Gwinnett artists excelling in town and out


Gwinnett visual artists are making an impact within the borders of our county, our state and beyond.

Last week's Historic Buford Plein Air Festival was a huge success, with 25 talented artists participating. Meanwhile, Dacula artist Karen Burnette Garner was showcasing 30 new works in the neighboring state of South Carolina.

The second annual Buford festival was held Sept. 21-23. Artists from around the state of Georgia turned out to try their skills at this unique technique. Painting "en plein air" is a method of putting down visual images outdoors, rendering the subject quickly. It produces a very fresh, lively result and is gaining in popularity.

This year's participants wandered the streets and byways of Buford, seeking inspiration from numerous Main Street storefronts, historic buildings, Buford Dam, Lake Lanier and other fascinating places.

Winning Best in Show was Robin Garrison of Suwanee for her rendition of Buford's Main Street shops and restaurants. Well-known Buford artist Judith Surowiec received second place for her colorful depiction of the Bona Allen Mansion. A newcomer to the competition, Donna Biggee, took third place. Biggee

created a peaceful pastel of the Stonehedge historic home owned by Alan and Maria Turk. Joan Terrell, who also painted Stonehedge, received honorable mention.

Judging the competition was award-winning pastel artist Marsha Savage, and local artists Carly Clements, Kay Hibbard and John Guernsey were among other participants.

In another beautiful Southern region, South Carolina's Lowcountry, a Gwinnett artist has been making her mark for some time. Dacula artist Garner is featured in an exhibition titled "Lowcountry III - New Works by Karen Burnette Garner" at The Treasure Nest Art Gallery in Mount Pleasant, S.C. This marks the third annual showing of her work at the gallery, and her work is available at there year-round.

Garner paints acrylic on canvas, and her works have been characterized as both impressionistic and realistic in style. She has painted professionally for more than 20 years, and she is well known for her beautiful depictions of this area of the country.

For more information about Garner's work, call The Treasure Nest Gallery at 843-216-1235 or visit Garner's Web site at home.earthlink.net/~karenbgarner.

For more information about the Historic Buford Plein Air Festival, call Carisma Gallery at 770-271-7501 or visit www.carismahome.com.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. E-mail hcalmes@mindspring.com.