On Saturday, May 17, folks from around the region will converge on the town of Burnsville to participate in the 8th Annual Plein Air Paint Out. Sponsored by the Toe River Arts Council and the Blue Ridge Fine Arts Guild, this event is open to anyone who paints or draws—from amateurs to professional, young or old—and it happens rain or shine!
Modeled after en plein air, French for “in the open air”, the experience has become synonymous with outdoor painting. Conceived by Sandra Gates, a local painter whose desire was to have artists meet for one day in one location to paint and draw amid the beautiful mountains, the TRAC Paint Out draws artists from the surrounding area and neighboring states.
Many artists arrive days early to select the “scene” they want to capture, take photos, and prepare preliminary and practice sketches. On the morning of the event, artists begin arriving at the TRAC Burnsville Gallery at 8am; they return at 5pm to frame their artwork and see it hung ready for judging.
This year’s judge will be Jim Carson, plein air painter from Saluda, NC. Jim has been painting in both oil and acrylic for over 20 years. His work, described by art critics as “fresh and painterly”, hangs in personal and corporate galleries from California to Florida. Jim began his “second” career in 1989 when he was gifted a painting class with Marianne Dunn. When he retired from law practice in 2003, plein air painting moved to “first chair.” Jim’s paintings have been exhibited in several shows, won awards, and featured on the cover of the Laurel of Asheville magazine last summer. In a few words, he sums up what many other plein air painters think, “Once you see the true colors in reality, painting from any other source does not inspire the same emotion. I am inspired by the shapes, colors and spontaneity of nature”
Juried artwork from this year’s Paint Out will be on display at the Burnsville Gallery (102 W. Main Street) from May 17 through June 21; many will be available for sale.
Participants must register, either before May 17 or on the morning of the Paint Out at the Burnsville Gallery from 8-10am. Painting materials are validated and a $30 entry fee paid. Artists venture out everywhere, as long as they return with their finished work before the 5pm deadline. Award announcements are made at a special reception for participants and community that takes place in the gallery from 6:30 to 7:30pm.
For complete details and an application form, please visit the TRAC website at www.toeriverarts.org, or call 828.682.7215.
TRAC Paint Out is supported by a Grassroots Art Grant, through the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency. Also, we are grateful to the Yancey Center for Ceramic Arts for their generous contribution.