June 11, 2009 (CHAPEL HILL, NC) – Joseph Rowand, director and curator at Somerhill Gallery in Durham, was stunned to learn that the artists who participated in Kimberly Alvis’ “Open Sky Art” event on Sunday, June 7, began and completed their paintings in just a few hours that day. Rowand arrived at Caribou Coffee on 110 West Franklin Street in Chapel Hill late that afternoon to select the top three ribbon-winners among the 8 completed works.
“I thought they started three days ago,” he said as he studied the paintings now displayed on the walls of the downtown coffee shop.
Open Sky Art was an “en plein air” (French for “in the open air”) painting session hosted by Chapel Hill artist Kimberly Alvis in her lush gardens just outside the downtown district. Participating artists chose whatever element or view they wanted to paint on Alvis property, which includes a pond and small wooden bridge, pool, gazebo, extensive gardens in bloom and ornamental trees.
The artists brought their own supplies and painted outdoors from 8 a.m. to around 2 p.m. before delivering the completed works – most of which were also framed – to Caribou Coffee’s West Franklin Street location, where they became part of the Open Sky Art Exhibit to celebrate “en plein air” painting.
An advocate and veteran of open-air painting, Kimberly Alvis contributed three of her own oil paintings for the show, although as host and a member of the Somerhill Gallery stable of artists, her works were not included in the judging for the three winners.
For First Place, Rowand selected an 8×10 piece of the pond and bridge, rendered in pastels, by Linda Wood of Wood Design & Art Studio in Raleigh. The painting is titled “June Garden” and Wood will receive the only cash prize.
Second Place went to Scott Meyers of Chapel Hill, a member of the Orange County Artists Guild, for his 14×17 oil painting of an old Adirondack chair sitting by the bank of the pond.
Third Place went to Tesh Parekh, co-owner of IWP Photography and a member of the Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh, for a 12×16 watercolor of the pond and surrounding gardens — one of two pieces Parekh completed that day.
Kimberly Alvis sponsored the Open Sky Art event and exhibit to celebrate “en plein air” painting and go expose artists who enjoy it to a wider audience.
“I’m very grateful to the management of Caribou on Franklin Street for allowing us to display our exhibit there,” she said.
The Open Sky Art Exhibit will remain in Caribou Coffee at 110 W. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, through mid-July and will be part of the town’s Second Friday Art Walk.
About Kimberly Alvis: An accomplished artist, Kimberly Alvis is recognized for her representational work in oil on canvas, linen and panel. She is represented in the Triangle area for Somerhill Gallery in Durham (www.somerhill.com) and the Little Art Gallery & Craft Collection in Raleigh (www.littleartgalleryandcraft.com.) According to Somerhill Gallery’s Joseph Rowand, Alvis’ work offers “a style reminiscent of the 17th century Dutch and Spanish masters. We encounter with Kim’s work an artist who celebrates the past, deploying paint and light to exquisitely delineate her own compositions.” To see more of her work, visit www.alvisart.com.
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