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OctoberTour Plein Art showing opens today, reception Friday

Submitted by Phyllis Steimel

OctoberTour is a very special weekend for artists, too. Beginning in 2010, Plein Air Carolina has hosted an annual Oil Painters of America plein air “Paint Out” for artists throughout the region, held in conjunction with OctoberTour. Artists arrive on opening day, receive Tour information, and spread out to paint the sites of their choosing. At the end of the first day, participating artists gather, usually the historic Dr. Josephus Hall House, where they display and sell the “wet” paintings completed that day.
Over the eight years, quite a few paintings of historic sites in Salisbury have been accomplished by award winning NC artists. While many have been sold, many have been hidden from public view…until now! Plein air painters are about to unleash these hidden treasures in a special Show at Rail Walk Studios and Gallery.

The public is invited to the opening for this special showing to be held on Oct. 5, 2018, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Rail Walk Gallery at 409 N. Lee St. OctoberTour Art will be on display and many will be for sale. The show will be open to the public from Oct. 4-27.

Artists participating in this show are Beth Barger, Brenda Behr, Carolyn Blackman, Joyce Cavanagh-Wood, Sharon Forthofer, Karen Karitko, Cathy Matthews, Don Moore, Phyllis Steimel, Mark Stephenson and Amy Queen.
Plein Air Paint Outs have become very popular in recent years, rivalling 5Ks and golf tournaments. Virtually every weekend, even in winter, there is a Paint Out… somewhere. Many require juried acceptance, others are open to all. Judges are hired to award prizes to the winning paintings. Some events offer a “Quick Paint” competition where artists are limited to, perhaps, a two hour time limit. This acts as a warmup and is in addition to several days of competitive painting.

Plein Air Carolina is an organization of amateur and professional painters located in the Piedmont of North Carolina. “En plein air” is the French expression for “in the open air.”
Artists leave the four walls of their studios behind to experience painting and drawing in the landscape, painting what they see in front of them rather than from a photograph. The art of catching a moment in time, a snippet of life, while personally experiencing the smells and atmosphere which then influences the painting itself. This can be very challenging considering the constantly changing shadows, weather, people and vehicles entering and leaving the scene, bugs biting, and a myriad of other interruptions. Farms, cityscapes, historic homes, gardens, people and animals are favorite subjects. Morning, evening, sunny days and rainy days, hot days, cold days, newly budding trees, falling leaves — light changes in each of these circumstances are constantly challenging the painter to capture it on canvas.
While recorded evidence of painting outdoors goes back to Italian artist Agostino Tassi (1578-1644) it is believed that artists have painted in nature since the beginning of painting itself. Van Gogh, Renoir and Claude Monet, for example, all painted en plein air. They were challenged to capture the light and its constant change. The creation of transportable paint tubes and easels allowed artists the freedom to travel away from the studio.


Don Moore

Phyllis Steimel

This year’s OctoberTour adds new and enticing inspiration with the NC Transportation Museum AND the Salisbury Depot. Add to that the many new homes in Spencer that will be on this year’s tour and artists will have hard choices to make. Together with the sponsorship of the Historic Salisbury Foundation, the Oil Painters of America, the Waterworks Visual Arts Center and Sharon Forthofer of Rail Walk Studios, plein air painters in our region should enjoy a great weekend. Be sure to look for the painters en plein air as they capture the activity on Saturday, Oct. 13. Oil Painters of America is hosting several Paint Outs throughout the country this Autumn.
Interested artists can get information on the Oil Painters of America website under events, paint outs, Salisbury NC or simply show up, ready to paint, at 9 a.m. at Rail Walk Studio and Gallery on Oct. 13.

Amy Queen

Cathy Matthews

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