The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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December 1, 2012

On location: New exhibit features painter's plein air visions of Joplin landmarks

JOPLIN, Mo. — The wooden box with sticks jutting out is Margie Moss' briefcase. The sticks can be repositioned and extended so that the box stands about waist-high on three legs. Boards on the top bend on hinges to stand almost upright -- perfect for holding a painting or sketch pad.

Almost every part of the wood is stained in a variety of colors, from the bold hues of oil paints to the lightened cracks of exposed wood, where gravel or concrete stripped splinters away. Inside the box Moss keeps tubes of paint, a palette, some spare change, business cards and even a bottle of holy water, which was a gift from her daughter.

"She knows I like to pray before getting started," Moss said. "Though I've painted for a third of my life, I still have a bit of anxiety before I start. Praying tends to calm me, so by the time I finish I don't want to quit."

Moss, the owner of Joplin Decorating Center, has had the easel for more than 20 years -- ever since she started painting en plein air -- the painter's version of photography. She has taken the easel to all sorts of environments and as far away as Estes Park, Colo.

Her work around the Joplin area will be featured in "Joplin: An Outside View," an exhibit on display through December at the Post Memorial Art Library. The exhibit includes her pictures of familiar sights around town, including a Japanese bridge at Missouri Southern State University, the cross at St. Mary's Catholic Church and a round barn in Saginaw.

"Hopefully people will see these sites with a new eye," Moss said. "Maybe when they are driving by, they will see the light on the bridge, the reflections on the water, a fresh approach to their favorite places in Joplin."

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