– Bob Bahr reporting, Editor PleinAir Today –

The place Ed Cahill often paints is a reminder of what the land around Atlanta was like when he was young.

Lead Image: “Colors of Fall,” by Ed Cahill, 2015, oil on linen board, 9 x 12 in. Collection the artist

Cahill lives a block and a half from the Mabry Farm, a privately owned horse farm that has been in the Mabry family for several generations. There’s a formal garden and a less formal one, a pond, a vineyard, outbuildings, an old farmhouse, and lots of old tractors and trucks in various states of decay. The Mabry Farm is in the suburbs of Marietta, Georgia, north of Atlanta proper, and it is surrounded by housing developments and strip malls. But it still is a place where horses graze in pastures, bees gather pollen and make honey in hives, and vegetables are raised. And it’s where Ed Cahill often paints.

The back pasture at Mabry Farm
The back pasture at Mabry Farm
“Fence Line,” by Ed Cahill, 2015, oil on linen board, 9 x 12 in. Collection the artist
“Fence Line,” by Ed Cahill, 2015, oil on linen board, 9 x 12 in. Collection the artist
“Jim’s Junk,” by Ed Cahill, 2015, oil on linen board, 12 x 16 in. Private collection
“Jim’s Junk,” by Ed Cahill, 2015, oil on linen board, 12 x 16 in. Private collection

“This section of town was primarily rural when I left Georgia to live in New Jersey for eight years,” says Cahill. “Now the Mabry Farm sticks out. It still has some acreage and is a true working farm.” Cahill moved back 15 years ago, but family duties kept him busy until five years ago, when he started painting full-time. “As a painter I’m always looking around for a place with a little space,” he says. “I go there about once a week. In spring there’s a lot of color, so I might go over there three or four days in a row. Then I may stay away for a month. I return for different light and for the different activities that go on over there.”

“Mabry House,” by Ed Cahill, 2015, oil on linen board, 8 x 16 in. Private collection
“Mabry House,” by Ed Cahill, 2015, oil on linen board, 8 x 16 in. Private collection
The scene Cahill saw while painting “Mabry House”
The scene Cahill saw while painting “Mabry House”

The county bought a portion of the farm and turned it into a park, but there is limited access to much of the area. “You need permission to paint there,” says Cahill. “Maybe you could buy some tomatoes and honey and ask if you can paint.”

“Plein Airstream,” by Ed Cahill, 2015, oil on linen board, 12 x 16 in. Collection the artist
“Plein Airstream,” by Ed Cahill, 2015, oil on linen board, 12 x 16 in. Collection the artist
“Tomato Barn,” by Ed Cahill, 2016, oil on linen board, 12 x 12 in. Collection the artist
“Tomato Barn,” by Ed Cahill, 2016, oil on linen board, 12 x 12 in. Collection the artist
Ed Cahill and his setup
Ed Cahill and his setup

He enthuses, “There’s an endless variety back there. There’s not enough time to paint it all. It’s pretty spectacular.”

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