Idyllwild becomes a vibrant outdoor art studio

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Karlis Dabols works on his second painting of the day near the creek at Wilder Cabins on South Circle on Saturday during the Art Alliance of Idyllwild’s Sizzling Summer Plein Air event in 2015. Photo by Jenny Kirchner

Art Alliance presents Plein Air 2017

For one weekend annually, painters create art outdoors in four designated gardens and in other locations throughout Idyllwild, taking advantage of the bold blue skies and vibrant light the mountain location provides.

Beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 10, 25 painters will paint in plein air, (French for “open air”), transforming Idyllwild into an open-air art studio.

Painters will paint outdoor scenesin their medium of choice – oils, pastels, or watercolors – competing in the Art Alliance of Idyllwild’s Plein Air 2017 Festival.

Painters must finish by 2 p.m., providing an ample six hour window for residents and visitors to stroll through the village to watch participating artists at work. Additional artists will be creating art at galleries and Art Hot Spots throughout the downtown core from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The plein air movement began in the mid to late 19th century by French impressionists who sought to capture on canvas the dazzling nuances of natural outdoor light.

The plein air movement grew in popularity with the introduction of paint in tubes, which eliminated the need for artists to grind and mix dry pigment powders with linseed oil to create paint.

Plein Air 2017 kicks off at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 9 at the Grand Idyllwild Lodge with a live painting demonstration by celebrated guest artist Rich Stergulz.

Based in Murrieta, Stergulz teaches plein air painting and paints on commission.  His work is found in prestigious private collections and is widely exhibited in galleries throughout Southern California.

Brad and Jacki Rechtfertig, Grand Idyllwild Lodge owners, host the live painting event. Only 50 seats are available. Check in begins at 6:30 and Stergulz’s demonstration begins at 7. Parking at the Lodge parking lot is reserved for Lodge guests, with some spaces available for handicap parking. Attendees are asked to park along North Circle or Pinecrest and walk up to the Lodge.

Although free, seating is limited and online registration is required to reserve seats for Stergulz’s demonstration. During this hour long tutorial, Stergulz will share tips and techniques about the craft of plein air painting.

On Saturday, after competing painters finish at 2 p.m., judges will review the work of contestants and determine winners. From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. competition winners will be announced at an artist reception at Middle Ridge Winery Tasting Gallery on North Circle Dr. The upstairs gallery will feature finished artwork of each participating artist and all art will be for sale.

On Sunday, from noon to 4 p.m., Middle Ridge will continue to display contest art. For more information about Plein Air 2017 visit www.artinidyllwild.org.

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