Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Adirondack Plein Air Festival now underway

plein air painter

Forty artists have packed up their paints and canvases from Texas to Ohio and Maryland to Maine have come to the Adirondacks for a week of wonderful painting. The 2023 Adirondack Plein Air Festival started on August 14 and culminates with the huge Show & Sale, on August 19, held in the Town Hall in Saranac Lake.

Started in 2009 by Saranac Lake ArtWorks member Sandra Hildreth, this event has grown from an opportunity for local artists to get together and paint outdoors, to a nationally recognized painting experience that often attracts nearly 100 applications. 40 are selected to participate. They come to paint the Saranac Lake, which offers an abundance of mountain, lake, and river views, farmland, historic villages, rustic camps, waterfalls, marshes and bogs and more.

Plein air paintings record the experiences of the artists – if it’s a rainy day, they will convey the grey and overcast landscape. Hot and hazy, the mountains will be blue and pale in the distance. Part of the attraction of plein air paintings, for art collectors, is the fact that the artists are recording what has just happened in the world around them. There is no reliance upon photographs, nor do plein air painters have the luxury of working for days, or weeks, in their studio to create a masterpiece. All their painting skills, knowledge and experience get tightly wrapped up into a time frame that’s often just 4-5 hours! That immediacy, the “here and now” experience, is the main attraction of plein air painting.

Returning favorites include George Van Hook, a 2-time winner, Patricia Bellerose and Patrick McPhee, who met and fell in love at the Adirondack Plein Air Festival, and Chrissy Pahucki. Local veterans include Nancy Brossard, Vera Doumanoff, Ann Haskell, Sandra Hildreth, Diane Leifheit and Susan Whiteman. There are 10 brand new artists coming to tackle the Adirondack landscape, and a good number of othr repeat participants, including the 2022 1st Place winner, Thomas Adkins, of Connecticut.

plein air painter

The Show & Sale has promise to be one of the best in all the 15 years of this event. It opens with a Special Preview Party, Friday evening August 18. This is a ticketed event and fund-raiser for Saranac Lake ArtWorks, the event organizer. Food will be provided by A-1 Buffet & Sushi, Anne’s Crepes, the Belvedere, Bitters & Bones, Blue Moon Cafe, Early Dawn Confections, Fiddlehead Bistro, Charlie Levitz, and Saranac Lake’s newest restaurant, Our Plates. Ray Brook Brew House and Terry Robards Wines & Spirts are providing beverages.Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online (https://saranac-lake-artworks.square.site/product/adirondack-plein-air-festival-special-preview-tickets/14?cs=true&cst=custom) or at the door. Attendees will get the first look at all the new paintings and the award presentations, including a 1st Place Award valued at over $2500. Many local businesses have contributed cash towards the awards, some, every year since we starting giving out awards. Hyde Fuel and AdkAction are the reception sponsors for 2023. All our generous donors are greatly appreciated.

On Saturday August 19 the day starts with a “Quick Draw Competition” where the artists will have only 2 hours to complete a painting, from 9 to 11 am. They should all be working somewhere in the village of Saranac Lake and will bring their paintings and easels to the sidewalk outside the Town Hall at 11:15, with judging occurring and a winner announced around 11:45.

At noon on Saturday, the Show & Sale opens to the public. There is no admission charge. It’s a great opportunity to come see the 100’s of paintings that will have been produced during the weekend.  Come see how the artists interpret the landscape that some of you have lived in for years! Or find paintings of places you’ve never been to! The popular “Paint the Town” Silent Auction will also be going on in the Town Hall.

Spectators are welcome throughout the week and can pick up maps and schedules at the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and the Adirondack Artists Guild Gallery. But it’s the Show & Sale that is not to be missed! When the clock in the Town Hall tower chimes 5 pm on August 19, the paintings will all go home. For additional information, check our website, SaranacLakeArtWorks.org.

Photos included:Artists at the Saranac Lake Fish & Game Club; Kari Ruiz, 2020 1st place winner





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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at editor@adirondackalmanack.com.

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