GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - Plein air is fine art terminology meaning the quality of light and atmosphere out of doors, especially this quality as rendered in painting. This term is characterized by the representation of the luminous effects of natural light and atmosphere as contrasted with the artificial light and absence of the sense of air or atmosphere associated with paintings produced inside a studio.
In other words, plein air is designating a painting executed outdoors and representing a direct response to the scene or subject in front of the artist.
From Sept. 8-12, visitors to the Grand Canyon will have the opportunity to watch artists paint plein air as they seek to represent the shifting light and shadow, amazing landforms and vibrant colors of this vast landscape.
The Grand Canyon Association (GCA) is pleased to announce the fourth annual Grand Canyon Celebration of Art at Grand Canyon National Park from Sept. 8 - Nov. 25, with an opening reception Sept. 15 from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. at historic Kolb Studio at the South Rim. This event features 26 artists from around the country who have created a studio piece for the exhibition and will paint plein air during the week before the exhibit opens.
"The artists arrive at the Canyon on the eighth of Sept. and spend a whole week painting on the rim. They can go and pick what viewpoints they like and what images they want to capture," said Miriam Robbins, GCA director of communications and publishing. "Then we have a big event on Friday [Sept. 14] where all the painters get together and they do a 'quick draw' on the rim, which is pretty exciting. They'll have two hours to paint from start to finish, one painting. And they do it, it's amazing. They'll do a really great landscape piece of the Canyon in two hours."
These "quick draw" paintings will then all be auctioned off at Kolb Studio, where the rest of the artists' pieces created during this first week will be on display and available for purchase as well.
Long before there was color photography, artists like Thomas Moran and Gunner Widfoss contributed to capturing the beauty and mystery of the Grand Canyon through art. It was their paintings that helped communicate to the world the need for preservation of such a special place.
In 2009, the Grand Canyon Association rejuvenated this idea and brought artists to the South Rim for a week of painting and appreciation of art in the Canyon. Today, Celebration of Art exposes tens of thousands of people to live artist renderings at Grand Canyon. It has become the model for outdoor art events in National Parks.
Artists will be at the North and South Rims, and for the first time this year inside the Canyon as well at Phantom Ranch and Indian Garden.
"If you happen to see an artist painting, you can go up, look at what they're doing and talk to them. They're definitely approachable," Robbins said. "We don't have a restriction on where they can go, what's interesting this year is that for the first time we have artists painting in Grand Canyon. So if people happen to be hiking down to Indian Garden or Phantom Ranch they can see them there. And then every afternoon at about 4 p.m., throughout the week that they're painting, an artist is going to be doing a live demonstration right in front of El Tovar."
These plein air demonstrations will be along the rim adjacent to El Tovar at 4 p.m. from Sept. 8-12. Artist plein air demonstrations will be at the North Rim Lodge at 5:30 p.m. from Sept. 9-12. On Sept. 13 from dawn until 10 a.m. artists will be painting along the South Rim between Mather Point and Kolb Studio, followed by a special evening presentation at the Shrine of Ages at 7 p.m.
The "quick draw" competition will be on Sept. 14 from 9-11 a.m. with artists painting along the South Rim between Mather Point and Kolb Studio. Following the quick draw competition will be the auction of the paintings at noon on the north lawn of El Tovar. The evening closes out with a buyer's preview and awards reception at Kolb Studio from 7-9 p.m.
"The first week ends with such a nice variety of types of paintings at the end of the process. The artists will be out there all day, everyday," said Robbins. "They work at their own pace and some can get anywhere from four or five pieces done, and others do almost 10. They do produce quite a bit though."
The opening reception and awards ceremony will be held Sept. 15 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Kolb Studio.
Also new this year, from Sept. 16-21, award-winning artist Linda Glover Gooch will teach a Grand Canyon Field Institute/Scottsdale Artists' School Plein Air Painting Workshop on the South Rim.
Exhibition and sale of artwork will be from Sept. 15-Nov. 25 at Kolb Studio. Kolb Studio is located along the Rim Trail in Grand Canyon Village, 200 yards west of Bright Angel Lodge.
Proceeds from this event will support the goal of funding an art venue at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. This permanent home will ensure that future generations of park visitors will be able to view the stunning art collection in the Grand Canyon National Park Museum and Grand Canyon Association Collections.
Arizona Public Service and the Grand Canyon Association, with major support from the Gumbo Foundation and Xanterra Parks and Resorts, present the fourth annual Grand Canyon Celebration of Art. Xanterra Parks and Resorts will cater the opening reception.
For more information, updates, and a full listing of all artists visit www.grandcanyon.org/celebration.asp or contact Kathy Duley at (480) 277-0458 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional information about the Grand Canyon Association and its programs visit www.grandcanyon.org.