Eighth annual Plein Air competition celebrates outdoor beauty

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MEEKER | Meeker is full of energy and the perfect place to paint!

The eighth annual Plein Air Meeker art competition, public show and silent auction will be held July 5-8. The northwest corner of Colorado’s Western Slope region is a hidden treasure, providing ideal painting backdrops for many local and visiting artists.

Artists can capture the beauty and hospitality of historic downtown Meeker; ranches dotted with sheep, cattle and horses; scenic trails, mountain meadows and gorgeous views along the Flat Tops Scenic Byways Wilderness Area and the White River National Forest. Rio Blanco County is known for wide-ranging landscapes; high mountains to low deserts with rivers and rocks.

The 2019 event begins for participating artists with a two week “paint out” from June 15-30. During the Artist and Patron Night: Award Ceremony and Patron Art Sale the evening of July 5th, patrons and sponsors will be able to meet the artists and judge, toast the award winners, preview and purchase artwork prior to the public exhibit. Completed artwork will then be available for public display and silent auction at the Meeker Public Library from July 6-8. This is a great opportunity to add Meeker inspired art work, by talented artists, to your home or business. All are welcome.

We are delighted to have Nancy Martin from Glenwood Springs, Colorado as our judge this year.  Color is the catalyst which carries her from initial concept to a completed work of art.  An intuitive painter, Nancy relies on observation, composition, personal vision, and original approach combined with color theory to create her paintings.

Her acceptance in numerous regional and national juried exhibitions and an accumulation of awards reflects well on her efforts.  Nancy is a signature member of the Colorado Watercolor Society and is a Master signature member for the Western Colorado Watercolor Society.  Her work is included in private and corporate collections in the United States and Europe.  Some of her many juried exhibitions include San Diego Watercolor Society, San Diego, CA, Colorado Biennial, Colorado Springs, CO, National Society of Painters in Casein and Acrylic, New York City, NY, Vail Invitational, Vail CO, and many more.  Nancy’s work has been featured in various publications and is included in the book “Painting Flowers” by Elizabeth Leonard.

We invite you to become a patron or sponsor of this year’s event. Patrons pledge to spend a minimum of $200 on artwork at the event. Sponsorship cash donations are used for event prize awards. Patrons and sponsors are recognized in printed materials, event signs, on our website and in social media. The Meeker Chamber of Commerce which sponsors the Plein Air event, is a 501(c) (6) Nonprofit organization, so your donations are tax deductible. The Chamber’s objective is to promote aspiring local artists, introduce new artists to the area, and offer an arts and cultural event to residents of the community. The 2017 competition brought 18 new and returning artists and 60 completed paintings to Plein Air Meeker.

We are excited to see continued interest and growth every year. Individuals and businesses are encouraged to become an art patron or sponsor all or part of an award.

If you are interested in participating as an artist, a patron or by sponsoring an award, registration and pledge forms are available by contacting the Meeker Chamber of Commerce at 970.878.5510, www.meekerchamber.com, or https://www.facebook.com/PleinAirMeeker/.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term “plein air”, a plein air painting is loosely defined as a “painting completed in the field”. The word derives from the French term “en plein air” which translates “in the open air”.

Painting plein air in a natural setting is very different than working from a photograph or in the studio.  An artist has about a 1. -2-hour time period on a sunny day before the light changes.  Sometimes to finish a piece they have to wait for the same time/conditions another day or year.  Plein air painting forces one to make quick decisions about composition, color and finishing. These pieces also tend to express the true feel of a place more completely. The immediacy of painting amidst the heat, cold, gnats, wind or rain translates into the work and sometimes interesting challenges arise. Plein air provides a more accurate knowledge of color, atmosphere and sometime wildlife.   

There has been a resurgence in Plein Air painting in recent years.  Many painters travel to different locations from the East coast to the West coast and to Europe to paint.  It is not uncommon to see painters working off the side of the road.   Please keep your eyes open when traveling and welcome these visitors to the area.

If you would like more information about this topic, visit http://meekerchamber.com/events/plein-air-meeker/ or https://www.facebook.com/PleinAirMeeker/

Special to the Herald Times