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Open-air painting event draws artists to Stokes County

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Andre Lucero of Goochland County, Va., prepared his palette Wednesday before starting a painting at Hanging Rock State Park. A group of plein air painters went to Hanging Rock as part of the six-day Painting North Carolina Plein Air Show. (Credit: LAUREN CARROLL/JOURNAL)

GERMANTON, N.C. — This time of year, Eddy McGee inevitably receives a flood of calls from people in Stokes County.

“Eddy,” they say, “there’s some artists out here painting in my field. Is that OK?”

McGee, the director of the Stokes County Arts Council, reassures them that all is well. The arrival of the artists signals the start of Painting North Carolina Plein Air Show, a six-day event that draws plein air artists from around the country, even some outside the United States.

To paint en plein air is to paint in the open air. It’s a style often associated with French impressionists Claude Monet and Pierre Auguste Renoir.

David and Judy Simpson, owners of the Germanton Gallery, started the plein air show about nine years ago as a way to promote plein air painting, bring together artists from around the country and expose Stokes County residents to art.

About 40 artists, half of whom are from North Carolina, started painting around various spots in the state Monday. Some are in the far reaches of the mountains; others on the beaches.

This article was written by Lisa O’Donnell and originally published by The Winston-Salem Journal. Click here to read more.