Plein air festival and competition showcases Idaho’s finest outdoor painters.
Story by Liza Long, Photos by Pete Grady and courtesy of Meg Glasgow and Stephen Douglas
Eagle in the summer is a landscape artist’s dream. From the dappled light of the tree-lined Boise River to the verdant horse pastures and farmland to sensuously curved golden foothills, the community offers a palette of open air creative inspiration. This July, critically acclaimed Idaho plein-air painters will converge on Eagle for the first annual Eagle Paint Out, a three-day competition sponsored by the Gallery at Finer Frames. The event will be open to the public, meaning that Treasure Valley residents will have the opportunity to observe the creative process firsthand as new works of art are born.
Plein air painting takes the artist out of the studio and into the landscape, where light and color work with the artist to create an impression. Mark Davis, a painter participating in Eagle Paint Out, says, “I think the reason people are so attracted to plein air painting is that it provides a spontaneity of style that you just can’t get with any other type of painting.”
Meg Glasgow, owner of Finer Frames and the event’s sponsor, notes, “A new art event like the Eagle Paint Out is a wonderful way to highlight the beauty of our community while bringing the artist and collector together in an exciting way. It’s a unique experience because the people have an opportunity to engage directly with the artists, watch them create, learn about this unique process of painting, and then support the artists by purchasing a unique creation that will add beauty and value to their homes.”
The three-day event takes place from July 16-18 in various outdoor locations in the community, including historic downtown, the Greenbelt, and Eagle Island State Park. Artists who register for the competition have the opportunity to compete for cash prizes as well as showcasing their creative process and talents to a wide audience. On July 18, a two hour free public “quick draw” competition is open to all artists; a sale of works produced in this competition will coincide with the Eagle Saturday Market in Heritage Park that day.
The larger three-day competition will be judged by Gregg Russell, a highly respected Idaho artist who is represented by the Gallery at Finer Frames here in Eagle and the West Lives On gallery in Jackson, Wyoming. “The art of plein air painting has a rich history,” Russell says. “It dates back to the 1800s when Impressionist artists like Claude Monet tried to capture the effects of light on objects. Its importance still rings true today. Artists have always wanted to communicate the world around them, and plein air painting allows artists to interpret their own communities and surroundings in an individualized way.”
The paintings produced in the Eagle Paint Out will be exhibited at Glasgow’s gallery on Eagle’s last Thursday Art Walk (see inset box). Glasgow and Eagle Art Gallery owner Stephen Douglas are partnering to promote Eagle artists, staying open late on last Thursdays in conjunction with the city’s Heritage Park summer live music series, to encourage Eagle residents to enjoy the talent showcased in our community. “Eagle has all the components to evolve into a cultural hub in the Treasure Valley. There are great restaurants. unique shops, and very friendly people,” Douglas notes, explaining why he chose to open an art gallery here.
Idaho native Toby Davis, a member of the Treasure Valley Artist’s Alliance and Oil Painters of America, is excited to try her hand at this artistic technique. “I have not done a lot of plein air painting, but I’m really looking forward to the Paint Out event,” she says. “I think it’s good to get artists out of their studios, and it gives the public a chance to see art being created. Eagle is a beautiful town and this is great way to promote the community and its continuing commitment to the arts.”
Last Thursday Eagle Art Walks
Join Meg Glasgow and Stephen Douglas for Last Thursday Art Walks each last Thursday until the end of September. Listen to live music at the Heritage Park gazebo, then wander between Glasgow’s Gallery at Finer Frames and Douglas’s Eagle Art Gallery to enjoy fine art right in our community. 5:00-9:00 p.m., downtown Eagle.
For more information about Eagle Paint Out, contact Meg Glasgow at Finer Frames, 164 E State St Suite B, Eagle, ID 83616
Phone: 208.888.9898, www.finerframes.com