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.

No comments:

Post a Comment