Painting plein air

Oldham County Arts Center
finds success with painting event

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

CRESTWOOD, Ky. (October 2006) – When artist Carole Logan attended the University of Louisville to earn a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts at age 50, her professor ordered the class to “paint on sight, not from photographs.” The result created a natural desire in her to paint on sight, or to paint “en plein air.”

Carole Logan

Photo Provided

Crestwood artist Carole Logan says she
enjoys talking with people when
painting scenes outdoors.

“You cannot get the feeling of a place if you are not there,” said Logan. Painting en plein air gives one “a sense of place.”
It is a challenge for many artists to paint en plein air. To capture the mood and feeling of an ever-changing light requires a quick eye and hand.
Plein air is an “age old tradition among artists to paint from real life in an outdoor location,” said David Thurmond, program coordinator for the Oldham County Arts Center in Crestwood. The masters painted landscapes and outdoor subjects, and this tradition is continued through present-day artists.
Part of the challenge comes in capturing the essence of the landscape or outdoor still life where light is constantly changing. “It is difficult because it must be done quickly,” said Thurmond.
But many regional artists were willing to give it a try in the first annual Plein Air Paint Out! On Sept. 22-24, artists gathered in Crestwood to paint images of the community en plain air. Artists also painted at certain locations the following week, due to the rainy weekend weather.
The finished paintings will be on exhibit in the Oldham County Arts Center’s BPW Gallery through Oct. 16. An opening reception was held to honor the participating artists on Sept. 28 prior to the Arts Center’s opening performance of the season, “Flamenco Louisville!”

Upcoming events

• Oct. 19-Nov. 21: HomeFront Fiber Show in the BPW-Oldham County Gallery. This exhibit features quilts and other fiber works by regional artists.
• Saturday, Oct. 21, 7:30 p.m.: Kentucky HomeFront. A Kentucky Theater Project, broadcast live by the Public Radio Partnership. Jonell Mosser, a native Kentuckian who has performed in Nashville, Tenn., will perform her own brand of country and blues. Master storyteller Col. Bob Thompson will also entertain. Admission is $12.
• Nov. 11-12, 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m.: Manhattan Dance Project. Unique dance workshop providing dancers with a supportive learning and performance environment in the areas of jazz, ballet, tap, theatre dance and hip hop.


The idea for this painting on location came from a local artist, Leann Luce. This was something Luce had always wanted to do with other artists. Arts Center officials liked the idea and decided to organize the event.
“In the future, we hope to do this in other Oldham County communities,” said Thurmond. “It will be an ongoing event.”
Logan decided on two familiar Crestwood images to apply to canvas: the stoplight in Crestwood painted from a coffee shop on La Grange Road, and a scene from Yew Dell Gardens. Images will be stored at the Arts Center for future use in promotions, calendars and note cards, with the artists’ consent.
Artists were free to paint original works in their choice of medium, including watercolors and oils. Excluding the frame, paintings could not exceed 3x4 feet in size. The sides of the canvas had to be finished, painted or framed.
In addition to weather, another challenge of painting en plein air is people stopping to speak to the artists while they are working. Logan is working on painting some scenes of downtown Louisville en plein air, and oftentimes tourists will stop and ask questions, she said.
But this doesn’t bother the Chicago native’s concentration.
She is a member of a local plein air group, the Kentucky Plein Air Painters, which formed eight years ago. She is the only Oldham Countian in a group of 12 that travel to many different locations to paint, such as Bernheim Forest and Labrott & Graham Distillery.
Logan has her own studio at 301 La Grange Rd., Pewee Valley. It is called Studio 146.

• For more information on these events or the many classes and workshops, contact David Thurmond at (502) 241-6018, ext. 351.

Back to October 2006 Articles.



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