Tannery Row announces plein air competition

The vibrant Tannery Row Arts Colony has taken the third annual Historic Buford Plein Air Festival in hand with a call to artists to participate in this engaging event. The festival will be held the weekend of April 24 and 25.

The idea is for each participating artist to select a scene from among the many beautiful, historic, character-filled locations in and around Buford. Then the artist uses watercolor, acrylic, oil, pencils or pastel to capture his or her own vision of the selected scene. Plein air artwork is created quickly, and the freshness of the interpretation is a part of the charm of each piece.

The concept of plein air artwork grew out of the realist movement of the 19th century, when artists such as John Constable were seeking to find "Truth in Nature," combined later with the impressionist ideas of color representing light itself. The result is a delightful style, never "overworked," but immediate.

Buford has a bounty of locations to inspire the artist. Main Street, the Bona Allen mansion, Stonehenge gardens, the Chattahoochee River and a variety of churches, street scenes and more all beg to be painted. Artists may even get out in a boat and paint a scene on the shore. In case the artist hasn't chosen a specific scene, maps with suggestions will be given to each participant. They also receive badges so that Buford's residents can identify them as artists and enjoy watching the process of a painting being created. Photography can never be a part of this process.

The event itself will begin at 9 a.m. April 24 at Tannery Row. Participants must have their substrates (canvases, etc.) stamped as "official entries" as the artists check in. Then the artists will go out into Buford to paint.

All the entries must be completed on location. At 4 p.m. April 25, all the entries, one to three per entrant, must be turned in and judging will commence. The winners will be announced at 7 p.m. during an awards ceremony. Wine and cheese will be on hand, and the public is welcomed to attend.

All paintings will be on display at Tannery Row through May 30. Many of the works will be for sale. There is a $35 registration fee, or $30 per person in groups of four or more.

Tannery Row also provides the public with free arts events most Thursdays at 11 a.m. Called "Thursday Things," visitors can learn how to do all types of creative artwork, taught by many of the Tannery Row artists and their friends.

On Thursday, Carly Clements-Hardy will teach Sketching Skills. Feb. 26 will have Rosa Jang teaching Pressed Flower Arranging. This class will include a $2 lamination fee.

There is no Thursday Thing on Feb. 19. Tannery Row artists are themselves getting ready to hang an exhibition titled "Risky Business," because, according to Judy Isaacs, "there is no art without risk."

For more information about this and other Tannery Row events, visit www.tanneryrowartistcolony.com or call 770-904-0572.

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