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.

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