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Paint Out and painting outdoors

Outdoor painter Lisa Stauffer of Duluth will be the judge for Red Wing Arts’ 2018 Plein Air, which runs June 11-16. Submitted photo1 / 2
“Mississippi Mooring” is among art works by plein air painter and judge Lisa Stauffer, who will give a demonstration Thursday, June 14, 2018, near the Red Wing Depot Gallery.2 / 2

Two dozen painters will spend next week capturing local scenes on canvas for the 2018 Red Wing Arts Plein Air outdoor painting competition.

Before Plein Air culminates on Saturday, June 16, the community will have numerous opportunities to observe the painters in action, according to Red Wing Arts Executive Director Emily Guida Foos.

Twenty-three featured artists who work in a variety of media — watercolor, pastels, oil, acrylic, pen & ink — are registered for the main event. They are professionals who are recognized regionally and sometimes nationally, Foos said.

Most are from southeastern Minnesota and Wisconsin. There will be familiar artists, including a few from Red Wing, plus "It's always exciting to have new faces," she said.

"There is definitely a solid group of plein air artists who come year after year," she explained. "They're almost like a family" of painters who participate in numerous outdoor events each summer.

The festival begins Monday with check-in. The artists must have their canvases stamped with the date before they go out to paint, Foos said. They have just five days to complete their work and turn in three paintings to be judged.

During the week they are most likely to be seen painting when the light is best, in the morning and evening. Afternoons may be spent scouting locations to paint.

She expects the artists to focus on prime locations such as the Wacouta area, Memorial Park, Rattlesnake Bluff and other unique areas, plus downtown because of its historic buildings and structures.

"We don't want to define parameters for them," Foos said.

Duluth judge

On Wednesday they are invited to paint at the Red Wing Arts Concert in the Park. Anthony Cuchetti will play starting at 7 p.m. in the Central Park Bandshell.

Thursday's feature event is a demonstration at 1 p.m. near the Depot Gallery/Levee Park by Lisa Stauffer of Duluth, a pastel artist who will be this year's judge.

The public is invited to join the artists in watching Stauffer at work.

"She'll choose the scene she wants to paint," Foos said, adding "She tends to paint water and shadows."

"I am fascinated by the interplay of light and color that I see in the beauty surrounding me, and I work to capture the mood of those special moments in my paintings," Stauffer said.

She holds a master's degree in design from the University of Minnesota, plus she studied illustration at Parson's School of Design in New York City. Stauffer was awarded Master Circle status by the International Association of Pastel Societies.

Foos pointed out that "Part of the mission is to provide opportunities for artists to grow. ...

"Painters are very independent," she said, because painting is an individual experience. At the same time, she added, they enjoy opportunities to interact as artists and learn new skill sets — plus they are accustomed to having people watch them work.

The Red Wing Arts Plein Air also has an open class category that generally attracts novices, artists who have not previously entered competitions and non-professionals who cannot devote a full week to such an event. At least a half-dozen people are expected to participate in open class, Foos said.


Friday is a big day for participants. The featured painters must turn in three new, framed works by noon. Open class painters will submit one work to be judged. When the paintings have been hung, Stauffer will judge them and select winners.

The public can get its first look at the new artwork at a ticketed ($25) awards reception at 6 p.m. under a tent at the Depot. The event will feature live music, heavy hors d'oeuvres and wine, Foos said. An awards ceremony will follow inside the Depot Gallery.

The week's finale, a Quick Paint competition, starts with the ringing of a bell at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 16. The professionals will have exactly two hours to complete one more painting. Open class painters also may participate.

Because of the time limit, Foos said, they typically remain fairly close to the Depot, where the weekly farmers market will be underway.

While they are at work, a children's version called Kids Paint Out will take place from 10 a.m. to noon in the tent. Students interested in participating should contact the Depot Gallery.

The adult work will be judged at 11:30 a.m., then be moved to the gallery for display.

"They are still wet when we hang them," Foos said.

Winners of the Quick Paint and the Paint Out will be announced at 1 p.m. The opening event will continue until 5 p.m.

"The energy in the gallery is just stunning," Foos said, with about 70 paintings completed in five days' time.

All of the adult plein air work will be for sale, beginning with the Friday reception. "It's an opportunity to purchase vibrant scenes of our community by some of the region's most accomplished plein air artists," Foos said.

Over the years, Plein Air has provided a legacy of nearly 1,000 images of the local area, she added: "It's a gift to the community to have these painted visual memories."

The plein air paintings — including those that are sold will remain on display at the Depot through Aug. 5.