‘Plein Air’ artists invade Morgan County

Tia Lynn Ivey Community

By Tia Lynn Ivey

managing editor 

Artists from all over the state of Georgia gathered in Madison and Morgan County this past weekend for the Georgia Color Plein Air event. You may have seen painters set up around town creating art in real time. 

“This past weekend, over a span of four days, Steffen Thomas Museum of Art joined the Olmsted Plein Air group to present the Georgia Color Plein Air Event.  The 40 invited Plein Air artists from throughout Georgia explored and captured the beauty and essence of our fields, farms and communities,” said Roland Lewan, director of the Steffen Thomas Museum of Art (STMA). “There was great support and participation by businesses and individuals throughout the area and from Atlanta.  The event demonstrated the character of our communities, support and interest in cultural events and Joy in Art.”

According to event organizers, “Georgia Color Plein Air, presented by Olmsted Arts in partnership with the Steffen Thomas Museum of Art, celebrates the tradition of outdoor painting with 40 of the finest outdoor painters in Georgia.”

According to Roland Lewan, director of the STMA, the event was a special gathering to create and showcase art.  

 “It’s one thing to view art in the gallery after it’s completed.  It is a whole other thing to watch the art being created — that’s what people can do throughout the four days of Georgia Color,” said Lewan.  

“Forty recognized artists from all corners of Georgia and in between, become part of the local scenery as they paint the local scenery.”

The event is modeled off of the French term “plein air,” which means “in the open air.”

“It is used by artists to describe the art of outdoor painting, capturing landscapes and views in natural light. This kind of art has been a popular practice for centuries and requires specific skills and techniques,” explained Lewan. 

The artists who set up camp around Madison to capture the Fall beauty then put their art up for sale at the Exhibition Gallery in Eatonton, over the weekend. 

The weekend culminated on Nov. 2 with a ticketed event in Eatonton, to celebrate the artists and give out awards for some of the art created during the Plein Air event.  “Artwork placed in competition is scored by an esteemed panel of judges: Artist Judge John Guernsey, 2019 Best of Show Winner Olmsted Plein Air Invitational and Steffen Thomas Museum of Art Board Member September Gray, owner of September Gray Fine Art Gallery in Atlanta. 

Artists are competing for highly sought after ribbons and cash/prizes,” explained Lewan.

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