You don’t have to go far to admire the work of traveling artists.
The group of local visual artists are currently presenting an exhibition at the Center for Rural Development, showcasing a wide range of styles and perspectives.
“One of the things about this exhibition (is) that it included so many different types of mediums and styles,” said Wandering Artists founding member Peggy Sherry. “It’s just the fun.”
But the paintings hanging on the wall aren’t just the wandering artists – on the contrary, the collection of local talent exists to get out into the wild and create on canvas under the sunlight.
“Plein Air is a type of painting where you paint on the spot outside. It means “outdoors,” Sherry said. “There are Plein Air groups all over the world. The Lexington Group are the Plein Air Painters of Bluegrass. The Danville Group is the Plein Air Artists of Central Kentucky. Linda Gover and Kasandra McNeil and Karen Roland and I attended their events.
Sherry described the “Paint the Town” event in Lexington as a “classic” example of outdoor painting. “All the artists start at 8 a.m. and have a blank canvas stamped to prove it was blank, then they go out there and they paint until about 2:30 p.m., then they have to hand their paint off at the port of attached, framed, and whoever’s in charge hangs a display of all these paintings. Most of them are oil paintings, but we had some pastels and watercolors. And then there’s a big reception that night and they’re giving out cash rewards (up to) $10,000…. Plein Air is a global movement, and that’s hard to do.
After doing this for a while with other regional Plein Air groups, Sherry and Gover decided to form their own here in Pulaski County.
“We reached out to some of the artists we knew and got together and picked places that we were going to paint,” Sherry said. It ranges from Pulaski County Park to individual backyards.
“Usually we spread out and everyone has a different take on it,” Sherry said. “There are very few times when there are more than one or two people painting the same thing. Even if they are painting the same thing, the paintings are completely different.
Gover mentioned going to Burnett Farms in Pulaski County to paint, noting, “There are quite a few red barns, but it’s not the same view. There are many painted sunflowers, but nothing is ever the same.
Burnett Farms is owned by the family of Cheryl Burnett, a former high school art teacher and one of the wandering artists. “It’s great to have people who are interested in seeing things like this come out. Seeing how they interpret (the location artistically) is awesome.
The wandering artists first met this spring, set a schedule to paint every month until October, the warmer months. The first scheduled paint event will take place at the Rockcastle River Trading Co. on April 27 in Livingston, in neighboring Rockcastle County.
After that, May brings a trip to the mill at Mill Springs, June at the farm at Woodstock Lavender Co. as well as a sunflower event at Burnett Farms, and every month after that a new and scenic location.
The exhibition at the Center does not feature the art made during these trips, rather the artists wanted to show some examples of their previous work. Entitled “Chasing the Light,” the exhibit features different media, styles, and subjects, some painted on location while others are pieces submitted in the studio.
“We just wanted to introduce ourselves to the community,” Sherry said. “We have decided not to have any rules for this exhibition.”
The showcase opened on March 5 with a reception and will run until the end of this month, April 30. About six of the approximately 40 paintings have sold, which is a “wonderful” feeling for the artist, Sherry noted, and all are available, for a variety of different prices.
“We love doing this because it’s our talent, but it’s also our job,” said Gover, another former art teacher. “Of course it’s rewarding to have sales, because that’s why we do it. There are a lot of paintings in my closet, but I would much rather they were all on someone’s wall.
There is no charge to attend the reception or view the exhibit. Exhibit hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and during extended evening and weekend hours when the Center is open to the public.
To inquire about purchasing artwork featured in the exhibit, please contact Debra Hines at 606-677-6000 or email email@example.com
There are 20 members of the Wandering Artists group at the moment, and it’s open to everyone of all ages. “All they have to do is let me know, and I’ll put them on the mailing list,” Sherry said. Most are from Pulaski County, but there are members from other places. “We are open to anyone who wants to paint with us.”
Some artists have been painting for a long time, even their whole lives; others adopted it later. Liz Isaacs said she had never painted or drawn, but had done paper cutouts and wanted to learn more about watercolors. So she started with the Escape Artists group – another local artist group that Sherry and others became affiliated with – and found a love for the art of watercolor painting which she joined the Plein Air group.
“I’m going to have to learn to paint outdoors,” she laughs, adding, “I think it’s the culmination of the interest we’ve all always had in art. Some of them have become professionals and some are beginners and some just paint for fun.
To subscribe to the mailing list, contact Sherry at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s a great thing to do if you have a passion for art, a heart for friendship, and a deep appreciation for the world around the artist.
“It’s just us. It’s part of us,” Sherry said. “We’ve always done that and we’ve always enjoyed the camaraderie of being with other artists. We inspire each other. That’s just what we do.