Plein Air Art, part of Range Call, begins today, outdoors in county

MEEKER I Artists taking part in Plein Air Meeker 2015 will be visible along Rio Blanco County roads and in out-of-the way forests and campgrounds within 50 miles of Meeker as of today as the painters have focused on outdoor art available thanks to Mother Nature.

“En plein air” is French for “in the open air,” and the artists who start the two-week painting competition today or in the next few days will paint through July 2 in the natural light to complete a painting on location. That premise makes up the third annual Plein Air Art Competition, held in Meeker as part of the Range Call activities, which culminate on Julyl 4.
There are prizes for the artists, and the best of show art will win $1,000.
“Plein air art began in the late 1800s in Europe and quickly moved back to America,” said Pat Sheeran/Daggett, the owner of and artist at The Upstairs Gallery in Meeker. Sheeran/Daggett helped start the local competition in 2012 in conjunction with the Meeker Chamber of Commerce and Range Call.
“Plein air art painting also played a major role in helping define American art late in the 1800s in that it is responsible for many of the large landscape paintings quite prominent throughout the West,” Sheeran/Daggett said.
She said plein air art has seen a resurgence in popularity since the late 1990s and that there are hot spots for plein air artists now in Taos, N.M., California and a few other locations.
“This is a really good way to bring people into Rio Blanco County and a great way to advertise Meeker,” Sheeran/Daggett said. “We have exceptional scenery, which includes high country and low country, which is unlike many other locations.”
The paintings must have been turned in by 5 p.m. on Thursday July 2. Most will be painted in water colors, oils, acrylics or pastels, but any medium may be used.
On Friday, July 3, from noon to 2 p.m. will be the show opening at Meeker Library and a public meet and greet with the artists and the beginning of the silent auction from noon through 6 p.m.
On Saturday, the silent auction will reopen from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.