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Plein as Day

visual artists will descend on Durand for week of outdoor painting

Allison Puestow

Artist Beth Peck demonstrates her plein air technique during the 2013 Fresh Art event in Durand. LEFT: An oil painting titled “A Hidden Gem” by this year’s juror/featured artist, Derek Davis of St. Paul.
Artist Beth Peck demonstrates her plein air technique during the 2013 Fresh Art
event in Durand. LEFT: An oil painting titled “A Hidden Gem” by this year’s juror/
featured artist, Derek Davis of St. Paul.

Clean off your paintbrushes, grab your easels, and head on over to Durand: It’s time again for the Fresh Paint event May 18-24. Hosted by Imagination Nation, a nonprofit organization in Durand, Fresh Paint centers on what is known as plein air painting.

“The word is a French term, and it means ‘open air,’ ” explains Jean Accola, one of the event’s organizers. “It’s getting to be a more popular phenomenon in America, where artists paint outdoors. It’s more the events themselves that are getting to be popular; it’s kind of a competition, a friendly competition.”

Fresh Paint kicks off at 1pm Sunday, May 18, with a Quick Paint competition. Participants who gather around the Old Courthouse Museum area in downtown Durand will have exactly two hours to paint something. Artists can then submit those pieces for judging. There will also be a Chalk Walk competition. Chalk Walk is open to artists between the ages of 11 and 19 who want to create a design on a sidewalk square. Competitors can have a team of up to three members, and all participants will get a prize. There will also be an award for the best design.

Really the only guidelines for the competition are that you have to paint outdoors either in Durand or within 8 miles of the city. The Quick Paint and Chalk Walk are held right downtown. (You also need to bring your own supplies.) This year’s judge is Derek Davis, a professional artist and plein air award winner. He’ll be holding a demonstration of nocturne (night) painting, a specialty of his, at 6pm on Thursday, May 22.

“The competition is open to anybody,” Accola said, noting the registration fee is just $25. “If anyone just wants to come and do the Quick Paint, for example, they’re welcome to do that. I think we’ll have an open category for that.”

Fresh Paint culminates on Friday, May 23, the deadline for submitting completed paintings. At 6pm there will be an awards ceremony held at the Old Courthouse Museum. Awards such as Best of Show, Best Nocturne, and Best Quick Paint will be given out. After that, purchase awards – essentially public pledges to purchase pieces of artwork – will be granted. Buyers who have made purchase award pledges will get first dibs on the finished paintings.

For more information, the schedule of events, or to register, visit www.freshpaintevent.org.