Plein Air Watercolor Painting at Reynolda: Then and Now

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Plein Air Watercolor Painting at Reynolda: Then and Now

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Watercolor has long been the painting medium of choice for both professional and amateur artists who wished to paint en plein air (out of doors). Even before the convenience of collapsible metal tubes to hold paint, watercolor paints were sold in either whole or half-squares of dry pigment. An artist embarking upon an outdoor painting expedition need take only a selection of basic colors, a pencil, some brushes, a palette for mixing, a container of water to dissolve the pigment, and paper.

South Facade of Reynolda House shows Reynolda House five years after its completion and provides an important visual record of the house designed by architect Charles Barton Keen for Katharine Smith Reynolds. Winston-Salem resident and Reynolds family friend Margaret Nowell Graham painted this pair of views of the estate. Although she was an amateur painter, both landscapes show her considerable skill with the technical aspects of watercolor. The composition is lightly sketched in pencil and built up with washes of watercolor in increasing intensity. In the image of the house, the flowering azalea bush and red geraniums in the window boxes of the second floor sleeping porch suggest it is late spring.

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IMAGE CREDIT:Margaret Nowell Graham (1868-1942), South Façade, Reynolda House, 1922. Watercolor on paper, Reynolda Estate, 1966.2.100.  


Paint your own watercolor on the Reynolda Estate this summer. Join the Museum’s Director of Education Kathleen Hutton, MFA as she leads Plein Air Watercolor Workshops for all skill levels.

 


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