Elaine Matthews of Rancho Mirage paints in plein air at a previous AAI event. File photo
Elaine Matthews of Rancho Mirage paints in plein air at a previous AAI event.
File photo

The Art Alliance of Idyllwild stages its first double-feature art event on the weekend of June 13 and 14. Called the Sizzling Summer Plein Air and Working Artist Gallery Tour, the event pairs events previously held on separate weekends.

Visitors and residents may view artists painting outdoors from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday in a style popularized by French impressionists in the mid- to late-19th century. Called plein air painting, the movement extolled the virtues of painting outdoors in natural light rather than in a studio.

AAI artists also will be creating art at participating galleries. Gallery owners provide both gallery tours and refreshments for visitors.

Featured art will be exhibited at host venue Wilder Cabins from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday, June 14.

Plein-air painters, competing for AAI judged awards, register for the event and often come from both on and off the Hill. They choose where they will paint and have all day Saturday, June 13, to complete the piece they will enter in the competition. In past years, plein-air painters have drawn appreciative crowds gathered to watch each brushstroke.

Gerry High, Working Artist Tour coordinator. Photo by Marshall Smith
Gerry High, Working Artist Tour coordinator.
Photo by Marshall Smith

AAI Director Gerry High is heading the gallery event component and listed the following galleries as participants: Artspresso Gallery, Cafe Aroma, Courtyard Gallery, Everitt’s Minerals and Gallery, Florist in the Forest, Four Corners at Fern Valley Emporium, Idyll Awhile Wine Shoppe Bistro, Oh My Dog Gallery and The Spruce Moose. High noted there may be more galleries participating by the time of the event.

AAI Vice President for Membership Erin O’Neill heads the plein air event. Wilder Cabins at 54550 S. Circle Drive is the host location, serving both as a site at which plein-air artists can paint and as the venue for the Sunday champagne brunch and awards ceremony. O’Neill noted the Wilder setting is perfect for plein air painting given its cozy ambience and historic nature. She also thanked Wilder Cabins owner Pat Wilder Litfin for her generous offer to donate all cabin weekend rentals during the event to the AAI scholarship fund for art education.

“The AAI is passionate about continuing to grow our town’s reputation as an arts destination,” said O’Neill. “Idyllwild’s reputation as one of the top 100 arts towns in the country was hard won and we are committed to staging events and incorporating all the arts, not just the visual arts, to grow that reputation.”

Said board President Shanna Robb, “By merging the two events, plein-air artists who will be competing for prize money will be joined by many of our Art Alliance artists working at our galleries and at key locations around town.” Robb noted that only plein-air artists will be eligible for prize money, but that all participating gallery artists will be featured at the Sunday show and brunch at Wilder Cabins.
The event, including the Sunday brunch, is free to the public. Gallery maps will be available at the AAI tent near the town monument from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 13.

For more information about the event, including registration for plein-air artists, visit www.artinidyllwild.org.