Events May 4-13, from Carrabelle to Mexico Beach
Kathleen Hudson and Morgan Samuel Price will arrive at this year’s Forgotten Coast en Plein Air from distinctly disparate points of view.
For Price, who lives in Central Florida, the Forgotten Coast event and painting in plein air, French for outdoors, is familiar ground.
She has been painting, and teaching, for 27 years and this will be her 10th consecutive appearance at Forgotten Coast en Plein Air, which this year offers events from Carrabelle to Mexico Beach May 4-13.
“I’ve done it all my life, almost,” Price said, while ensuring the reporter is using the correct pronounciation for plein air (it is not “plane” but “plen” air).
“I’ve plein air painted since the 1960s.”
Price can recall that plein air painting, which, of course, was practiced by the classic Impressionists, didn’t really gain traction as an attraction in this country until the 1980s in Catalina, California.
“Since then it has grown and grown,” Price said.
Plein air painting has been her income, helped her raise her children and “kept my head above water” while her paintings have been, literally, around the world.
“All the people I have met, the back stories I have heard,” Price added.
In comparison, Hudson is a veritable rookie.
Until about four years ago, the Kentucky resident could be characterized as a painting hobbyist, her love of landscapes finding an outlet on canvas.
“I really just painted for myself for years,” Hudson said.
After returning to live in Kentucky after college and several years in Boston, Hudson, a subscriber to an art magazine devoted to plein air painting, noticed ads for festivals not far from her, in Missouri and Indiana.
She traveled, she painted, she was hooked.
“I loved it right away,” Hudson said. “I didn’t know there was this whole world of artists interested in what I was interested in.”
By 2017, Hudson won the grand prize at a prestigious plein air salon, work which was featured on the cover of PleinAirMagazine and during the same month was noted as an “Artist to Watch” by Southwest Art magazine.
Now, there is also plenty of commonality to Price and Hudson.
Both had notable achievement in post-secondary education and beyond.
Price attended the prestigious Ringling School of Art in Florida and became an illustrator for Hallmark.
Hudson, after graduating from Harvard, was selected to Boston’s Copley Society of Art, the oldest non-profit art organization in America.
Both can also quickly identify what attracts them about painting en plein air, identifications that dovetailed.
“It’s fun, great people and it’s never boring,” Price said. “To stand outside on a beautiful day and paint a beautiful scene, what is better than that?”
Hudson said, “I like painting outside for a number of reasons. You can see the colors a camera can’t capture. It focuses me, helps me with clarity for my paintings.”
Further, the attraction of plein air painting, which has almost this traveling troubadour vibe, serves as elixir.
“You have more of a sense of camaraderie than competition,” Hudson said. “You know people are working really hard, so there is a lot of inspiration.”
Price said, “The cool people you meet is part of it. You meet wonderful people who are there because they love art.”
And, as a final connection, Hudson and Price will each offer featured shows during Forgotten Coast en Plein Air.
Price will show a residency exhibit honoring the marine, and the boats, shrimpers and others, that ply their trade on the water.
“Painting boats brings so many things together,” Price said. “Paintings take on a life of their own.”
Hudson will provide a presentation Sunday on landscapes and how they can elevate a painting, and vice versa.
“The water, the colors, the atmospherics, there is just so much to see and understand (in a landscape),” Hudson said.
And as Forgotten Coast en Plein Air moves into its teen years with this year’s edition, what draws the artists, this year some two dozen, Hudson and Price join in a celebration and festival that has become a staple of the calendar.
“There is plenty to paint there,” Price said of the Forgotten Coast. “It is beautiful.”