Through July 30, more than 100 pieces painted by the Plein Air Painters of Kentucky depicting the development of a ring of new city parks in Louisville are on display at Jane Morgan Gallery.
In previous years, the group painted the necklace of Olmsted parks that grace Louisville. When a new entity planned and implemented a string of parks that encircle the entirety of Jefferson County, the county in which Louisville sits, the plein air group turned its attention to them. Called the Parklands of Floyds Fork, the string of parks ranges from the conventional, with playgrounds and picnic spots, to the rawer spots in the newer parks such as Turkey Run.

“Gateway Barn,” by Saran Harralson

“One of their brochures calls it a paradise, and we can vouch for that,” says Jane Morgan, the leader of the group and the owner of Jane Morgan Gallery. “It’s just gorgeous.”

“Sundrenched,” by Beverly Morfeld

The new park system was an instant success, which demonstrates both the need for them, and the very positive feeling Louisvillians have for the older city parks. “Everybody in the city loves the parks,” agrees Morgan. “Our paintings bring back memories about where they’ve been. But the thing that thrills us is they are making a circle around the city with these new parks. It’s exciting. These are different from the Olmsted parks. There’s more wild land. For example, Olmsted’s Cherokee Park has hills and water, but it’s not as rugged as Turkey Run.”

“The Trees Speak Softly,” by Catherine Bryant

The images in the current show depict the wide variety of the Parklands. The artists painted scenes ranging from the “Sprayground” to grain silos, from soybean fields to old barns, from rustic ponds to sleek concrete bridges. Morgan said only one member of the Kentucky Plein Air Painters turned in one painting; most turned in three or four. “We didn’t want to quit painting out there.”

“Still Water,” by Jenni Deamer

The collection of paintings has enjoyed two openings. A one-day event was held in the Parklands’ roomy Gheens Center in April, and Morgan’s gallery hosted an opening on May 12. The weather was frightful, but Morgan reports that more than 200 people came through the door, and dozens of pieces were sold. Morgan reports that the gallery donates 20 percent of the sales to the Parklands.

“Thorton Bridge,” by Jane Morgan

The Plein Air Painters of Kentucky hate to leave the Parklands, but they have another project for this year: Louisville’s waterfront parks, which hug the Ohio River for miles along the northern edge of the city.


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