Artists add flair to Spring Homes and Gardens tour

Published 8:45 pm Wednesday, April 11, 2018


Saturday, doors and gates to 12 homes and gardens will be thrown open to visitors during the Washington Area Historic Foundation’s biennial spring tour.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., this self-guided tour allows ticketholders a behind-closed-doors view inside some of Washington’s most historically significant homes. Outside, another view will be taking shape, courtesy of plein air artists.

To paint “en plein air” means to leave the studio behind and get outdoors to experience the landscape being committed to canvas or paper. Saturday, 10 local artists will arrive at assigned houses on the homes and gardens tour, setting up easels to spend the day painting outdoors. For some, like Art Tyndall, plein air painting is a preferred method — when he began painting, that’s exactly how he started.

“I just like being out. The air’s fresher. As long as the bugs and mess aren’t bad, it’s just good painting to me,” Tyndall said. “The colors are different. A photograph, to me, ain’t worth 10 cent, as far as trying to paint. Color photography just don’t get it. I can go out, look straight at the color and figure out what it is and exaggerate it or downplay it. It makes a big difference.

Anytime you look up at the sky, there’s three or four different colors there, but if you look at a photograph, it’s just one color. You just don’t see it.”

Tyndall plans to set up across the street from the East Main Street home of Dr. Richard and Judy Young. The subject of the painting, he said, will be the house.

Art on Market owner Kay Woolard will be the artist in residence at Bowers Hall on Saturday. Woolard is a studio painter, but she views the homes and gardens tour excursion as an opportunity to help out and to talk to visitors about her work. Woolard said she’ll decide the subject matter of her painting once she gets to the North Market Street home.

“I’ll be, maybe, on the porch or either on the grounds and just finding something that strikes my attention to paint on during the day,” Woolard said. “My goal is to enjoy painting outside, and, hopefully, if I don’t get the piece finished, I’ll finish it in the studio.”

Along with Tyndall and Woolard, fellow artists Nancy Scoble, Alice Stallings, Gale Champion, Colleen Knight, Debbie McCullough, Norlina Kelly, Washington High School art teacher Damon Walcott and WHS art student Gunner Hardt will be creating their own works at other homes along the tour.

Plein air painting does present its own challenge, as visitors will be able to see works in progress — progress that might not quite be what an observer is expecting.

“Anytime you’re painting in process, paintings go through strange-looking stages,” Woolard said. “Hopefully, the finished product will have a nice outcome.”

“Sometimes you do this kind of stuff and the painting turns out real well, and sometimes it don’t. You just kind of have to go with it. If it don’t turn out too well, that’s always the time you have two or three people standing behind you watching you,” Tyndall laughed. “But it’s fun to do.”

The Washington Area Historic Foundation’s Spring Homes and Gardens Tour is a self-guided tour. Tickets can be purchased for $20 in advance and $25 on Saturday at the following locations: Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce, the Coffee Caboose and Little Shoppes on West Main Street.