Plein Air Festival returns with 20-plus artistsMore than 20 artists who paint plein air — outdoors — have registered to participate in the third annual Red Wing Plein Air Art Festival, which runs June 20-26.
By: Ruth Nerhaugen, The Republican Eagle
More than 20 artists who paint plein air — outdoors — have registered to participate in the third annual Red Wing Plein Air Art Festival, which runs June 20-26.
Throughout the week they will be located throughout the community. The festival culminates with a public reception, show and sale of plein air artwork at the Depot Gallery, 418 Levee St.
The Red Wing Arts Association event will include several workshops, which are open to the community. This year, grants were received from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council and the Minnesota States Arts Board.
Opening weekend June 20-21 will feature a Masters' Plein Air Workshop for experienced painters, put on by Mary Pettis — who also will be judge for the painting competition. Sessions will be at 9:30 a.m. June 20 and 21 at the gallery.
Pettis is a classically trained artist who works mostly from life, using the alla prima or direct method of oil painting.
"Her lifetime in art is a journey reflected in hundreds of originals and thousands of reproductions and etchings collected in nearly every state and several countries," according to a press release. The southern Minnesota native currently lives in the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway along the Wisconsin/Minnesota border.
Growing up in the country, she discovered that painting was a natural means of expressing her enjoyment and love of nature. After earning college degrees and doing research abroad, she was accepted in 1975 to a three-year, full-time student apprenticeship in classical realism at Atelier Lack in Minneapolis. Pettis discovered the "wet-in-wet" plein air approach to painting in the mid-1990s.
"I spent years laboring over details using layers and glazes, taking weeks or months to complete a picture. This method was totally different. It was sheer fright and utter joy to paint directly, to strive towards putting the right color in the right place in one fell swoop," she said.
She moved her studio outdoors and now, Pettis said, "As I paint I get swept away by the symphony of artistic elements in front of me." She has recently given workshops in Maui, Russia, Italy and France.
Plein air painting will take place June 22 through 26, as follows: June 22 — Paint the Mississippi River valley; June 23 — Paint the Town, downtown Red Wing; June 24 — Quick Paint from 9 a.m. to noon, around town; June 25 — Sunrise/Sunset; June 26 — final morning.
Two-hour workshops in plein air painting with watercolor, oil and pastel will be June 23 and 25 for beginning and experienced painters, who must supply their own materials. Registration fee is $40 per session. Dan Wiemer of Red Wing will teach watercolor from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.; Robert Hodges-Bonawitz, who won "Best of Show" at last year's festival, will teach oil painting from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and Fred Somers of Northfield will conduct the pastel workshop from 6 to 8 p.m.
On June 24, everyone is invited to hear author Marisha Chamberlain reading from her book “Rose Variations” with musical accompaniment by Erin Scolte, starting at 7 p.m. The novel tells the story of a young musician moving to Minnesota to pursue her career at a Twin City liberal arts college during the 1970s.
The festival will culminate with a reception for the artists from 6 to 9 p.m. June 26 at the Depot. At 7 p.m. the artists will speak briefly about their work and Pettis will announce the award winners. The best downtown work and the paint-out winner each will receive $250. The Best of Show artist will be awarded $1,000; second place prize is $350.
Plein Air Festival artwork, which will be for sale, will be displayed at the gallery until Aug. 9.
For more information call (651) 388-7569 or go online to www.redwingartsassociation.org.