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Plein Air Festival lets artists capture outdoor scenes

Photo by Tori Boone

Photo by Tori Boone

It's a spontaneous art endeavor Gwinnett residents can experience along with the artists who are participating.

The Historic Buford Plein Air Festival brings together artists from around the Southeast to capture the outdoor scenes of the city of Buford.

Plein air is a French expression that translates as "in the open air," and is used to describe the act of painting outdoors, which is where these artists will be set up with canvasses, their paint and brushes.

"They paint outside exactly what they see," Sabrina Bland, an artist with Buford's Tannery Row Artist Colony, the organization hosting this weekend's festival, "the landscape, the historic buildings, even the animals and people. It is a spontaneous and ever-changing scene that must be captured quickly and with passion, because the light and the world change so quickly."

Artists can paint any time between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday anywhere within the Buford City Limits. The festival will go on rain or shine.

Bland expects about 40 artists to participate in the festival and all will be wearing badges so they can be easily recognized by the public. Artists can create as many paintings as they wish but must select only two pieces for entry in the show that will follow the festival.

"It's a beautiful way to promote art in the community," Bland said, "something that connects the artists to the public that they serve."

On Saturday afternoon, artists will engage in a "quick draw," painting together the same scene quickly. The artists will then vote on the best painting.

"It is always a fascinating process to see how someone interprets a scene," Bland said. "You can have 10 artists looking at the same house or landscape and have 10 unique and spectacular paintings."

All of the paintings created during the festival will be on display at Tannery Row Artist Colony beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday and all will be available for purchase.

"This is a wonderful way for people to own art that has historical and personal context," Bland said.