locations to choose from today: one with a winding dirt road into the meadows and vineyards and another with vines and a restored windmill.

The weather provided fog lifting from the valley, clouds clinging to the top of the mountains, and brief shafts of sun breaking through the mists. Sunny days are easier to paint with strong contrasts between shadows and highlights. Cloudy, wet days call for more finesse in handing value changes and subtle color mixes. But wet days reward artists with dramatic skies and shimmering reflections.

Painting in challenging conditions is an accepted part of plein air painting and artists who brave the conditions bring back hard-won victories in the form of paintings and lots of stories. One of the most important parts of any plein air event is the camaraderie that develops among the artists and volunteers who assist them. Craig Reynolds, Artist In Residence for the Southeastern Paint Out, fosters that spirit by combining the roles of mentor, instructor, and cheerleader and still finds time to paint! Several artists talked about how a suggestion or tip from Craig made today’s session more rewarding.

Check out the paintings from Noccalula Falls Park and Wills Creek Winery in the third floor gallery at the Gadsden Museum of Art between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily. See the entire week’s collection at the opening reception Friday night (October 14) from 6 to 8 p.m. There will be a Wet Paint Auction that night of selected works. The paintings will be on display and available for purchase at the museum through November 11.


After one windy day and one drizzly day, the artists expect a sunny day for Wednesday’s Coosa River locations. Lafferty’s Landing, a riverside boardwalk just off Albert Rains Boulevard, will be the base of operations. Artists will be painting there and volunteers will be available to assist visitors—look for the blue market umbrella for information. Artists may also paint at several other locations including the City of Gadsden boat dock, City Hall, Jack Ray Family Park, and James Martin Wildlife Park. All locations offer easy parking and all but James Martin Wildlife Park offer easy access to the artists with very little walking. Come enjoy the change in weather with the artists and volunteers at the Southeastern Paint Out!

Monday, October 10, 2011


You've missed the painters at Noccalula Fall but you can see them at Tuesday's location at Will Creek Winery.

The first day of the Southeastern Paint Out sponsored by the Gadsden Museum of Art proved challenging for artists—even those experienced in painting on location. The culprit? The weather—one of the uncontrollable factors that plein air painters face every time they practice their art. Monday was windy and artists had to hold onto their easels with one hand and paint with the other! Paintings landed on the ground and on laps! And yet the artists persevered.

Monday’s location, Noccalula Falls Park, is a scenic wonder—a 90-foot waterfall on top of Lookout Mountain. Visitors from Georgia, Missouri, Indiana, and Alabamians from as far a way as Mobile had the extra treat of discovering painters scattered on both sides of the Falls, in the gorge, and in the Pioneer Village.

Volunteers didn't fare much better than the artists. The blue market umbrella which is the focus of volunteer activity had to be taken down or it would have taken flight. Still the volunteers answered visitors’ questions and assisted artists throughout the day.

Lunch offered a welcome break to artist and volunteers. The City of Gadsden’s Parks and Recreation Department treated the group to a cookout at the Kiwanis Pavilion.

Windblown and exhausted, the artists and volunteers gathered Monday evening at the museum to assess the work. No one was surprised to find that the day had produced some really exciting paintings! Stop by the museum tomorrow and each day this week to view the paintings as they arrive. Come to the opening reception Friday night (October 14) from 6 to 8 p.m. to view the entire collection and meet the artists. There will be a Wet Paint Auction of selected works that night. The paintings will be on display and for sale at the museum through November 11.


The public is invited to join the artists on location in the rural beauty of Etowah County on Tuesday. Wills Creek Winery in the Duck Springs community is located north of Attalla. From Gadsden, take Noccalula Road past the Falls, cross over Interstate 59 to the intersection of Highway 11, and follow the signs to the winery. From Attalla take Highway 11 and follow the signs. The way to the Wills Creek Winery is well marked with green road signs. Artists will be on location between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Museum volunteers will be available to assist visitors. Parking at the winery is easy. There will be some walking involved to reach the artists in the vineyard unless your car can travel on an unimproved dirt road.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Craig Reynolds demonstrating plein air techniques at a workshop he taught for aspiring painters.

The Southeastern Paint Out offers people the chance to see art being made! Fifteen artists will be on locations around Gadsden for a week of painting in the plein air tradition--capturing the immediacy of light, the scene, the weather, in a single session.

Five things make this Paint Out different:

1. The Gadsden Museum of Art has hosted three other plein air events but all have been in April when spring green breaks through winter’s gray and early flowers tempt artists to the easel. This is the first autumn event and artists will trade pastel colors for the deep jewel tones of colored leaves

2. The Southeastern Paint Out is an ‘open’—that is, both professional and amateur painters will be participating (the spring event is an ‘invitational’ for professionals only). All Paint Out artists have experience working on location with the challenges of zeroing in on a subject and the distractions of being outdoors rather than in the protected environment of the studio. Expect to see a variety of styles, picture sizes from small to large, and a range of prices for finished work

3. Craig Reynolds, a local professional plein air artist, will be the first ever Artist In Residence. Craig has been a pro since 1984 but has been painting for most of his life. He comes from an artistic family and counts his father, Leo Reynolds, as an inspiration. Craig is a popular workshop instructor and is represented by galleries in Northport, Charleston, and New Orleans. At the Paint Out Craig will be there to assist the other participants and act as their local host

4. This Paint Out features Alabama painters, some who are members of the Alabama Plein Air Painters, a group of dedicated artists who specialize in painting on location in scenic Alabama.

5. The Paint Out features new locations (and some favorites from past events) and new artists who are painting in Gadsden for the first time. Come out and welcome them!

The artists will be on location at Noccalula Fall Park beginning Monday, October 10, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The public is invited to watch the art being created and to meet the artists at their easels. Museum volunteers will be on-site to assist visitors and answer questions—look for the blue market umbrella. Every day means a new location--check with this blog or the Gadsden Museum of Art (256 546-7365) for details on each location.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Covered bridge in Pioneer Village, Noccalula Falls Park, Gadsden.

Unlike the Old West where a quick draw demonstrated mastery of firearms, a Quick Draw at a plein air event showcases artistic skills—but both focus on speed, nerve, and daring. Imagine that you are an artist painting outdoors. Stand in one spot and slowly rotate 360-degrees, what will you choose to paint?

  • Will it be a vista with deep space, or a single tree with bright foliage, or a close-up of a flower bed?
  • What will be the focal point of your composition (the element that will capture the attention of the viewer)?
  • How does light affect your choice—are you looking for deep shadows and bright highlights or a sunny aspect with only a few darks?

Get ready, get set, GO!

A Quick Draw is a contest where artists finish a painting in a single timed session of two hours. From first stoke to last, the artists must be in control, confident, and single-minded. The challenge is to focus on only part of the setting, mix hundreds of colors that reproduce and enhance what you see, and place each brushstroke just where it belongs. And do all of that with the clock ticking! Once the horn blows you must stop and submit the painting to the judges as is. The winner gets the satisfaction of showing off a rare set of skills and the possibility of winning a prize.

The Quick Draw at the Southeastern Paint Out takes place between 2 and 4 Thursday afternoon, October 13, in the Pioneer Village at Noccalula Falls Park. The public is invited see the Quick Draw in progress. The paintings will be on view at the Gadsden Museum beginning Friday morning. Winners will be announced and prize money awarded at the opening reception on Friday evening, October 14, 6-8. Come to the second floor galleries for refreshments and see the entire week’s paintings by fifteen Alabama artists.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Scenic Drive offers dramatic sunrise and sunset vistas and mountain views for the plein air painter.

Artists participating in the Southeastern Paint Out will be painting on the brow of Lookout Mountain on Thursday, October 13, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., at several locations along Scenic Drive.

Running along the rocky ridge of Lookout Mountain, Scenic Drive is only two lanes wide but it offers many opportunities for the plein air painter—look off one side to see the sprawl of Gadsden split by the Coosa River; the other side features farms, forests, valleys and distant mountains. Closer up Scenic Drive exposes the bones of the mountain in rock formations and craggy cliffs with pine trees and hardwoods softening the contours. This is a great place to watch the sun come up or go down—both from a single location on the top of a mountain!

Home builders and homeowners have accepted the challenge of the terrain and sections of Scenic Drive pass through established neighborhoods with fully grown trees, rolling green yards, and landscaped gardens. But the wilder sections offer only woods and wildflowers on both sides of the road. At one point the ridge is so narrow that only the two lane road fits the space. The variety along only a few miles of road means every plein air painter will find the perfect place to set up the easel.

To see the artists in action, climb the mountain on Noccalula Road going past Noccalula Falls Park on the left and continue up, bearing left at the red light. Drive on to the four-way stop and turn left onto Scenic Drive. Look for the blue market umbrella where museum volunteers will assist you with information about the artists’ exact locations. Parking will be difficult as the shoulders of the road are narrow. Some walking will be necessary to reach the painters. If on-location viewing is too challenging, see the paintings at the Gadsden Museum of Art beginning on Friday morning.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Claude Monet painting from a boat on the Seine River painted by fellow Impressionist Edouard Manet.

The first Impressionist painters painted on location on the Seine River in Paris in the mid-1800s. Claude Monet was so dedicated to painting on location that he outfitted a small boat as a studio. Water was an ideal subject for those early plein air painters who sought to capture light effects with flickering, broken brushstrokes—water is never still, always shimmering, with a shifting pattern of light and shade, and reflects the colors of the shore and sky.

On Wednesday, October 11, Alabama painters will accept the same challenge by painting the Coosa River in Gadsden but they won’t have to take to boats! Painters have a number of vantage points to choose from:

  • The Boat Landing on the east side of the river in the shadows of both the railroad bridge and the Memorial Bridge (Broad Street Bridge).
  • The park in front of City Hall with its commanding views both up and down river.
  • The backwater from the James Martin Wildlife Park with its ducks, herons, and geese in residence.
  • The knoll beside Convention Hall and overlooking the river with tree foliage framing the view.
  • River Country Campground with its river-edge location.
  • Jack Ray Family Park with piers out into the river.
  • The Lafferty’s Landing boardwalk.

Painters will be on location beginning at 9 a.m. and continuing to 4 p.m. To find the painters, check in with the Gadsden Museum of Art volunteers at the blue market umbrella at Lafferty’s Landing. All these locations offer easy parking for painters and visitors.