Grab Your Brushes

plein air painting event expands throughout Valley

Emily Kinzel

AIR BRUSHING. A participant in a previous year’s GO Paint! plein air event captured the scenery along the Chippewa River near Durand. This year’s event encompasses more of the Chippewa Valley.
AIR BRUSHING. A participant in a previous year’s GO Paint! plein air event captured the scenery along the Chippewa River near Durand. This year’s event encompasses more of the Chippewa Valley.

Whether you’re a novice, an expert, or want to try something new, the fifth annual GO Paint! plein air event inviting all art enthusiasts throughout the Chippewa Valley to participate. The kickoff is at 1pm Saturday, May 6, Phoenix Park, and events carry on through May 13. From competitions with cash prizes to simple submissions, it’s hard to find an excuse not to take part in this artistic happening!

“There is so much scope for the imagination in our area; beautiful rolling farmlands, dramatic river banks, charming downtown areas, prairies and forests – all within a 10-mile radius of the Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers.” – Rose Dolan-Neill, director of visual arts, Eau Claire Regional Arts Center

The upper-case “GO” in GO Paint! isn’t purely an attention grabber. One of the event’s organizers, Jean Accola, tells the story behind the title: “The title GO Paint! is a subtle memorial to the husband of one of the founders of the event, Ann Oberding, an Eau Claire art teacher, (who lived) in the Durand area. Her husband, George Oberding, had died in an accident just prior to our first informal plein air event. I thought his initials G.O. in combination with ‘Paint,’ gave us artists, including Ann, the directive to just ‘go paint’!”

Another organizer, Rose Dolan-Neill, director of visual arts at the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center, commented, “GO Paint! Chippewa Valley is a perfect opportunity for regional artists to get out in the open air and paint the local flora and fauna of the Chippewa Valley ranging from Fall Creek to Nelson along the beautiful Chippewa River.”

This event is truly made for anyone and everyone with a paintbrush in hand., “Plein air painters are hardy folk; they paint rain or shine, night and day,” Dolan-Neill continued. “They hike up bluffs with all of their paint gear, trek through muck, and endure bugs – hardy.”

But you don’t have to be Chuck Norris to participate, as Dolan-Neill further explained: “Some, though, may find a lovely spot in downtown Eau Claire or Durand.” 

The GO Paint! event isn’t just for the artists, but the public as well. Grab a coffee downtown, walk along the main drag, and watch the artists at work. Dolan-Neill revealed, “The best way to view artists during this event will be on Saturday, May 6, from 3-5 pm. We will have our Quick Paint competition at this time and over 20 registered artists will be in Phoenix Park painting away.” May 6 isn’t the only day to witness art in the making. “Artists will be allowed to submit up to five paintings from the week-long event,” Dolan-Neill added. The sale of paintings created during the week will continue throughout the summer. Accola estimated that the final, juried exhibit and sale will feature more than 100 paintings.

The event list includes the following:

• Saturday, May 6, 1pm: Young Artists Plein Air Paint in Phoenix Park, taught by Katie Bohn 
• Saturday, May 6, 3pm: Quick Paint in Phoenix Park
• Sunday, May 7, 9:34am: Painting Contest
• Wednesday, May 10, 8am: Paint in the Tiffany Wildlife Area
• Friday, May 12, 6pm: Meet the Artists’ Reception and Awards Ceremony
• Saturday, May 13, 9am: Kami Mendlik Paint Workshop

Dolan-Neill adds, “There is so much scope for the imagination in our area; beautiful rolling farmlands, dramatic river banks, charming downtown areas, prairies and forests – all within a 10-mile radius of the Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers.” Get out there and paint!

To learn more or to purchase tickets for workshops, visit eauclairearts.com/gopaint.phtml or contact ECRAC at (715) 832-2787.

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