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Plein air artists find inspiration indoors

Even though the weather didn’t cooperate with the plans for the Johnson Center for the Arts’ En Plein Air event on Saturday, the workshop inside The Studio could not have been better, said Brenda Campbell, JCA director.

“Jennifer Taylor and Timothy Joe are amazing professional artists and shared their knowledge and talents so freely,” Campbell said. “We were fortunate to have them conduct the workshop. Watching them at their craft was an entertaining and learning experience. It was amazing to see these noted artists painting, discussing new techniques and encouraging the participants to be open to new ideas and ways of painting.”

The ages of the participants in the en plain air workshop ranged from six to the golden ages and, surprisingly they learned from each other as well as from Taylor and Joe.

Kitty Smothers threw the gauntlet en plain air

“Paint like you don’t care,” Smothers said as she moved her brush quickly across the canvas.

Kristy Drinkwater, laughed as she”detailed” the red-headed wood pecker on her canvas.

Just as the professional artists are different is style and technique, so were those who participated in the workshop. But, as Taylor and Joe reminded them, there is no right or wrong in art, just different.

Drinkwater is an artist and also a teacher of art. She was at the workshop to learn.

“It was wonderful to do something fun on a rainy and cold Saturday,” Drinkwater said. “Gathering at The Studio was an excellent way to spend  the  afternoon drawing and painting alongside other artists.”

Collectively, the participants worked on quick studies without a lot of time to plan or paint.

“Rapidly painting and sketching this way was a challenge and stretch,” Drinkwater said. “It allowed us the opportunity to explore our craft in a different way.”

Twelve-year-old Sadie Holbert with came with her art teacher.

“I texted Sadie on Saturday morning and asked if she’d like to join me,” Drinkwater said. “She quickly grabbed her sketchbook.  She did an excellent job and it was fun to bring her along. I don’t think she had ever gone to something like this before but I think she loved it just as much as I did.”

Drinkwater said the en plain air event was a great day with like minded artists.

“I don’t think anyone felt like their work was final or complete when we wrapped up the afternoon,” she said. “But it was  an excellent opportunity to explore the process. Sometimes we get bogged down with trying to make a finished piece and we forget to play along the way. Saturday was a  great time for that with very little expectation of our artwork being final. For me and a lot of artists, it is always more about the journey and process than perfection.  It was fun to learn from other artists, the ones sitting next to me and the ones demonstrating their technique and process.”

For local artist Kitty Smothers, the workshop was a “awesome” opportunity to be with others who love making art, too.

“I learned so much about depth and value,” Smothers said. “When I paint, I can’t really verbalize how I do it; I just paint what I see and feel. I needed a refresher on color theory and color harmony and they pushed me to think in new ways. “

Smothers said Taylor and Joe were inspiring.

“And,  I love that they freely shared their time and tips with us.,” Smothers said. “It really makes me excited to keep getting out there and learning all I can.”

Edith Smith was one of the novice artists at the workshop.

Although she has had no formal training in art, her mother was talented and traces her love of art back to her mom.

“I was happy to have the opportunity to get doing art,” Smith said. “I love art; it’s rewarding. I was happy to have the opportunity to attend the workshop. Most everything was new to me and I learned from the professional artists and from others as well.”

Smith said she discovered she has a natural instinct for art.

“But I need to know more and understand more and keep trying to get better,” she said. “I hope the Johnson Center willhold  other opportunities for us to come to gather to learn. And, I like to paint fast and get it done. And was proud of what I did and it inspired me to paint more.”