Friday, September 4, 2015

The Art of the Small Town

"Santa Fe 2546" (oil on canvas, 14"x18").
My painting from last year's event that now hangs in the Marceline City Hall.

This past weekend, Marceline hosted an Oil Painters of America paint out and I was fortunate enough to attend for the second year in a row. I had a great time last year (painted my first train, which now hangs in the Marceline City Hall), and I was looking forward to returning.

Marceline is a small town in north, central Missouri. Originally a railway stop between Chicago and Kansas City, it is now known best as the boyhood home of Walt Disney. It actually inspired the design of Main Street U.S.A. in the Disney theme parks, but the town is the real thing when it comes to Americana. The restored Santa Fe Railroad depot serves as the Walt Disney Museum.

Arriving at 8 a.m., the streets were quiet, except for my fellow artists. We all met at the North Missouri Arts Council gallery for check-in with Darrell and Darlene Gardner. Besides being an excellent painter, Darrell is responsible for organizing the event, and he seems to be the driving force behind the growth of art and culture in the community. The Gardners are also great hosts.

The forecast was for overcast skies all day, and I needed to find a location with some nice contrast to offset the flat lighting. I noticed Ma Vic's Corner Cafe buzzing with activity, and decided to set up across the street. I liked the abstract patterns in the cafe window made by everything happening inside and the reflections from the street.

Painting Ma Vic's Corner Cafe. Photo courtesy of Darrell Gardner.
Painting in progress.

As I painted, I had a steady stream of visitors coming and going from the cafe. Everyone was friendly, and I gave a number of impromptu micro lessons on painting to kids.

"Ma Vic's" (Oil on canvas, 12"x16") by Patrick Saunders

That afternoon, activity had really picked up. The street was shut down in preparation for a wine stroll that evening. At this point, we could set up anywhere in the street and not worry about the traffic. I set to work painting another street scene.

Artists painting in the midst of the wine stroll.

As I painted, the wine stroll began, and the town came to life. It wasn't just the wine that brought everyone to the event. There was a genuine interest in the art and its place in capturing the charm of Marceline. Small towns can be taken for granted. We often drive right through them and fail to notice the history that's still right in front of us. An event like this both documents and celebrates their beauty for everyone.

I was honored to win a purchase award from Yocom Jewelry.






2 comments:

  1. Patrick, your work reminds me of Jennifer McChristian's. Did you take from her... or did she take from you???

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    1. That's a really nice compliment. I have never met her, but I admire her work.

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