Snoqualmie painters get out for Plein Air Paint Out
August 25, 2010
By Sebastian Moraga
NEW — 6:00 a.m. Aug. 25, 2010
The picturesque surroundings of downtown Snoqualmie will get even more so come Aug. 28. And if not picturesque, at least painting-esque.
The second annual Snoqualmie Plein Air Paint Out will gather some of the finest painters in the West, as they each start and finish a painting in seven hours, all in the open air.
The contest will last from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., with a showing scheduled for 5 p.m. at Isadora’s Café, 8062 Railroad Ave. S.E.
People at the show will vote on the best painting, which will be featured on the 2011 Plein Air Paint Out’s poster. The painting on this year’s poster is last year’s winner, a painting of the downtown gazebo by Petra Fursman.
Jeff Waters, chairman of the Snoqualmie Arts Commission, said 28 painters showed up last year. Registration is still open for this year’s contest. People can still sign up the day of the contest at the gazebo.
Anyone can participate, Waters said. The only rules for the event are:
q Painters must work on site: No fair showing up with a painting you have already started.
q Painters must paint. No fair just showing up to sell your stuff. You can sell your stuff, but you must also paint a new piece. “We’re not trying to run a street fair,” Waters said.
q Painters may only enter the painting they did at this Plein Air Paint Out into the contest. No fair using your best work from years ago.
To avoid tricks, everyone will start the Plein Air Paint Out with a stamped canvas. That way, people will know the painting is from Aug. 28, 2010.
Although most people will likely paint, other art forms are accepted.
“I won’t turn a sculptor away if one shows up,” Waters said.
The charm of the Plein Air Paint Out is that it takes the artist out of his or her studio and into the streets.
A press release from the city of Snoqualmie stated that “plein air” means “in the open air” in French. (Plein rhymes with “Glenn.”)
“We have the benefit of the views of Mount Si and the Snoqualmie Falls to name a few,” Consy Malasoma, a member of the arts commission, wrote in an e-mail. “I don’t believe Kirkland, Everett or other municipalities have such a unique outdoor area.”
Painting in the middle of a street with someone’s eyes drilling holes in your canvas is not easy, Waters said.
“The first time you do it, you feel like an idiot,” he said. With time, it gets more fun, particularly when people begin dropping the classic onlooker line, “I’ve always wanted to do that, but I don’t have any talent.”
Waters said he always responds the same way: It’s not about talent. It’s about repetition. People don’t play great melodies the first time they sit in front of a piano. Painting is the same.
“The whole point is to encourage people to be interested,” Waters said.
“The purpose for hosting a Plein Air event is to have artists set up their easels and work/paint while the public is observing and asking questions,” she wrote.
Fee for the contest is $20, which will go toward street maintenance. Artists who sell paintings will pay no commission to the city.
“Artists love that,” Waters said.
Painters can paint from anywhere in the Valley, Malasoma said, but they must return downtown by 4 p.m.
Sebastian Moraga: 392-6434, ext. 221, or email@example.com.