Todd Saal Nolensville artist

Nolensville artist Todd Saal enjoys en plein painting.

Having lived in New York City for most of his life, Todd Saal has had plenty of exposure to the man-made environment. 

As an artist now living in Nolensville, Saal was influenced by streets and buildings and the everyday busyness from growing up in the Big Apple. That’s what he was used to as he created his watercolors and acrylics that can now be seen in galleries and on his website and Instagram site

But then he was introduced to en plein painting, or painting outdoors.

“From the first day I did it, I loved it,” Saal said. “I loved every aspect about it, just from being outdoors. That’s something I had really not ever done.

“Coming from New York, I gravitated more toward cityscape type of stuff. I tell people I’m very comfortable around concrete — I was born and raised in it, and that’s just kind of the way it was. 

“It did take me awhile to discover that beauty of isolation and the quaintness of an open field. I felt I needed to do more in any painting I was doing with landscape stuff. But then, after a while and painting enough of it, I felt I could get the same sort of energy from painting a bunch of hay bales in the field than I do a busy cityscape.”

Saal, 58, moved to Nolensville nearly seven years ago when his wife, Jodi, was relocated here through her job. The couple had been back and forth to Nashville for a number of years as the nature of Jodi’s job had her commuting frequently from New York. 

Meanwhile, Saal was stepping away from a career he had had for some time in the tech industry, and as he and Jodi made the transition to full-time life in Williamson County, he began painting more.

“When we moved here, it was my wife’s idea for me to take a break,” Saal said. “I had been in my career for 25 years, and it took its toll. I was pretty burned out. … After about six months of me kind of fighting the idea of [taking the suggested break], I slowly started painting again.”

As he did, Saal began to absorb the artistic vibes of Nolensville. 

“There are a lot of artists here in Nolensville, from all facets — acrylic artists, watercolor artists, photographers, sculptors,” he said. “There are so many creative people here.”

In fact, Saal became so engaged in the town’s art scene that he and other artists formed the Artist Guild of Nolensville last October. The organization has a gallery located at 9927 Sam Donald Court.

“We’ve been getting a lot of good traction and we’re putting together some workshops and things like that,” said Saal, who serves on the Artist Guild board as well as the one for Art Helps Cancer. “We’re working with a lot of local businesses to see what we can do with them.”

Saal will be displaying his art and visiting with guests at Parks Realty during the next Franklin Art Scene Friday, Aug. 5.