Olmsted Plein Air Invitational

This past Saturday my wife and I attended the Olmstead Plein Air Invitational. Several plein air artists setup their pochade boxes amidst the beautiful and historic Olmsted Linear Park near Atlanta. The park runs along Ponce de Leon Avenue and is made of six smaller, narrow green spaces. It was designed by Frederick Olmsted whose work included Central Park in New York City.

Thirty five plein air artists were invited to participate. Shirley and I were able to wander around the park and peer over the shoulders of several artists as they created beautiful paintings right before our eyes. Each artist had similar tools and materials – usually a pochade box loaded with a small palette of oil paints or watercolors and a small panel (canvas or board or watercolor paper) to paint on firmly mounted above the palette. Despite the similarities in tools, each artist’s interpretation of the scenes they painted was unique in vision and style. What an experience it was to see their observations of scenes in the park interpreted in so many inspiring ways.

A number of outdoor workshops were conducted at the “Artist Village” setup in the park near the intersection of Clifton Road and Ponce de Leon Avenue. We sat in on a workshop conducted by master watercolorist Tom Lynch and watched him explain and demonstrate several brush stroke and color mixing techniques to render realistic features - such as trees and grass - observed in the park.

Another workshop we attended was conducted by plain air artist Scott Gellatly. Scott is also the product manager of one of the finest lines of oil paints and mediums in the world: Gamblin Artists Colors. Scott talked about the differences in mineral and organic colors. His demonstrations vividly demonstrated how different colors mix and the effect different mediums have on oil paints. It was a serendipitous encounter to meet Scott and attend his workshop. I had come to know of Gamblin Artist Colors through another artist – Brian Rutenberg – whose inspirational videos often featured Gamblin oil paints.

My biggest regret was not hearing about the Olmstead Plein Air Invitational sooner! There were many other events at different locations throughout Atlanta during the past week. Now that I know about it, next year I’ll make a point of attending and participating in more of the events. Many thanks go to the organizers of this fine, inspiring event.

Painting by Scott Gellatly

Painting by Scott Gellatly

Artist Tom Lynch

Artist Tom Lynch

Scott Gellatly is an artist and the product manager for Gamblin Artist Colors

Scott Gellatly is an artist and the product manager for Gamblin Artist Colors