Arts Visual Arts

Smoky Mountains Plein Air Painters Announce Upcoming Paint-outs

(Inset) Richard Baker painting. (Main) Jonathan Valley Barn. Richard Baker, artist

After a hiatus, the members of Smoky Mountains Plein Air Painters are preparing for spring, summer and fall paint-outs. Founder Richard Baker encourages new members to join the informal group that gathers weekly on Tuesday mornings to paint on location, primarily in Haywood County. “We love for people to come out and paint in these beautiful mountains,” Baker says. “It’s a fun time, not a competition or a serious event. It’s just a group of painters getting out and painting these beautiful mountains and beautiful rivers.” Artists in all mediums and with all skill levels are welcome. “If you’re interested and not quite ready to paint, you’re welcome to come out and watch us paint,” Baker says. “We will make you feel comfortable.”

The year’s first paint-out will be Tuesday, May 4, at 9 a.m. at Lake Junaluska, with participants meeting at Inspiration Point, which provides a panoramic view of water and mountains. Additional May outings include Purchase Knob (May 11), Mile High Overlook on Heintooga Road (May 18), the West Fork of the Pigeon River near Sunburst Campground (May 25) and Oconaluftee Visitor Center (June 1).

“Painting in the Smoky Mountains is a challenge because the weather changes every ten minutes,” Baker says. “It’s really all about learning. You don’t judge the success of a plein air painting by its whole, but by its elements. You may capture a sky that you learn from. Or a tree. You’re able to capture nature’s light and color, which you can’t duplicate by painting from a photograph.”

To learn more about Smoky Mountains Plein Air Painters, visit Facebook, where artwork by participants is posted, or email Baker at Participants practice social distancing.

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