An Invitational Plein Air Paint-Out

May 20, 2017
10AM to 2PM
Colony Square Midtown
1175 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30361
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Celebrating Steffen Thomas: A Legacy in Atlanta, join us for several events commemorating Steffen + his artwork around Atlanta + Colony Square. 

The first event is a Plein Air Paint-Out by the Trilon Sculpture at Colony Square, at the corner of 15th and Peachtree Streets on Saturday, May 20th from 10a-2p. 

Parking Information: For the Invitational Plein Air Paint-Out and Walking Public Art Tour, it is recommended to take MARTA to either the Arts Center or Midtown stations and walk to Colony Square. Parking is available in the Colony Square parking garage. 

For more event and parking information, visit +

Trilon Sculpture Colony Square Midtown AtlantaTrilon at Colony Square in Midtown Atlanta



Margaret Agner 

Athens artist Margaret Agner received her BFA in painting at LSU in 1974 and learned fabric dyeing and surface design through books, seminars, and workshops.  She now teaches silk painting workshops and produces silk wall hangings, wearables, including dozens of hand painted scarves, and fine art from the studio in her home. The artist grew up on a farm in Ohio, attended Antioch College and RIT before graduating from LSU in Baton Rouge. 
She is a member of The Studio Group in Athens, GA, Oconee County Arts Foundation (local), Piedmont Craftsmen, Inc. ( in Winston-Salem, NC, the national Surface Design Association  ( She has won numerous awards across the Southeast at art fairs, festivals and exhibits.  Her work is in many public and private collections.  
The artist has worked as a product designer for the florist/balloon industry and in the art department of a furniture manufacturer but is currently self-employed in art/crafts production. She has had one-woman exhibits of large nature subject hangings at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Georgia Center for Continuing Education, and Just Pho restaurant. She was featured artist at Piedmont Craftsmen, Inc., Winston/Salem, and is featured at Aurum Studios in Athens, Ga in early 2012 with paintings, pastels, and large silk paintings. She designs and makes liturgical paraments and vestments for churches, paints cotton for quilters, and designs, paints, and sews art garments and scarves. Her scarves and jackets were modeled in a fashion show at the newest local hotel, the Indigo, in 2011 through an Athens Area Arts Council event. She has taught Color on Fabric for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UGA and will teach batik for them in April 2012. In addition to fabric arts, she paints in oil, acrylic, and pastel when she can, often with Plein Air groups. She taught painting in 2011 for Lyndon House Art Center. She has won many awards in regional art competitions. 

Jonas Allen 

Jonas Allen was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on January 12, 1955. After his secondary education at the Lycee Toussaint, in 1973, he visited the Haitian Artist Co- op.Thereupon, impressed by some talented artists, because he was drawing as far back as he can remember in his childhood, decided to take his passion very seriously. That is, to turn his dream of becoming an artist to a reality under the guidance of the masters of the Co-op. Soon after he and Patrick Wah, hungry to learn the essence of the craft as well and as quickly as possible, developed a habit of visiting the masters' studios of the Academy of the Beaux Arts and the primitive masters who taught them a great deal of their technics. Later on Jonas Allen met Bernard Wah and one of the leading Haitian Art critic Michel Philippe Lerebour who noticed his talent, both guided and gave him constructive criticism. In 1981 he migrated to the United States, there he took some classes and reads extensively to complete his higher education. Today, Jonas Allen works hang in many private collections and galleries throughout the globe. Like many of his contemporaries, Jonas Allen travels extensively exhibiting his Art works all over the World. He lives in Georgia with his family and paints at his studio in Atlanta. 

I glance over the universe, I ponder over the history and the cultures of humanity.  I feel the joy and the suffering of our world.  I blend them all along with what they had made of me; then on my canvas, spontaneously, I pour it all.  With the help of my genius, a work of art emerges.  “Another world – my world!”… Thank God! 

Ed Cahill 

I was raised in the Midwest and introduced to painting and drawing at a young age from my mother who was a professional illustrator. We lived in Akron, Ohio, and I took classes at Akron’s Art Institute as a child. I attended Firestone HS—the area’s most art-specified school and receiving instruction in drawing and painting. After being accepted to Carnegie-Mellon University I majored in both painting and drawing, graduating with a BFA in 1977. 

For twenty years I have been a professional graphic designer and owned and managed my own advertising agency. Throughout my career, I have always painted and been active with local art associations. While living in Yardley, Pennsylvania for ten years I was represented by the Golden Door Gallery in New Hopel. Since 1996 I’ve lived in Marietta, Georgia, and have participated in the Metro Montage shows at the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, winning a second place prize for my painting Hilton Head Shrimper in 2009. My recent participation in Plein Air events has been rewarded with nine awards including three first place finishes in last two years. 

I’ve painted and created all my life. It’s a lifestyle for me. I appreciate creativity and skill in all its forms. Since college my concentration has been on representational art—mostly landscapes started outside and finished in the studio. Although I have always worked outside it was not until about four years ago that I took some classes that ignited a passion for plein air painting that dominates my work today. My interests in local history and architecture are reflected in my work. The ability to express light and mood of an instant and capture a view of almost anything is my goal.  

With plein air there is a reverence for nature and rural beauty but also of modern life. The best examples celebrate the often overlooked around us. It’s as they say—a way of seeing. 

Joe Coggins 

I am a native Atlantan living near Madison, Georgia in beautiful lake country. The natural beauty of the land and water in this area inspire me every day. My love of art began for me as a small child. I always knew I wanted to become a painter. While my friends were playing sports, I was drawing and sketching. I was fascinated with all aspects of art. I began a formal study of art in my early 20's at the Atlanta Art Institute and studied privately with Quida Canady and Constantin Chatov. 

I painted professionally and taught art in Atlanta for over 20 years. I traveled and painted throughout the Southeast and Mexico. After many years' absence from painting, I moved to North Florida and started painting again. I loved painting the landscape, marshes, and wetlands of the North Florida and Georgia coast along with the Spanish architecture of St. Augustine. My work was displayed in galleries and art shows in Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville Beach, and St. Augustine. I also taught art in this area. 

I paint in oils and watercolor, and I am also a photographer. My love of painting motivates me to spend some time each day in my studio. 

Woody Cyrus 

A participant in the 2016 Olmsted Plein Air Invitational,  Woody Cyrus’ recent recognition includes Bath County Plein Air 2015; Olmsted Plein Air Invitational 2015 Cezanne Award; Virginia Plein Air Painters, 2015; and Plein Air –Easton 2012 and 2013. Mr. Cyrus has won several awards for his paintings and he teaches at the Art League in Alexandria, Virginia. 

Kathy Rennell Forbes 

Kathy Rennell Forbes is an accomplished International artist and instructor.  

She was an invited Master Artist at the 2017 Olmsted Plein Air Invitational competing with 30 artists from across the globe. She has taught plein air workshops in Cuba, Italy, Spain and the USA. Her artwork is in private and corporate collections around the world, including the French Olympic Committee in Paris, Universal Studios, Hotel Intercontinental, and others. 

The artist is a Signature Member and past President of the Georgia Watercolor Society and has won numerous awards, including 1st Place at the 2016 Olmsted Plein Air Invitational Paint Quick Competition for Atlanta artists. 

Forbes earned her BFA in Art and Art Education at the University of Georgia in Athens. Kathy currently creates, instructs and exhibits her impressionistic paintings at Studio Z in Atlanta’s historic Westside Arts District. She also teaches at Chastain Arts Center and Kennesaw State University OLLI program. For information on watercolor workshops in Tuscany, Italy (June 2016), Cocoa Beach, FL (January 2018) and Provence, France (June 2018), please visit her website,

Although I create many of my paintings in the studio, my favorite place to paint is outdoors. There I become one with nature, lost in the scenery and the painting process. This keeps my work fresh while providing new challenges, whether it is an inspiring location in a different country or dealing with the many elements of nature. On overseas trips, I oftentimes work in a small watercolor journal making notes in the margins and then create larger paintings back at my studio. 

Angus Galloway 

Angus Galloway received his Masters of Fine Art from Georgia State University where he specialized in drawing, painting, sound design, and installation. Recently his work was included in several shows including Sprawl: Drawing Outside the Lines at the High Museum, The Drawing Experiment at Chastain Arts Center, Triple Play at Marcia Wood Castleberry and Gathered at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia. His work has been featured in national and international exhibitions as well as a variety of publications including Direct Art, New York Art, Art Papers, Burnaway, and Trigger Magazines. He recently finished a two-year residency with The Creatives Project at the Goat Farm Art Center in Atlanta. For more information please visit

Peter Ho 

Born in Guangdong, China 1946.  

Interested in art from an early age both Peter and his brother He Jiezhong, were selected to study art at The Guangzhou High School for the Arts which was attached to The Guangzhou Fine Arts College. In 1983, Peter came to The United States of America to study art and live. He attended Queens College and The Art Students League of New York for five years. Peter also studied at The International Theological Seminary and ultimately received his Master's degree in Divinity. While there he interrupted those studies to do direct painting and experimental creations including a series of large-scale painting "The Enigma of Son of Man" and "Qinghai-Tibet Series".  Peter is recognized as one of only a few 21st-century modern masters. 

He published his first book, “Theoretical Studies of Light and Color for Direct Painting” in 2015 and is now printing his second book of Plein Air paintings. He has captured the historic areas and architecture in “The Painting of Marietta, Georgia”. 

Peter was an invitee to participate in Atlanta’s prestigious 3rd Annual OLMSTED Plein Air Invitational this past April.  

His artwork is in many fine art collections and has been exhibited in Germany, Luxembourg, Japan, and the United States. Currently, Peter is the art director of Evangel Art Center, a member of Atlanta Artists Center, and is represented by three galleries across the United States of America.  He is a member of The Atlanta Artists Center. 

Bev Jones 

Painting has been a passion and therapeutic activity for me for the past sixteen years. Initially, I painted watercolor Christmas cards for family and friends, and my interests quickly evolved. I began selling my greeting cards, and I opened my eyes to other mediums. Subsequently, I experimented on larger canvases with acrylic and ink. I am self-taught, and my inspiration stems from the experiences that jar me, as well as the still moments with my children. I am particularly inspired when alone, immersed in nature, as nature always heightens my senses and affects my mood. From a cascading waterfall to a quiet moment alone in the woods, these instances allow me to discover my true being. The perfection of life and the continuing momentum of change that is forever ongoing are symbolized in multiple paintings with the illustrations of loops, rings, circles, and spheres. 

Charmaine Minniefield 

Charmaine Minniefield draws from indigenous traditions as seen throughout Africa and the Diaspora.  Her work explores African and African-American ritual from a feminist perspective. Drawing from historical images, stories, and places, Minniefield seeks, reclaims and retells lost narratives.   From charcoal to acrylic on canvas, from digital mixed media and video project to site-specific installation and public art, her work ritually celebrates women while conversing between the past and the present, and between spirit space and the physical. 

Charmaine Minniefield has also served the southeast as a producer and arts administrator for nearly 20 years, holding positions with such arts organizations as the National Black Arts Festival, the High Museum of Art and the Fulton County Department of Art and Culture, Foxfire and Flux Project. As a producer and arts activist, she has created an impactful project with such organizations as The King Center, Points of Light and Alternate ROOTs, to name a few. She serves on the boards of T. Lang Dance and C4 Atlanta. Her work is featured in a number of public and private collections and as a muralist, her walls can be seen throughout the City of Atlanta. Her recent body of work features historical images from the archives of Spelman College where she currently serves as faculty in the Art and Art History Department. 

Eleanor Neal 

Eleanor Neal lives in Atlanta. In 2016 Eleanor received her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Eleanor also has a Masters in Art Education and BFA from Indiana University. Eleanor has been featured in Anamesa 2014, the journal of New York University’s Graduate School of Arts and Science.  The Center for Contemporary Printmaking, Norwalk, Connecticut has featured her monotypes in the International Footprint Biennial Exhibition curated by renowned New York artist, Donald Sultan.  MOCA GA, The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, has recently selected her work on paper to be included in the exhibition, Works on Paper: 1980-2013 Women from The Permanent Collection. Eleanor’s artwork has been featured at Hampton University Museum where she won the prestigious Elizabeth Catlett Printmaking Award in 2016 and 2012. Eleanor will attend Vermont Studio Center Residency Program in Johnson, Vermont in the summer of 2017.  Residencies have included Haystack School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine; Hambidge Creative Artists Center, and EPI, Experimental Printmaking Institute at Lafayette College in Easton, PA. Eleanor has a studio at The Goat Farm Artists Center in Atlanta 

Artist Statement 

I create artwork that speaks to the empowerment of women, cultural identity, and history. I am intrigued by stories from the women of West Africa, Guadeloupe and the Gullah Islands near the Georgia Sea Coast who fought to survive in a world of darkness, enslavement, and chaos. Their connection to water leads to a sense of empowerment. The flow of water represents birth, cleanliness, spirituality, power and movement, the journey to a new world for a new life.    

It is this connection to water that drew me to the unique qualities of the Spanish Moss plant.  Spanish Moss becomes the metaphor for survival by these women.   

Like Spanish Moss on the tree that holds water within to sustain life, these women survived in spite of their physical, psychological abuse and isolation. The tree can be dead, yet the Spanish Moss thrives amongst death.  

Materials are important to my process. Treated papers and beeswax are twisted, crushed, torn, cut, and used to symbolize memories and place. The wax monotypes, collages, abstract gestural drawings on canvas and paper resemble the complex, intricate, intertwining and interlacing, layering of nature with a connection to human presence. I use this to symbolize order and disorder that existed in the lives of these women who are survivors of trauma. 

Jose Pena 

Art has always been the spark that keeps me going. My art Studio is the sanctuary where I can be in touch with my inner soul. I appreciate the splendor of nature so my artwork is a mirror image of my reminiscences from it. 
In 1998, I made a sequence of realistic paintings; this group of artwork is a retort to the need of visually documenting the cultural contributions of the Latin community in NY. Here, I try to identify those features that enhance the metropolis’ splendor, making NY such a diverse and remarkable place. 

Currently, I’m working on a series of non-representational artworks, in which I’m experimenting with different color schemes and a variety of textures.  These art elements allow me to exteriorize my memories from the Caribbean island where I grew up. Memories such as:the blue totally richness of the ocean, the display of   the diverse green woodlands, the astounding effects of the   sunset, etc to achieve unusual effects, I experiment with different materials, a variety of tools and media, such as:  palette knife, cloth net, hardware, modeling paste and found objects.   In the process of creating, I attempt to be spontaneous and instinctive allowing my sense to erupt. 

In conclusion, my artwork if full of energetic and vibrant colors which is the key that opens the door to perpetuity.  It is my way of reaching the firmament and reaffirming my journey to the indefinite. Even though I try to follow art laws, I will always get fulfillment from breaking them and doing the unpredictable. 

Kendall Portis 

As an artist, my goal is to take all the influences of  my life and combine them in the creative process to develop my own unique visual language. This allows me to observe and respond to the world around me in a way that I hope will enrich the lives of the viewer and encourage them to embrace the joys of living. 

The central topic for me is very simple: Light. It illuminates the world around us so that we can see the awesome beauty of God’s creation. Regardless of the subject matter, I want to challenge the viewer to see the beauty in what they once thought was ordinary or mundane. 

Ted Roman 

Composition and color are the most important aspects of my paintings through which I share my love of the outdoors. My style might best be described as “modern realism” as I incorporate a blend of abstract expressions into a landscape of defined perspectives. I utilize different mediums to create my works including acrylics and oils for canvasses 8 in. x 10 in. to 5 ft. x 8 ft. and a variety of weatherproof materials for my outdoor works of art. 

By way of exclusive invitation events and commissioned work, my paintings are currently in private collections and corporate offices. 

Ted lives with his wife in Roswell, Georgia. 

Monika Ruiz 

“I strive to endow my paintings with visual existence, vibrancy, and life. I want my subjects- whether people, places, or leaves- to speak loudly with voices that are clear and free. I do not want to copy nature but recreate it! If my paintings move people with passion, happiness, even melancholy or sadness, I am on the right path.” Monika Ruiz 

MONIKA RUIZ is a Colombian artist who has resided both in England and the United States. She is a successful fine-artist with a concentration in painting. She has exhibited and sold her artwork around the world. For over twenty years Monika has been teaching children, teenagers and adults how to develop their creative art skills. Monika Ruiz is the founder and teacher of The Creative Child Art Time, an art program held at IPS in Atlanta and at private residences per appointment. In addition, Monika Ruiz founded and teaches SPANISH IS FUN!!!, an After School  program held at Springdale Park Elementary School (SPARK) in Atlanta and is the Spanish teacher at the International Preschool (IPS). She also teaches a Summer Camp language program. 

Kate Sherrill 

Kate has worked as a professional artist and designer for over 20 years. Her favorite medium to work in is oil, but she also enjoys photography, chalk pastel, pencil, and watercolor. During her career, she has created many commissioned portraits and murals. In 2011, Kate published a children’s book called Jack the Cat, written by Russell Horres. She spent two years creating the original oil illustrations for Jack the Cat. (Visit also available on In recent years, she has focused on botanical paintings as well as landscapes, portraits, and decorative art. Kate considers it a privileged to be able to paint and draw, and finds great joy in attempting to copy the handiwork of the Creator. 

She is proud to be a member of the aRa artists group (, which displays artwork around the Georgia and nationally.  

Leisha Starchia 

Corey Whitehead 

Visual Poet, Corey Whitehead, was born and raised in Joliet, Illinois. As a young boy, he often watched his father masterfully craft portraits fusing the brilliance of color with everyday life; from the simplicity of the flowers in park, to the buildings and common places that could be seen in the distance. He became fascinated with the beauty his father captured in the simple things. That fascination would later fuel his passion and desire to draw upon art as a means of reflecting true emotion and defining his creativity. He began with simple pencil drawings, and naturally evolved as an artist using various techniques, tools, and styles, including graphic design. 
As a graphic design artist of more than 10 years, Corey received notable recognition for his works and association with some of the most renowned magazines and talents throughout Atlanta, Georgia. His creations have appeared in such magazines as Good News, EnTouch, Atlanta Business Journal, and Jazel, where he served as Creative Director/Designer. Although fulfilling, there was more to come from the great artist. His company, Whitehead Elements, was birthed through his love of graphic design and his quest to use it as a tool through which to funnel his creative visions and conceptual strengths. 
In 2006, Corey endeavored to take his talents to the next level and embark upon a journey that would leave audiences captivated and moved in ways they have never been before. In a relatively short period of time, “Visual Poet “and artist Corey Whitehead, has established himself as a force within the industry. He brings life to hidden emotion and illustrates moments in time like no other. Through his live performances, he has an innate ability to connect to audiences in any setting. His shows combine the soulful passion of music with the sensuality influencing each brush stroke. "My goal is to make the viewer feel a song; to invoke the same emotion they feel when they listen to music they love". His creative use of color and motion against the canvas captures the emotion of his audience and impacts the culture of art in a very special way. 

Lisa Whittington 

Art requires bravery, dexterity, and grit.  Lisa Whittington also believes that art requires virtuosity and that the art should be in a visual conversation with the viewer. Art should be stimulating to the mind and have something to say. Painting is also a weapon that she learned to use to assault issues, document emotions, and record history.  Lisa feels a sense of responsibility in using her knowledge and skills to record the history of her people in a critical and provocative way as well as making a statement about womanhood.   

With understanding the power of art—Lisa Whittington has dedicated over twenty-five years teaching art to at-risk students in high poverty urban environments.  Dr. Whittington earned her doctorate in Art Education at the University of Georgia and conducted an engaging qualitative study that would enlighten the nation to the realities of teaching art in poor environments. She believes that every person, no matter what color or socio economic status, should have the privilege and opportunity to experience creative expression because of the benefits to the psyche and the soul. Therefore, providing quality art experiences to poor children is just as important to Lisa, as any artwork she could create. She usually shares her paintings with her students to add to their lessons. 

Lisa resides in Atlanta, but was raised in New York City where she was not allowed to go outside, and often sat in the window engaging the sights and sounds of the city. She resolved her younger self to make things from the items she would find in her home as a means of expression in an environment in which it was difficult to be heard. As an adult, it was not until she went to the museum and saw her favorite painting “Starry Night”, for the first time-- and was so influenced by Van Gogh’s style and personal story that she decided to become a painter and make a statement about her life with her own art. She is so influenced by Van Gogh and often references him somehow in her work. She has been described by others as an “unusual creative” and one who “always pushes the envelope.” The elements of her past definitely influence her artwork and her passion for the classroom.  

A bold artist, Lisa works in acrylic, oils, collage, assemblage, film and photography.  Lisa is currently working on a memoir that chronicles her struggles to become an artist and her creative journey. She was a featured speaker at TEDx Deer Park presenting the topic “What does Art Want With You?” and NBC news called upon her to give a statement about a controversy at the Whitney Museum over an Emmett Till painting. (  

Dr. Whittington is also an adjunct Humanities professor and enlightens students, and teaches students to “see” and to think through her courses Introduction to the Arts, Giants of the Arts, Feminist Arts, and Media Literacy. 

Dante Yarbrough 

Dante Yarbrough was born in East Cleveland, Ohio.  Dante earned a BFA degree from Clark Atlanta University and currently resides and works in Atlanta, Georgia.  

Since the beginning, Dante has been exhibiting paintings of the body, in different forms, as they manifest in his imagination.  His canvasses and wood panels range from figurative, to expressionist, to abstract.  From sensual, to the mundane, to the ethereal, Dante's figures float, flail, and hide within his painterly and gestural form.       

Dante's work at large is concerned with issues provoked by the fragility of mankind and the way in which both humanity's indiscretions and triumphs contribute to a larger social body.  The artist's mission is to: 

... create art that mimics true life experiences, by embracing what pleases me but also that which disturbs me.  Even those experiences that are not so positive, I aim to articulate in a beautiful way.   

For more information or questions, contact