You don’t have to go far to see the works of the Wandering Artists.
The group of local visual artists currently have an exhibition on display at the Center for Rural Development, showcasing a wide range of styles and perspectives.
“One of the great things about this exhibition is that it spans so many different types of media and styles,” said Peggy Sherry, founding member of Wandering Artists. “It’s simply fun.”
But paintings hanging on the wall aren’t all the Wandering Artists are about – on the contrary, the collection of local talent exists to get out into nature and create on a canvas in the light of the sun.
“Plein air is a type of painting where you paint outside on site. It means ‘in the open air,'” Sherry said. “There are plein air groups all over the world. The Lexington Group are the Plein Air Painters of the Bluegrass. The Danville Group is the Plein Air Artists of Central Kentucky. Linda Gover and Kasandra McNeil and Karen Roland and I attended their events.”
Sherry described the Paint the Town event in Lexington as a “classic” example of plein air painting. “All the artists start at 8am and have a blank canvas stamped to prove it was blank and then they go on site and paint until about 2:30pm and then they have to drop off their picture at home base , framed, and whoever is in charge is putting up a display of all those paintings. Most of them are oil paintings, but we had pastels and watercolors. And then there’s a big reception that night and they give away cash prizes (up to) $10,000. … Plein Air is a global movement and it’s difficult to enforce.”
After doing this for some time with other regional plein air groups, Sherry and Gover decided to start their own here in Pulaski County.
“We contacted some of the artists that we knew, met up and chose some places that we wanted to paint,” Sherry said. This ranges from Pulaski County Park to individual backyards.
“In general, we’re expanding and everyone has a different vision,” Sherry said. “It is very rare that more than one or two people paint the same thing. Even if they paint the same thing, the pictures are completely different.”
Gover mentioned going to Burnett Farms in Pulaski County to paint, noting, “There are some red barns, but they don’t offer the same view. There are many painted sunflowers, but nothing is ever the same.”
Burnett Farms is owned by the family of Cheryl Burnett, a former high school art teacher and one of the Wandering Artists. “It’s great to have people interested in seeing things like this come out. To see how they (artistically) interpret the place is great.”
The Wandering Artists met for the first time this spring and set a schedule to paint monthly through October, the months of better weather. The first scheduled paint event is April 27 at the Rockcastle River Trading Co. in Livingston, in neighboring Rockcastle County.
After that, May brings a trip to Mill Springs Mill, June to Woodstock Lavender Co. Farm and a Sunflower Event at Burnett Farms, and each month thereafter to a new and scenic location.
The exhibition at The Center does not show any art created during those trips, but the artists wanted to show some examples of their earlier work. The exhibition, titled Chasing the Light, features a variety of mediums, styles and subjects, some painted on location while others are submitted studio works.
“We just wanted to introduce ourselves to the community,” Sherry said. “We have decided not to have any rules for this exhibition.”
The showcase opened with a reception on March 5th and will be on view through the end of this month, April 30th. About six of the roughly 40 paintings have been sold, which is a “wonderful” feeling for the artist, Sherry noted, and all are available at a variety of different prices.
“We like to do this because it’s our talent, but it’s also our business,” said Gover, another former art teacher. “Obviously it’s gratifying to have sales, because that’s why we do it. There are a lot of paintings in my closet, but I’d much rather have them all on someone’s wall.”
Participation in the reception or viewing the exhibition is free of charge. Exhibition times are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and during extended evening and weekend hours when the center is open to the public.
If you have any questions about purchasing art displayed in the exhibit, please contact Debra Hines at 606-677-6000 or email email@example.com
The Wandering Artists group currently has 20 members and is open to all people of all ages. “All they have to do is let me know and I’ll put them on the email list,” Sherry said. Most are from Pulaski County, but there are members from other locations as well. “We are open to anyone who wants to paint with us.”
Some of the artists have been painting for a long time, all their lives; others later adopted it. Liz Isaacs said that she has never painted or drawn, but has done paper cutting and wants to learn about watercolors. So she started the Escape Artists group – another local artist group that Sherry and others belonged to – and discovered a love for watercolor art which has taken her to the Plein Air group.
“I need to learn how to paint plein air,” she said, laughing, adding, “I think it’s a culmination of the interest we’ve all always had in art. Some of them have become professionals, others are beginners and others just painted for fun.”
To be added to the mailing list, contact Sherry at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s a great thing when you have a passion for art, a heart for friendship, and a deep appreciation for the world around the artist.
“It’s just us. It’s part of us,” Sherry said. “We always have, and we’ve always enjoyed the camaraderie of being with other artists. We inspire each other. It’s just what we do.”