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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Brian Neher Presenter for next MAG Meeting 3/12

Brian Neher
Portrait Artist

MAG is very honored to have Brian Neher as the feature speaker at our next meeting Tuesday, March 12, at 7 PM in the downstairs area of the McDowell Arts Center.

Brian is a local artist known for his portrait works in oil. He not only captures likeness but he goes the extra mile to add some personality too. American Artists Magazine featured him in their fall 2010 issue.  He has shown at the Portrait Institute in Manhattan, NY, and appeared on national public television show Paint! Paint! Paint!. The National Portrait Competition gave him recognition as well as the West Coast Society of Portrait Painters. 

Who does he give credit for his wonderful talent? His grandmother, a commercial artist, taught and encouraged him to draw as young as 3 years old. His college instructor, Brian Jekel introduced him to the ways of the Old Masters of the late 19th century. Joe Bowler, a well-known portrait painter, was his main influence and teacher. And... "Above all, Brian thanks the Lord for the talent which He has given to him and for the opportunity to use those creative skills for His glory." You can read all about Brian at his blog as well as view examples of his works and testimonials from his clients.

At present, he is conducting a You Be the Judge Art Competition of 15 works. Look them over and pick your favorite!

Thank you, Brian, for visiting with us. This is certainly one meeting you do not want to miss. As usual, MAG meetings are free and open to the public.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Rainy Outdoors but Life is Still Indoors at MAC

The Plein Air Buds did still life painting indoors
at the MAC today since it was raining.

We had 7 attend with oils, acrylics, charcoal and 
colored pencils.

This was the cool choice...

but some like it hot!

We will definitely do this again! For next Tuesday, we plan on being in Rock Hill for the afternoon. If the weather is predicted to be nasty, we will watch a Frank Serrano En Plein Air video at the MAC. Stay posted! If you would like to be added to the Plein Air Buds email list send your request to

Still Life Painting Today at MAC

Still Life Painting at MAC Today

Since it is raining today, Tuesday, 2/26/13, the Plein Air Buds will be indoors painting still life set ups at the MAC downstairs. We'll start at 10 AM. Anyone is welcome to join us. Bring art supplies, paper towels for clean up and items you'd like to add to a still life scene.

Monday, February 25, 2013

"In Celebration of Women" Exhibit for March

The McDowell Arts Center 
next to the Matthews Community Center 
at 100 McDowell St. in Matthews, NC

Take in for MAG's "In Celebration of Women" Exhibit at the MAC is scheduled for this Saturday, 3/2/13, from 10 AM to Noon. MAG members can bring in up to 2 works. In addition, we will have as our guests, local quilters! Quilts are an art form with a practical purpose... especially on chilly nights.

Be sure to visit the McDowell Arts Center this weekend from 1-8 PM to view the new art display. Some of the works are for sale. If you are interested in purchasing any work, contact the artist with the phone number on the label.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

One Week Left for Bill Locke Metalworks Exhibit

Out on a Log
Metalwork Sculpture by Bill Locke

Come to the McDowell Arts Center any day from 1-8 PM and view the metalworks of guest artist, Bill Locke, a local artist who lives right here in Matthews. 

He said his wife went to the MAC when it was a high school. He developed his skill with metals when he worked as a welder. He never knew until later in life that his work would become his art passion. MAC is honored to share that passion with the public. 

You have until Friday, 2/1/13 to catch the exhibit. Saturday, 2/2/13, the artwork will be changed for the "In Celebration of Women" theme for March. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

You Are Missing Out!

Gene and Russ examining painting (retouched to hide)
at 2/19/13 Critique Night

If you are a serious painter wanting to improve your art, you should be at Critique Night every third Tuesday of every month. Why? Because you not only get an evaluation by two conscientious professionals, Russell Smith and Gene Lazo, but also their encouragement. You have nothing to fear especially if you want to improve your paintings and photographs.

What did we learn last night? A simple turn of a cat's head can change a painting's impact. The strongest colors can be in background, especially if the subject is backlit. Glaze the background to make your foreground subject boom! Be aware of the placement of your focal area and empty spaces. That certain smile can do so much for a portrait... just ask Mona. Don't let competition losses affect the way you feel about your art... judges judge according to what they like. 

The evening was enjoyed by all who attended. Don't miss the next one on March 19th at 6:30 PM. Latecomers are welcome... we know it's hard to get there on time.

Life Drawing Every Wednesday!

"Tom" by Jack

It's Wednesday! You know the routine by now, don't you? Bring your supplies and easel to the Matthews Community Center in downtown Matthews, NC at 100 McDowell Street for life drawing at 7 PM. The cost runs from $4-10 depending on how many attend to split the model fee. Thanks to Nancy Kennedy for scheduling the models. The schedule is always on the lower right side of this blog. All artists 18+ are welcome to attend.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Take Down at Presbyterian Hospital Matthews Saturday 2/16

If you have artwork at the MAG Art Sale at Presbyterian Hospital Matthews, please arrive at the hospital lobby as close to 10 AM as you can and definitely no later than Noon this Saturday 2/16 to pick up your artwork. 

Thank you to all who participated. The artwork was enjoyed by many at the hospital. MAG also thanks Presbyterian Hospital Matthews for allowing us to show there. They've opened their main lobby to us annually for several years allowing a broader audience for MAG artists. 

Meet at the Presbyterian Hospital Matthews Main Lobby
Saturday 2/16 from 10 AM to Noon
to pick up your artwork from
MAG Art Sale

Sitters Needed at McDowell Arts Center

Lindy and Jana Midkiff gallery sitting at the McDowell Arts Center

Would you love to paint at a quiet location without bothersome computers, televisions, telephones, family members or other distractions you have at home? MAG members are needed to gallery sit while showing off your artistic skills. Bring along works you're working on and ones you've completed to show off to visitors. Email Debbie at and let her know what day and time you're coming. The hours on any day are from 1-8 PM.

Also, bring family and friends over to the MAC! Help make it known in the Matthews area. It not only benefits MAG but the whole community. Everyone needs art in their life!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It's Wednesday... Life Drawing at the Matthews Community Center

"Tom" by Jack

Here are the facts of Life... Life Drawing that is:

Date: Every Wednesday
Place: Matthews Community Center in downtown Matthews, NC at 100 McDowell St.
Time: 7 PM... but show up early to set up, please.
Cost: $4-10 depending on how many show up to split model fee
Requirements: You have to be at least 18 years old. And thank those who make this possible... especially Nancy Kennedy.

Kevin E Brown Instructs on Safer Oil Paints

Kevin E Brown was our presenter at last night’s MAG meeting. His topic? Water-soluble oils. Why switch from conventional oil to water-soluble? Simple… water-soluble is less toxic because you clean and dilute without the use of solvents such as mineral spirits or Turpenoid. You just use water! And there is no build-up of harmful fumes.

Kevin gave a short lecture at the beginning of his presentation with some water-soluble oils facts:

  •  There is no water in the paints. The oils (safflower and linseed) have been modified to accept water.

  •  There are opaque (high in pigment for strong covering power) and transparent colors (won’t cover other colors but can shade them).

  •  Use stiff synthetic brushes.

  • Make sure the painting surface is prepared with gesso, the same required for regular oil paints.

  •  “Fat over lean” rule applies to water-soluble oils too.

  •  There are mediums for water-soluble oils to alter its texture.

Want to learn more? Go to the “open studio” for water-soluble or acrylics paints at Cheap Joe’s on Mondays from 5-7:30 PM. This is an informal session where you can paint among peers and where you never know when a helpful demo may pop up. The cost is $15/session and the address for Cheap Joe’s is 1848-D Galleria Blvd. in Charlotte, NC. This event is for adults, 18 years+, only.

Thank you, Kevin, for the demo on 2 canvases showing how to brush with the oils too! Great presentation!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

No lack of Fun Things to Paint at Southern Whimsy

The Plein Air Buds had no shortage of things to paint at Southern Whimsy! Old chairs, school desks, wagons full of gourds, bicycles with baskets of flowers, ironing boards, shoes, bottles... you get the idea. And all these things were outdoors! You can only imagine the whimsy inside! Thank you to owner Jill Ammons for having us over. Check out her store at 6711 Weddington Road in Wesley Chapel. Very unique! Stay tuned to where we will be next.

Connie, Kathy, Carol and Jen at their easels painting the store front

Eclectic items you can find outside the store

and children's toys

Connie's finished painting

Kevin Brown Tonight!

Kevin E Brown
Water-Soluble Oils Artist

Come to the McDowell Arts Center in downtown Matthews NC for a water-soluble oils demo by Kevin Brown. You may know him from the art store, Cheap Joe's. Kevin does landscapes in oils, acrylics and pastels. We at MAG are honored to have him join us!

Even though his demo is with water-soluble oils, his technique can be of benefit to any artist of any medium. 

Join us at the MAC tonight, 2/12 at 6:30 PM to meet and talk with Kevin. His demo will start shortly after announcements at 7 PM. Our meetings are free and open to the public. Be there!

Monday, February 11, 2013

MAG Critique 2/19 Tuesday at 6:30 PM

Need someone to tell you how to improve a painting or photograph? Gene Lazo and Russ Smith will be at it again for another critique session at the McDowell Arts Center. Meet them and other artists with your artwork. We had 15 artists at the very first meeting last month and let's see if we can get even more when we meet again on Tuesday night 2/19 at 6:30 in the gallery area of the McDowell Arts Center.

The atmosphere is friendly and casual. This event, every 3rd Tuesday of each month, is open to all artists and there is no charge or membership requirement. Just come! 

Moderators Russ and Gene at last critique

MAG Artists Needed at MAC Gallery

The MAC Gallery

MAG artists are being asked to come to the MAC gallery area and demonstrate their skills inside the gallery during Matthews Community Center operating hours 10 AM to 8 PM when the gallery is free. Bring along your supplies and covering for the table and floor... and feel free to give out your business cards too If you'd like to volunteer to help out the gallery, email 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Plein Air Buds Will Be at Southern Whimsy

Southern Whimsy at 6711 Weddington Road in Wesley Chapel

If you are looking for inspiration mixed with humorous whimsy, this is the place for you. You do not drive by this place without turning your head to look at it. Pleasantly distracting. The owner, Jill, has given the Plein Air Buds permission to paint at her place and after you meet her, you will know why Southern Whimsy, a recycled-things store, is filled with charm.

So far, weather forecast is good. Meet at the parking lot, Tuesday, 2/12 at 1 PM. If desired, there are places for snacks and coffee up the road. All artists welcome and no charge to paint but you may want to bring some cash in case you want to buy something. Totally unique store!

If the weather looks bad, check by here to see if there is a cancelation by around 10 AM.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wednesday Night Life Drawing

Every Wednesday night, MAG hosts a life drawing session at 7 PM at the Matthews Community Center. All artists, 18 and older, are welcome. The cost runs from $4-$10 depending on how many come to split the cost of the model. Bring your own supplies and arrive a little early to set up and be ready to start at 7 sharp! As always, thanks to Nancy Kennedy for maintaining this art option at a reasonable cost.

"Tom" by Jack

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Beautiful Day at McAlpine Creek Greenway

There were 3 of us at the Lower McAlpine Creek Greenway today and the weather was perfect! Beth Ann, a newcomer to Plein Air Buds, along with Jen and Debbie painted the creek and bridge along the trail. We've been fortunate 2 weeks in a row with unusually warm temperatures... love it! Stay tuned for our next location...

Jen painting Johnston Road bridge

Beth Ann in the middle of the creek

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Plein Air Buds at McAlpine Creek Greenway

Paint here in the middle of it all!

Tuesday 2/5 at 1 PM, the Plein Air Buds will meet at McAlpine Creek Greenway at the greenway parking lot at 11817 Johnston Road in Charlotte. Walk down the trail and turn right going under the street bridge and that's where you will find the artists at easels or sketch pads. We are a casual group that paint and go as we please. Sometimes we go someplace afterwards for a snack and to chat... join us! There are no membership requirements or fees... open to all artists.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

For The Love of Art Exhibit at MAC

Fall in love... with art! Visit the For the Love of Art exhibit at the McDowell Arts Center throughout the month of February. Not only are there paintings and photographs by MAG members but there are metalsmith artist, Bill Locke's steel sculptures also. 

Take your loved one on a date to the McDowell Arts Center and look over all the artwork. Cost nothing! And if you see something you like... well, nothing says, "I love you" better than fine art. Call the artist and make arrangements for the sale. That simple.

Here's a glimpse of what's going on at the MAC:

Friday, February 1, 2013

Guest Artist, Bill Locke, Featured at MAC

MAG is very proud to have Bill Locke as our guest artist for this month's exhibit: For the Love of Art. Bill creates sculptures in metals like steel, brass and copper. He says steel is the most malleable and predominant component of his works. Brass and copper are used to add accents. His subjects are usually representational. In the exhibit he has a tall peacock standing on the floor and other birds, turtles, an octopus and florals... such as "Steel Magnolias".

Come to the McDowell Arts Center in February and see his handiwork. All his works are for sale and he also does commission work. 

In addition, MAG artists will have artwork on the walls. Most of these works are for sale also. Come on by and take it all in. Doesn't cost a thing to look!


"The Guardian"

Sea Turtles and Florals