Kathy Rennell Forbes, OLLI instructor and professional artist, won first place in a Paint Quick Competition held at the 2016 Olmsted Plein Air Invitational on May 1. We caught up with Forbes to learn more about her experience.
How did it feel to participate and win?
“It was exciting to be painting alongside many very talented artists and completing my watercolor within 2 hours,” Forbes said. “The nervous part was waiting for the judging by Peter Trippi, the editor-in-chief of Fine Art Connoisseur magazine, and Bill Eiland, the director of the Georgia Museum of Art. I was both humbled and thrilled that my painting won 1st place and was immediately purchased by an art collector.”
What is “plein air”?
“Plein Air” is a French expression, which means “in the open air” and is predominantly used to describe the act of painting outdoors. The Olmsted Plein Air Invitational brought together some of the top plein air artists in the nation to Atlanta. The event helped raise awareness of the beauty of Frederick Law Olmsted’s landscape design and benefitted the ongoing work of the Olmsted Linear Park Alliance.
Why did you decide to participate in the Paint Quick Competition?
“I have painted in several Plein Air competitions throughout Georgia and also enjoy Plein Air painting locally and internationally,” Forbes said. “It is one of my favorite things to do when I am not inside, teaching in the classroom or creating art in my Atlanta studio. I’ll be Plein Air painting in Barcelona, Spain this June and Venice, Italy, in October.”
What other awards has Kathy won?
She was also chosen earlier this month to have one of her watercolor paintings, “Woman in Blue,” on display at the Georgia State Capitol in the Office of the Governor through October as part of the “Art of Georgia II: Portraits of a Community” exhibit. It was the second time her artwork has been selected for this honor.
Where can Kathy’s artwork be found?
Her artwork can be found in private and corporate collections around the world, including the French Olympic Committee in Paris. She is a Signature Member and past President of the Georgia Watercolor Society and has won awards in local, regional and national shows. At KSU’s College of Continuing and Professional Education, Forbes teaches art courses through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
What would you tell those interested in taking the art courses offered through OLLI?
“OLLI has several great drawing instructors. Start with a beginning class in your favorite medium and as you grow in experience try a more advanced class,” Forbes said. “I will be offering a Beginning Watercolor class starting in August on Monday evenings. If you know how to draw and have some painting experience, explore the many painting classes that I and other OLLI instructors teach. Promise that you will learn something and have fun in the process.”
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