Coastal Carolina Fair - Youth Art Show 2008

Beyond these doors of the Fine Arts Building at the Coastal Carolina Fair hangs the 2008 Youth Art Show. Each year the Exchange Club of Charleston sponsors an exhibition of artwork at the Coastal Carolina Fair by student artists from Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties.

This year (2008), the Youth Art Show includes nearly 600 artworks showcasing a wide variety of styles and media. The artwork is displayed in groups by age from 6 to 18 yrs. old.

The Exchange Club's Judges present numerous ribbons and awards which are highly prized by their young recipients.
For the past 13 yrs. my husband and I have had the pleasure of sponsoring an award at this Youth Art Show to recognize outstanding talent as well as to encourage the further growth and development of promising young artists.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2008 SCHNEIDER ART AWARDS:

Joey Dixon - Chas. County School of the Arts
Richard Heywood - R.B. Stall High School
Meghan Kindy - Wando High School
Kim Mansfield - Goose Creek High School
Alfie Ming - Alston Middle School
Issey Till - Rollings Middle School of the Arts
To see all of the 2008 Youth Art Show Award winners CLICK HERE.

Come on out to the Exchange Club's Coastal Carolina Fair and while you're there be sure to go by and see all the exciting, creative artwork at this year's 2008 Youth Art Show.

For more information about the 2008 Coastal Carolina Fair including a map, scheduled events and entertainment visit

Plein Air Painting Equipment and Supplies I Use to "Paint Charleston Daily"

It's always interesting to see the equipment plein air artists use to paint on location. This past weekend at the Oil Painters of America "SC Paint Out" at Poplar Grove, artists working in oil, pastel, acrylics and watercolor were seen using field easels made by "Open Box M ", "EASyL", and "Soltek" along with traditional French easels and customized painting set-ups.

I've been asked what supplies I use for plein air painting around the Lowcountry. My painting set up is well suited for painting out of the back of my car or at locations accessible with a rolling cart. For overseas travel, workshops, backpacking or remote painting locations a more streamlined system would be needed, such as the "Open Box M" easel and accessories.

I like the versatility of the "Stanrite" Standard light weight aluminum folding easel. It's designed with a cross brace which I use for my palette and has flip down spikes on each leg to anchor the easel in the ground on windy days.

I've customized the easel with 2 plastic brush holders attached to the front legs. I keep clean brushes on the left and wet brushes on the right. I hang a plastic shopping bag over one of the brush holders to stash my dirty paint rags and trash as I paint. I use Gamblin "Gamsol" orderless mineral spirits in a glass baby food jar on the palette to thin paint and clean the brushes.

Brushes are stored in a round, plastic tube case. (I've also seen one "custom" made out of a cut PVC plumbing pipe with a cap at ea. end.)

Common butcher paper serves as a disposable palette in a Masterson plastic palette case. The sealed lid allows paint to be set out on the palette before going on location (saves time) and later stored in the freezer to keep it workable for several days (saves money).

I paint on birch wood panels I prepare with either canvas or Gamblin Gesso. Sometimes I like to use cradled wood panels which I also sand and gesso. I've found panels are better than stretched canvas on location because they block sunlight coming through the back of the painting surface.
I prefer to stand when I paint but often bring a folding chair if I'll be painting all day.

The following is a list of things I pack in a folding pull cart which was bought at a boating supply store:
Spare paint tubes in a plastic shoebox, extra brushes and palette knife, orderless mineral spirits, masking tape, waterless hand cleaner (orange pumice type), paper towels, a view finder, mirror (to check values and composition), bug spray/ mosquito repelling device, sunblock cream, ground tarp, hat, plastic bags for trash, bottled water, and cell phone.

Do other plein air painters out there have painting tips and tricks to share? All comments are greatly appreciated. Happy Painting!

"Marsh at Flood Tide" A Painting by Charleston Artist Katherine M. Schneider

In the Fall, the full moon often causes unusually high tides in the Lowcountry. I spent the afternoon today painting this tidal effect by former rice fields now turned back into marshes.

A beautiful full moon flood tide lasted for much of the afternoon, making my attempt to capture this marsh scene easier than last time.

The painting began with a toned canvas panel on which I sketched the composition with burnt sienna oil paint.

Once I had completed this stage, I quickly painted in medium values of warm and cool local colors.

I completed the painting by adding highlights in the marsh grass and working on the reflections in the water of the foreground.

"Rice Fields at Flood Tide"
Oil on canvas panel
Dimensions: 11" x 14"
Sold Thank you.

Marsh Creek Plein Air Painting - Racing Time and Tides

Plein air painting on location is never more challenging than when trying to record rapidly changing weather conditions such as ebbing tidal water and the setting sun.

I started this creek side marsh painting in the afternoon with a quick charcoal reference sketch on a toned canvas about 3:00.

An hour later, I had laid in mid tones and was trying to refine my values in the sky and creek which were rapidly changing. Notice the dropping water level in the creek.

Soon the creek had run dry, the afternoon light faded, and I still had away to go with the painting. I like to finish plein air works "alla prima" (all at once) but I lost the light and tide this afternoon.

In today's race to paint the score is: Mother Nature "1" vs. Plein Air Painter "0".

I could finish the painting from my reference photos but the finished painting wouldn't be the same.

I'll return another day to paint faster and smarter. Time and Tide wait for no one...

To see more of my marsh paintings click here.

"Autumn Gold Marsh" A Plein Air Painting of a Lowcountry Marsh

This view of a Lowcountry tidal creek winding through marsh grass turning gold in the autumn light caught my eye as I searched for a painting location during the Oil Painter's of America's (OPA) "Great American Paint Out" at Poplar Grove this weekend.

Plein Air painters
from all over the region including members of OPA, the Charleston Outdoor Painters Association, the Charleston Artist Guild, and the Community of I'On Artists gathered to paint in the beautiful fall weather at the 6,000 acre property of Poplar Grove.

Painting this tidal creek required working fast to capture the ebbing tidal water and rapidly changing afternoon light. These conditions often create a painting that is looser and more expressive than work created in a studio environment.

The need to work quickly is one of the challenges that artists find both frustrating and rewarding about painting on location-"en plein air". Sometimes the effort to paint en plein air produces a fresh, exciting finished canvas. Sometimes a less finished but still useful color study or location sketch. Whatever the result, the experience of plein air painting on location in a natural setting, renews and expands an artist's skill.

"Autumn Gold Marsh"
Oil painting on canvas panel
11" x 14"
Price: $450.00

Plein Air Artist Reception for the Oil Painters of America "Great American Paint Out" 2008 Charleston, SC

Many of the nearly 30 plein air artists participating in the 2008 Oil Painters of America sponsored "Great American Paint Out" gathered Sunday in the spectacular setting of the Poplar Grove Boathouse on Rantowles Creek near Charleston, SC.

Good food, friends, and artwork all added to the enjoyment of a beautiful Fall day spent relaxing on the spacious porch overlooking ancient oaks and the sparkling water of Rantowles Creek at Poplar Grove.

The afternoon provided painters the chance to discuss their weekends work with each other and Poplar Grove guests.
Pictured left to rt. are artists Hilary Lambert, Ann Merrill, Bonnie Stabler, OPA member and event organizer Sara Jane Reynolds, Barrie Hinson, and Veronique Ariel.

When asked what would be their advice on painting "en plein air" (painting on location) to new plein air painters, some of the artists offered the following replies.

"Make yourself come out. A photograph is nothing like being out there." Barrie Hinson
"Don't let Nature intimidate you." Veronique Ariel
"Keep it simple. Streamline your equipment." Almeda Kelly
"Don't forget your bug spray." Diane Balister
"Forgetting something essential (like your brushes) forces you to new solutions, like using your palette knife instead." Ann Merrill

"The camaraderie among fellow artists who share the same passion as I do for plein air painting is an important part of painting en plein air." BeNita McAdam

"Squint for shapes. Open your eyes for color." Hilary Lambert
"The vertical plains are darker than horizontal plains. Shadows in the horizontals (like the ground) can't be as dark as in the verticals (like a tree)." Bonnie Stabler
"Use thumbnail sketches or a viewfinder to simplify your compositions. Use a mirror to help correct errors and strengthen your painting." Kay Schneider

"Don't throw everything you have at the canvas. Keep something in reserve. Winston Churchill in his book "Painting as a Pastime" uses the analogy of creating a painting to fighting a battle. If a general uses everything he has, all his artillery, and keeps nothing in reserve, and if at the end of the day he hasn't won the battle, he has nothing left. Likewise an artist needs to keep something in reserve." Sara Jane Reynolds

I wish I'd had a chance to hear comments from all the artists painting en plein air this weekend. Several artists advised against using "tube" green paint. They believe mixing greens from their palette colors unifies and strengthens their plein air paintings.

Do you have a tip or trick about plein air painting to share? Maybe something funny happened while you were "out there" painting? It'd be great to hear your comments.

Oil Painters of America "Great American Paint Out " 2008 Plein Air Event at Poplar Grove

The Oil Painters of America (OPA) organized a plein air event this weekend at Poplar Grove Plantation near Charleston, SC as part of OPA's "Great American Paintout".

Local OPA member Sara Jane Reynolds invited regional artists including the Charleston Outdoor Painters Association , and the Charleston Artist Guild to paint with OPA members on this spectacular 6,000 acre Lowcountry Preserve.

The weather was perfect for plein air painting, sunny and mild with few bugs - a rare day in our semi tropical climate.

I took a break from my afternoon painting on a peaceful tidal creek to see who was painting where.

Here are a few of the painters I found painting at locations all over the 6,000 acres of property that make up Poplar Grove.

The covered dock on Rantowles Creek was a popular painting site.
Taking advantage of great views from every direction were painters Barrie Hinson, Ben Nita McAdam, Ann Merrill, Sally Reynolds, and Rick Reinert.

Sparky Howard, Property Manager of Poplar Grove takes notes while keeping things running smoothly as Sara Jane Reynolds and Ann Merrill enjoy the views of the creek.

Linda Hickman chose to paint an open marsh view including a creek side oak tree used as a "rookery" by herons in the evening.

in the shade of a group of trees. The afternoon light on a marsh vista and distant tree line made an interesting composition for her second painting of the afternoon.

Carol McGill was putting the finishing touches on her palette knife painting of Rantowles Creek at Bulow Boat Landing. Carol had created two plein air paintings of Poplar Grove that could be hung together as a set. She said a number of "Paint Out" artists had chosen to paint at the landing earlier in the day.

The Oil Painters of America SC "Great American Paint Out" plein air event continues tomorrow with a morning paint out session followed by a reception from 11-1pm to meet the artists and view the artwork in the Poplar Grove Boat House.