SARANAC LAKE - The creation of artwork is often thought of as a solitary, contemplative effort that takes place over time. In Saranac Lake, from Thursday to Sunday, it will be just the opposite. Nearly 50 artists will be participating in the Adirondack Plein Air Festival.
"Plein air" is a french term that means painting outdoors, in the open air.
Event artists will often paint with each other, rendering their shared view with quick brushstrokes and individual style. Painting outdoors requires less contemplation and more action as paintings are often brought to a finished state in one sitting. Successful plein air painters have taken their painting skills to a unique level - they produce work of comparative quality to studio artists, but with an economy of paint and technique. It's a challenge that takes special skills in observation and brushwork. Artists will be working with oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels and drawing media.
The Plein Air Festival is sponsored by Saranac Lake ArtWorks and spectators are welcome to come watch and talk with the artists. Most are quite comfortable working away, "in the zone", while people walk by and watch.
On Thursday, all the artists will be "painting the town" in the village of Saranac Lake from approximately 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Historic buildings, boats on the lake, gardens, the Riverwalk, street scenes, people - all could become subject matter for the plein air painters. Each artist will be donating one 5-inch-by-7-inch painting, created on this day, for a silent auction whose proceeds will benefit Pendragon Theatre. The auction will be set up in the Adirondack Artists Guild Gallery, 52 Main St., by 4 p.m.
The Paul Smith's College VIC will become the subject matter for painters on Friday Aug. 17. With bogs, woods, lakes, forest trails, and babbling brooks to choose from, it should keep artists entertained all day long. In addition, there will be an exhibit opening from 5 to 7 p.m. of plein air paintings, produced at the VIC previously, by Saranac Lake artist Sandra Hildreth and Tupper Lake artist, Nancy Brossard. A CD release party for Celia Evans will follow.
Saturday, the artists will be free to choose their own painting locations. Watch for cars pulled off the road at scenic spots, or check in at event headquarters, the Adirondack Artists Guild in Saranac Lake for maps and directions to suggested painting locations.
A Show and Sale will be held in the Harrietstown Town Hall, on Main Street at the major intersection in Saranac Lake at noon on Sunday. Each artist will be invited to exhibit three framed paintings created at the festival. Ann Larsen, a nationally known plein air painter, will be the juror of awards and those awards will be presented at 1 p.m. There is no admission charge and most works will be for sale. The Plein Air Festival is a perfect opportunity to take home a one-of-a-kind work of art that was created "on the spot".
For more information, visit the Adirondack Artists' Guild, 52 Main St., Saranac Lake, call them at 518-891-2615 or visit saranaclakeartworks.com/pleinair.