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By Mary Beth Brath, Co-Coordinator, Artist Colony and Plein Air Paint Out

From a painter’s perspective, Gettysburg literally offers endless vistas.  Coupled with the history and beauty of the region, there is limitless inspiration as well.  It’s no wonder that artists participating in Gettysburg Festival events have become passionate about plein air (open air) painting.  As one of those artists, I’m grateful to be a part of the Festival’s planning for 2012 events, which has stirred up a multitude of fantastic memories for me personally.

In 2008, I remember painting at Spangler’s Spring during the first Festival Paint Out.  There was a re-enactment taking place in the distance but all was peaceful at the spring, located within the boundaries of the Gettysburg National Military Park.  As I painted, I could hear the distant sounds of the artillery fire.  It was a very emotional experience that completely “hooked me” regarding painting along the Battlefield Auto Tour and I have participated ever since. To see that life-changing painting, click here.

Artists from Maryland (south of the Mason-Dixon Line) and Pennsylvania (north of the Mason- Dixon Line) came together in 2009 to paint Gettysburg’s hallowed battlefield scenes.  Many strong friendships were forged and still exist today. The Plein Air Paint Out event, as part of the Gettysburg Festival lineup, had firm roots at this point.

2009 Plein Air Artists at Gettysburg Festival

In 2010 and 2011, the Artist Colony was held as a juried and residential experience at Gettysburg Festival.   Amazing Master Artists, Lisa Egeli (2010) and Bill Schmidt (2011) led workshops and helped me learn techniques I have now integrated into my daily painting.  Click here to see a YouTube video of the 2010 Artist Colony experience.  The Paint Out also continued, due to strong relationships among the artists and the popularity with the public.  We especially loved having interactions with the public, at our exhibit located at the Gettysburg Railroad Station, especially when they led to sales of our artwork (click here for a few photos!).  I was fully immersed and enriched by both experiences.

Master Artist Lisa Egeli paints on Lincoln Square, 2010 Artist Colony

Some of my fellow artists have also summarized what it’s like to paint in Gettysburg:

“The artists have inspired me, challenged me and nurtured me as an artist.  Last year (2010), this event was one of the best of my life.  It lived up to that lofty height again this year (2011).”

-Cindy Downs

“I was honored and privileged to have been one of the artists selected to participate in the inaugural Artist Colony at Gettysburg in 2010.  It was a wonderful experience that had a profound impact on my direction as an artist… I was so excited to have been selected again to participate in 2011; it was as though I won the lotto twice!… This year’s Colony experience was a very worthwhile experience which I will treasure.  I am very grateful to have been a part of this exceptional opportunity again for a second year and I wish for its continued success.”

-Ann Crostic

Click here to apply to Gettysburg Festival’s 2012 Artist Colony, Plein Air Paint Out or (new for 2012!) the Quick Draw.  I know artists who apply in 2012 will be embraced by the warm artist community that’s developed over the past four years.  Prepare yourself for an incredible experience!

By: Karen Hendricks, Festival PR/Marketing Director

Jonathan Frazier

Ask artist Jonathan Frazier what he enjoys most about painting plein air landscapes and he’s quick to point out, “I like landscapes—what I don’t like are boring landscapes that look relaxed and serene.  I go for energy, dynamic compositions from an elevated perspective looking down.”

Sounds like the perfect perspective, given Frazier’s past with the U.S. Air Force.  A full time artist since he left the Air Force in 1998, Frazier came out of the military “more galvanized than ever to pursue art as a career.”

Growing up in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, Frazier studied art throughout school and earned selection to the Harrisburg Arts Magnet School as a senior.  After attending MICA, Baltimore for two years, he transferred to Kutztown University to earn his BA in Fine Arts with a concentration in Studio Art.  Now this Wormleysburg resident enjoys painting throughout the Keystone state, but travels regularly to Cape Cod and Shenandoah National Park, Virginia where he enjoys discovering those favorite mountain-top painting locations.

Devils Den and Beyond by Jonathan Frazier

Gettysburg’s own mountaintop experience is part of his Plein Air Paint Out itinerary with this year’s Fringe Festival.  A visit to Little Round Top is one of the 20+ venues where plein air artists will be painting en masse during the entire 10-day Festival period.

“Painting in a group keeps the juices flowing.  It’s camaraderie… dialogue,” Frazier says of the group painting experience.

Keep an eye out for groups of Fringe Festival Plein Air Paintout artists, as well as the Festival’s Artist Colony, a juried collection of mid-Atlantic artists. The public is welcome to visit with the artists, watch them create artwork and ask questions.

Wills House by Jonathan Frazier

To see Frazier’s work in person, visit the Fringe Festival’s  Plein Air Paint Out Exhibition at the Historic Gettysburg Railroad Station run by the Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau, June 10-19. His work is also exhibited regularly at Gallery 30, Gettysburg.

For a special treat, stop by the Railroad Station on the final day of the Festival, June 19 from 1-4 to see works of art created during the previous days’ Paintout, browse through works for sale and enjoy a reception with the artists.  It might be hard to talk with Frazier however; turns out this multi-talented artist will be providing the music for the reception.   So whether he’s playing piano or guitar, or holding a paintbrush, it seems Jonathan Frazier always enjoys adding a dash of color to the landscape around him.

For more information, visit Frazier’s artist website.

Trail on the Battlefield by Jonathan Frazier

Dianne, painting during the 2010 Festival

By: Dianne Lorden, Fringe Festival Plein Air Artist

I know all the plein air artists have been preparing for the 2011 Gettysburg Fringe Festival “Paint Out.” For me, that’s meant working on a fest flier, obsession over my field schedule, framing art for the 10-day show at the Historic Gettysburg Railroad Station and packing (and re-packing!) my nifty new Monet plein air easel.

The excitement is building!

Cows in the Shade by Dianne Lorden

Last Christmas, as the easel sat beckoning from beneath the tree with a promise of warm, creative days ahead, I dreamed of green, rolling parklands in the changing light and a palette that could say lavender in a dozen ways. (Funny how we romanticize our favorite recollections! I know there must have been bugs, sweat, sunburn and a wind gusts that snatched my work right out from under me. But, as with all creative processes, the birth pains recede: I yearned to be that free-spirited, straw-hatted silhouette against a fresh June sky, my hand raised with a masterful grip on a creamy Sennelier half stick — in violet lake, perhaps? — before an easel that would not blow over.)

Light on the River by Dianne Lorden

Well, I’m just as anxious now as I was when Monet sat boxed up, teasing me from under the Christmas tree. I’m ready to make fabulous art and new memories to keep me dreaming through next winter (which, I have no doubt will be dim, dried-skinned and drafty, and yet I’m sort of recalling a cozy, spicy warmth).


For now, it’s June and festival time. There’s nothing like the smell of a new wooden easel, and I’m in a plein air state of mind!

For more information, visit Dianne Lorden’s artist website.


Old Yeller by Dianne Lorden

By Kirsten Sheahan, Festival Intern, Shippensburg University Class of 2010, Interdisiplinary Arts Major

I’d love to document the entire 10 days of the festival, but that would almost be enough information to write a novel!  Instead, I’ll share photo highlights and summarize:  it was such a great experience to meet so many talented people who shared the same love of art that I do and to be a part of an organization that wants to involve our small community in the arts.  Being an Interdisciplinary Arts major focusing on art – jewelry design – and photography, I let my inhibitions go and I set off to explore various events and to even help with the first Artist Colony at the Gettysburg Festival.  As always, I took way too many pictures but was able to broaden my portfolio and even have the opportunity to have my photographs considered for future publications.  It was a great way for me to step outside of my usual vision for photography – which is more abstract and color or object oriented – to practice shooting organized events.  

U.S. Marine Corps Band of Quantico, VA at the All-American Brass Picnic

Perspective on Painting: Master Artist Lisa Egeli at work

I would attempt to explain each picture but considering this is a “photo blog” I’d rather let them speak for themselves.  I enjoy shooting to capture patterns, colors, and angles among other unconventional rules.  As you can see by viewing a few of my pictures, some contain a very similar angle for added depth and mystery.  I try to see the beauty in everything which forces me to view things from more than one angle, allowing me to see the un-appealing as engaging.  Ambrose Bierce once said that a photograph was a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.  Considering that I’ve only taken one photography class in my life – last semester! – I feel that I am blessed to view things with a basically untrained eye.  It was very hard for me to break away from taking pictures that consisted of random objects or cloud arrangements to focus on capturing people, but it was definitely a helpful learning experience.  Hopefully with better equipment and more opportunities such as this internship I will be able to take my studies and practices much further. I’d like to thank the Gettysburg Festival for allowing me the opportunity to grow, to test my abilities, and to test new doors and opportunities for my future.  

I hope everyone enjoys this collection of photos–feel free to post comments and offer your feedback.

Artist Mary Beth Brath, Artist Colony "paint out," Gettysburg Battlefield

Artist Peter Krsko's colorful "Pods" awaiting installation

Pennsylvania Craft Beer, All-American Brass Picnic

Artist Patricia Keough: Painting with Wine

Ivan Schwartz Exhibit