Buckhead resident and former banker Clyde Draughon began painting after taking a watercolor class at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. At left, “Lake Burton.”

Buckhead resident Clyde Draughon didn’t know he was an artist until after he retired from his career as a banker. Now, sunny days typically find him, paint brush in hand, capturing the view from the dock at his lake house.

“I never thought beyond my wildest dreams that I would spend my retirement painting,” he said.

His lifelong love of gardening led him to painting.

Draughon, who retired from SunTrust Bank, had been volunteering at the Atlanta Botanical Garden by attending to its hotline and helping Georgia residents with their gardening questions.

Clyde Draughon

Draughon said he and his wife of 52 years, Lyn, also an artist, enjoyed visiting art museums all over the world, but it was not until his early days as a volunteer that he realized he had an interest in making his own paintings. That happened after staff members at the garden encouraged Draughon to take a watercolor class taught there. Draughon tried it and loved it. He has not stopped painting since.

“I found a brand new world,” Draughon said.

And the flowers from his own garden often are the subject of his paintings.

He now is one of several members of the Plein Air Painters Group who also are members of the Atlanta Artist Center (AAC) and focus on painting in the open air.

What: The 8th annual Atlanta Artists Center’s Plein Air Painters Exhibit at the Buckhead Library

Where: Buckhead Branch Public Library, 269 Buckhead Ave., 30305

When: Nov. 30 – Jan. 3. Reception, open to the public, on Sat., Dec. 22, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission: Free

Library Hours: Monday-Tuesday –10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesday-Thursday – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information: 404-814-3500

The AAC Plein Air Painters Group has been exhibiting its work at the Buckhead branch of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library for the past eight years. The Eighth AAC Plein Air Painters Exhibit at the Buckhead Library opens Nov. 30 and runs through Jan. 3. The exhibit consists of approximately 70 pieces of watercolor, acrylic, oil, pastels, collage, and mixed media, said Cheryl D’Amato, the volunteer coordinator of art exhibits at the Buckhead Library.

The French expression “plein air” means “in the open air.” “Plein air” compositions are completed either mostly or entirely outside. Draughon said the idea behind painting outside is to embrace the natural light and “capture the spirit of the place,” in the way French Impressionist artists did during the latter part of the 19th century.

That is exactly what Draughon wanted to accomplish in his painting “Lake Burton,” one of the watercolor pieces he is submitting to the library’s exhibit, which shows the view from his dock.

“From my dock, I can look straight across Lake Burton to Charlie Mountain,” he said. “I enjoy painting outside and becoming absorbed in the wonder of a blue sky.”