Sara Swanson

Plein air artists visit Wurster Park

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Sharon Sunday (left) and Kathy Wilkins (right) work en plein air to capture the old Methodist Church steeple.

Tuesday evening, Kathy Wilkins and her instructor, Sharon Sunday, set up easels in Wurster Park and worked quickly to capture the old Methodist Church on paper. The two women from Jackson were driving through on their way home from Dexter and decided to check out Manchester. Sunday explained that the weather was calm and the lighting was good, so they stopped and set up in the park. Plein air painting, or painting outdoors, has been popular since the 1840s.

Sunday, who was using pastels, prefers working at this time of day in the light with shadows but explained that you really only have two hours before the light changes too much. “That is the challenge,” she stated. Wilkins, who has been Sunday’s student for four years, was working in acrylic paint. Working in acrylic has the added challenge of finishing before the paint dries out. Sunday explained that plein air paintings are usually kept small to address these difficulties.

As Wilkins and Sunday were finishing up, Wilkins gasped and drew Sunday’s attention behind them to setting sun gleaming off of the new gold top of Emanuel’s steeple. So, who knows, we may see the Jackson artists back again soon to capture another Manchester church!

Sharon Sunday teaches private lessons, paints murals and sells artwork through her business Creative Endeavors, in Jackson. She can be contacted at (517) 414-5113, by email at More information is available on her website at




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