This summer, Snoqualmie City Hall visitors may view original artworks depicting Snoqualmie icons and landscapes — all painted in just one day.
Plein Air, or “in the open air,” is the tradition of painting outdoors, usually with loose brush strokes or composition. The tradition takes advantage of natural light and live painting, rather than studio work or a focus on realism.
Plein Air reached its height during the French Impressionist movement, with well-known artists such as Monet and Renoir choosing to paint in the open air. Even the post-impressionist works of Vincent Van-Gogh were influenced by Plein Air in the French fields of Arles.
Since 2009, the city of Snoqualmie has honored the tradition by hosting the annual Plein Air Paint Out. Now, in its 11th year, the city in partnership with the Snoqualmie Arts Commission will hold the annual event at Snoqualmie Railroad Days from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Aug. 17.
“The competition produces such beautiful pieces,” Snoqualmie Arts Commission chair Sally Rackets said in a press release. “It’s hard to choose the winning works every time.”
Snoqualmie senior planner Nicole Sanders said it’s an event she and locals look forward to every year.
“It’s a great opportunity for artists of all abilities to embrace being an artist for a day,” she said. “A lot of beginning artists don’t feel comfortable to create art in an open space. I hope they feel encouraged to be bold and paint.”
The Plein Air Paint Out event is free to attend and participate in. Artists can register in advance online at Eventbrite (https://bit.ly/2OwiIBO), or on the day of the event.
Painters must be actively working on paintings on site and not solely selling artwork.
“It’s always a great event, and it’s always exciting to see what catches people’s eyes,” Sanders said. “Someone will paint something that you see everyday, but the way they depict it makes you look at that thing differently.”
At an artist reception following the event at 3 p.m., the Snoqualmie Arts Commission will determine first-, second- and third-place winning works. The free reception is open to the public at the Black Dog Arts Café, 8062 Railroad Ave. SE.
Kids are invited to participate in a free art event called the Kids’ Paint Junction, where free art materials will help them create their own masterpieces. Those interested must check in with the Snoqualmie Arts Commission at the gazebo and they will direct people to the Junction.
The first-place winner will be featured on the 2020 Plein Air Paint Out poster with $300 artwork purchase. Second- and third-place winners are awarded $200 and $100 gift certificates respectively to Daniel Smith Art Supplies.
Posters of past years’ winning works also will be available for purchase at the Railroad Park Gazebo at 7971 Railroad Ave. SE.
For more information, go online to the city of Snoqualmie website (http://www.ci.snoqualmie.wa.us/652/Plein-Air-Paint-Out).