Kings NS Museum fundraiser encourages artists of all skill levels to get out and paint
KENTVILLE, NS — A counselor at a fundraiser that encourages participants to get out and paint says artists will find the landscapes and subjects in Kings County virtually limitless.
Artists Edward and Anne Wedler, who now live in Bedford, founded Plein Air Artists of the Annapolis Valley (PAAAV) seven years ago.
“Outdoor” art includes works in any medium produced outdoors, on site.
Former Valley residents are collaborating with the Kings County Museum on a fundraiser called Brush with Nature. Both professional and non-professional artists are encouraged to get out and paint – or draw – for a good cause.
Edward said the artistic subjects of Kings County are as abundant as the food grown there. Its rolling topography, patchwork of agricultural fields, coastal features, historic buildings and farmers markets are just the beginning of what an outdoor artist could paint.
“It was museum staff who saw this potential in Miner’s Marsh and enthusiastically extended that vision to all of Kings County. There are many delightful nooks and crannies in Kings County for artists to discover for the rest of us,” he said.
Anne agrees that Kings County offers an amazing variety of subject matter for outdoor artists. From the cliffs on the shores of the Bay of Fundy and tidal marshes to farmland, orchards, vineyards, waterfalls and forests, “it is blessed with natural beauty.”
The Brush with Nature project directly supports the work of the cultural community, as proceeds from art sales, auctions and raffles will be shared between the artist and the museum.
Considering the plein-air style of art, Edward said he was most moved by expressive watercolor, especially human structures that have stories to tell – “if only they could talk”.
Still, he said he could also be delighted by a line drawing of a child expressing his innermost feelings.
“It’s not the reproduction of what we see that I appreciate the most. It’s the feeling and the vibe in the way an artist paints that I appreciate the most,” Edward said.
Anne said she enjoys the ever-changing light and atmosphere that presents an unlimited number of subjects.
“I love the involvement with nature,” she said. “I love the energy that comes to me from a scene when I paint.”
Anne describes it as a “slow journey”, as people develop a connection with the places they paint. She said it increases the powers of observation and the memory of the experience of painting in one place for several hours is strongly imprinted.
see things differently
Edward said outdoor artists can open the eyes of the community to see things differently, in ways people might never have imagined. Art is a common language that brings people together, and the outdoors brings people together in the environment.
Anne said that since painting is usually a solitary activity, Brush with Nature is a wonderful opportunity for artists to come together to work and associate with each other.
Edward said that according to Plein Air Magazine editor Eric Rhoads, the plein air is the fastest growing art movement in the world today. Edward said he wasn’t sure why for the resurgence, but perhaps the artists express or reflect society’s growing concern for the environment.
Anne said she believes the growth of the outdoor movement is linked to a desire to be outdoors and connect more with nature, such as the growing popularity of hiking and camping.
“This activity is an integration of art with the outdoors. So, people must have a desire to paint and improve their skills by drawing inspiration from nature,” Anne said.
Edward said he and Anne were inspired by their relationship with Russian-born artist Vlad Yeliseyev in Sarasota, Florida, and his outdoor group to start similar bands in Nova Scotia.
When asked if they had any advice for aspiring outdoor artists, Edward said “keep going and be patient”. He suggests joining like-minded artists to get out there and paint. The PAAAV has listed 26 weeks of outdoor “paintings” for 2022.
“Anne and I have facilitated over 90 online group critique sessions over the past two years with outdoor artists. You learn and grow through this experience, especially when you receive and listen to constructive and encouraging guidance. said Edward.
Anne said it’s difficult because outdoor artists have to battle the elements, the ever-changing light and, in Nova Scotia, the ever-changing tides.
“There is an immediacy in action and reaction with nature that cannot be copied in a studio situation. Being outdoors is incredible for your health and well-being,” she said. declared.
Edward said after hearing about the museum from those who responded to a recent call for artists, he and Anne are excited about the level of talent Brush with Nature has attracted so far. They anticipate other budding artists, young and old and of all skill levels, to join in the fun.
A first for the museum
Kings County Museum Office Director Heather Killen said Brush with Nature is the museum’s first outdoor art fundraiser.
She said the museum has an extensive art collection. Curator Ellen Lewis was considering hosting a fair, and the idea was born to do an outdoor fundraiser, much like the Paint the Town festival at Annapolis Royal.
“We were thinking about Miner’s Marsh, and one of our board members is good friends with Edward and Anne and suggested maybe they could help out,” Killen said.
She said painting outdoors is certainly not new, but it has seen a resurgence in popularity, perhaps in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Killen said the Kings Historical Society has a mandate to promote the natural and cultural history of Kings County, so fundraising is a good choice.
“It’s another element in getting people to experience the natural history and appreciate the environment of Kings County,” Killen said. “We have some really beautiful places to paint.”
Killen said they hope to help raise the profile of the Annapolis Valley arts community through fundraising. As of July 7, they already had 13 registered artists.
She said they also hope to get area businesses to sponsor prizes and help promote businesses on an event map showing suggested painting locations.
For more information on Brush with Nature or to register for the Long Brush, visit www.kingscountymuseum.ca. To view the map and schedule for the 2022 Plein Air Artists of the Annapolis Valley Paint-Out, visit www.tinyurl.com/pleinairmap.
About Brush with Nature
Brush with Nature includes the Long Brush and the Short Brush (or Quick Draw). The Long Brush runs from August 1-18. During this time, registered artists may choose one or more locations in Kings County to paint or draw.
The resulting outdoor artworks can be submitted to the museum for hanging anytime between August 11 and August 18. All submissions must be “ready to hang” and sales will be handled by the museum.
The Short Brush takes place in Kentville’s Miner Swamp on August 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Artists are encouraged to draw or paint marsh landscapes. Weather permitting, all artwork from the Long Brush will be on display at the museum and swamp on that day. Short Brush artists can display their work on their easels or stands.
Artists of all skill levels can sign up for Brush with Nature. Artists who have been working for at least two years and who have sold works of art can register in the “Professional” category. Those with less than two years of experience or who have not sold art can register in the “Open” category.
Artists are asked to identify their artwork on the reverse, including the artist’s name, title, location, date of painting, medium, sale price and contact information. Work can be in any medium and artists can donate their work to help raise funds for the museum.
Long Brush artists can register online until July 27. The registration fee is $30. Short Brush performers can register in person at Miner’s Marsh between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. on August 20. The registration fee is $20.
For the Long Brush and Short Brush, in the “Professional” and “Open” categories, there will be prizes for Artist’s Choice, Audience’s Choice, and Sponsor’s Choice.