Plein Air Art Festival displays Gadsden's scenery

By Dixon Hayes

GADSDEN, AL (WBRC) - An art show in Gadsden was literally made to order; it's all original art, done within a week, of areas around Gadsden.

The Gadsden Museum of Art sponsored its second annual Plein Air Art Festival.  30 painters--15 nationally renowned, 15 up and coming--were invited to replicate some of the scenery in the area.

One day the artists, and their easels and pallettes, would set up in Downtown Gadsden.  On other days they set up at Noccalula Falls Park, along the Coosa River and throughout the Turrentine Historic District.

We caught up with the artists in the next county, at Wright's Dairy Farm in Alexandria.  One of them, Candee Bradford, was painting one of the farm's cows.

There's so much beauty in the world, how can you not paint it?" she told us. " I don't know, the trees, the cows, the Falls, the bridge at the Falls, it was all just wonderful, wonderful."

Gadsden Museum of Art executive director Steve Temple says the "Plein Air" (French for "open air") motif brings a new dimension to the paintings.

"The artwork captures the light, the color, the air, the time of the day," he said  "You can almost hear the roar of the Falls when it's painted like that.  It's not an illustration, it's a direct, visceral, aesthetic response to what you're seeing."

Twenty of the paintings were sold at auction during Gadsden's First Friday celebration May 7th.  The rest will remain on display at the museum until they, too are auctioned at the next First Friday celebration June 4th.

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