Barry County is artists’ focal point this week
Keith Latham studies some white pine trees at Tyden Park to add to his painting Wednesday morning. Latham is one of several plein air, or outdoor, artists visiting Barry County this week.
Kathy Maurer Copy Editor
Art is in the air as outdoor artists converge on Barry County this week as part of a plein air artist retreat at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute.
Keith Latham of Brighton took advantage of overcast skies Wednesday morning when he set up his easel and paints at Tyden Park in Hastings. He had filled the canvas with a meadow and forest scene the previous day and was using the white pines on the south side of the park as models to add to his work.
Latham, a North Carolina native, majored in art at Western Carolina University but spent little time behind an easel for the next few decades. He took up painting about 10 years ago, inspired by Bob Ross and Heiner Hertling.
He’s been a member of the Michigan Plein Air Artists, based in Milford, for the past three years and now makes it a point to paint every Saturday.
He said he really enjoys the natural beauty and rural backdrop of Barry County.
“Getting lost is fun here,” he said in the crisp 45-degree air.
“I’ve met so many nice farmers and people who live in the country,” he added.
Whether he sets up in a field, along a roadway, in a park or elsewhere, Latham said people often stop and ask what he’s doing. He’s met a lot of people that way.
Such distractions may add to the time it takes him to finish a painting.
“I’m the most indecisive painter in the world,” he said. “I’m the slowest one in the group.”
Five artists from the Milford group are here this week, Latham said. The Plein Air Artists of West Michigan, who have had painting events in Barry County in the past, also are taking part in the retreat.