Abilene artists take their easels to the streets


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) – A lot of people paint from a picture, but a group of Abilene artists are finding their muse in the outdoors. This style of art is called Plein Air, french for in the open air.

Leaving the walls of the studio and taking the easel to the streets, these Abilene painters are immersing themselves in their art.

“It really helps you be a better artist because you’re not painting from a painting but you’re painting from what you see,” Abilene Area Plein Air Artists group founder Dee Utasi said.

Utasi started the group about five years ago.

“About ten of us were painting kind of on a regular basis. We’re down to about just three or four of us now,” Utasi said.

While the numbers have dwindled over the years, they still have those like Doris Kinney who started from day one.

“I’ve been doing it ever since,” Kinney said.

There’s also Dennis Reinke, who just recently painted his way into the picture.

“I’m a believer that beauty is everywhere,” Reinke said.

While this craft focuses on the outdoors, these artists are trading landscapes for landmarks.

“I mean you name the building we’ve done the Paramount, we’ve done the Depot here it’s just things that we think that people like and they recognize as being part of Abilene,” Utasi said.

They’re finding each building has its own history.

“I just like things that mean things to other people and to share it with them. You know when they see that painting they go ‘oh my goodness’ and they’ll tell you a story about it, the people who have been here a long long time,” Utasi said.

These stories come together like brush strokes on a canvas.

“Abilene is just a city that gets in your heart and in your psyche,” Utasi said.

The end result is a masterpiece bringing back different memories to each person who sees it.

The painters meet every Tuesday from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. They have those two hours to complete their painting.

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