Chapel Hill Artist Participates in “Plein Air” Paint-Out

"Two Goats" by Kimberly Alvis
"Two Goats" by Kimberly Alvis

November 20, 2008 (CHAPEL HILL, NC) – On a recent weekend this month, Chapel Hill artist Kimberly Alvis joined a group of painters who took their paints, palettes, canvases and easels to Elodie goat farm in Bahama, NC, to participate in an en plein air (French for “in the open air”) painting session coordinated by Outdoor Painters of Graham, NC.

The result is a 12”x16” oil on panel painting entitled “Two Goats” that captures a pair of goats around a large watering pot in a field, their shadows indicating mid-morning. A small wooden shed in the background squats before a grove of tall trees in full autumn color.

“I love plein air painting because it’s so challenging,” Alvis said. “You never know what you’ll have to deal with. It could be wind, cold, manipulating the easel so the sun isn’t shining on it — which messes up the values — or trying to keep a goat from eating your canvas! When I get back to painting in my studio it’s so much easier.”

Frank LaLumnia, a founding member of Plein-Air Painters of America, explains the challenge – and attraction — of plein air painting:

“Painting from life is a pursuit unlike any other painting technique,” he writes on the organization’s website ( “It challenges artists to concentrate every sensory nerve on the information in front them. They absorb it all, from sight to sound, from temperature to atmosphere, and then channel those feelings from head to hand, re-creating the vision in paints on paper or canvas.”

According to LaLumnia, plein air painting began in 19th-century Europe. “Englishman John Constable believed the artist should forget about formulas and trust his own vision in finding truth in nature.”

French Impressionist painters such as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir also advocated en plein air painting, and much of their work was created outdoors.

Outdoor Painters in Graham facilities and promotes artists who enjoy plein air painting by working with property owners or agents to secure access to restricted or private property for “paint-outs.” For more information, visit the website:

Kimberly Alvis is an accomplished artist represented in the Triangle by Somerhill Gallery. She is currently showing a collection of recent works at the Carrboro Town Hall in Carrboro, NC. To see more of the artist’s work, visit

Downtown Raleigh Art Gallery Presents New Works by Jason Craighead

January 15, 2008 (RALEIGH, NC) – For the first time since October 2006, abstract expressionist Jason Craighead will present his latest work in a Raleigh venue when he joins artist Tricia McKellar for a special exhibit entitled “Microcosm/Macrocosm” to be held at the Miriam Preston Block Art Gallery in the Avery Upchurch Municipal Building in downtown Raleigh (222 West Hargett Street). The exhibit will open with an artists’ reception on First Friday, February 1, 5-7 p.m., and remain up through March 13.

Craighead, who recently served as a member of the City of Raleigh Arts Commission’s (RAC) 30th Anniversary Committee, will hang nine new paintings for the show ranging in size from approximately 16×18 to 80×80.

“My current work includes ideas on construction, deconstruction, revitalization, and the energies produced in an urban environment,” the artist said recently. “They’re not depictions of reality, but responses to the visual treat that is everyday city life within the structure and chaos that surrounds us. There is beauty to be found in the grit if we choose to be observant.”

The artist’s lasts Raleigh show was held at the former Glance Gallery on West Martin Street. He is currently represented by Somerhill Gallery in Chapel Hill, Broadhurst Gallery in Pinehurst, New Elements Gallery in Wilmington, Anne Irwin Fine Art in Atlanta, GA, and Bucks Gallery of Fine Art in Newtown, PA.

A selection panel of visual arts professionals and member of the Arts
Commission select the artists whose work is displayed in
the gallery. The Municipal Building Art Exhibition program began as a means to support Raleigh’s visual arts community with opportunities to exhibit work in a visible and professional downtown location. For more information contact June Guralnick at 919-890-3610.

For more information on Jason Craighead, contact Kim Weiss at blueplate pr, 919-272-8615;