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Plein air artists paint the town

By Oniska Blevins | The Selma Times-Journal

Plein Air artists are in Selma to paint the town this weekend during Selma’s 43rd annual Historic Pilgrimage.

The artists, with their paints, brushes and easels in hand, spread out around downtown Selma and painted historical homes and buildings Friday and will continue painting Saturday.

Plein air artist Jennifer Taylor paints a home on Mabry Street Friday afternoon. (Alaina Denean Deshazo)

Many of the artists have different reasons for coming, but happy childhood memories of visiting her grandparents is what brought Leslie Reid Brasher back to Selma this weekend.

Brasher said her grandparents, Harry and Elsie Reid, are remembered by the community, and it adds a personal touch to her love and appreciation of the city and its beauty.

“I’ve loved seeing the beautiful homes and the architecture and remembering things from my visit as a child,” she said. “One of the best things about it has been meeting people who remember my grandparents.”

Brasher’s grandparents were both educators, and her grandfather was also an artist.

Even though her grandfather passed away many years ago, Brasher said there are still people in town with his paintings hanging in their homes.

Painter and Alabama Plein Air Artist Anne Stickney said she has been in the group for 15 years, and that plein air artistry is becoming more popular.

While painting a home on Mabry Street Friday, Stickney compared painting to a round of golf.

“Golf is a really good metaphor because you go out there [and] you may have a good day, and you may have a really bad day,” she said.

Alisa Koch, painter and new member of the Alabama Plein Air Artists, said joining the group was a good decision.

“I’ve been doing a little on the side alone by myself, and this group seems to really have the network to organize events,” she said. “This is my first, outside of Montgomery, event and I’m really excited to be here in Selma with all of these beautiful buildings.”

Koch knew about Selma’s civil rights history but not much about the beauty of it until her visit a few months ago. She said the beauty of the top of the Dallas Academy building led her to paint a picture of it.

The artists’ finished products will be on sale at the Selma Art Guild for the Alabama Plein Air Artists “Wet Paint” sale from 4:30-6:30 p.m. today.