Plein Air Painting Competition Returns to San Angelo for Tenth Year

by Glasstire October 1, 2023

The San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, a collecting institution on the bank of the Concho River, will host the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the painting competition EnPleinAirTEXAS from October 20 through 28.

A photograph of a handful of painters with easels painting en plein air near a pond with waterlilies.

Artists painting waterlilies at “EnPleinAirTexas”

 According to a press release from the museum, “this international juried competition brings artists from across the nation and world to paint in San Angelo and its countryside ‘en plein air,’ the French term for painting in the outdoors.” Thirty-five artists, including seven Texans and one from as far away as London, will participate in this tin anniversary iteration of the contest. Celebrated Wyoming-born landscape painter Kathryn Mapes Turner selected this year’s group of artists from a large pool of applicants. 

Over the course of the weeklong competition, the artists will paint at a variety of locations in and around San Angelo. These spots include a car and motorcycle show downtown on Wednesday, October 25, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Via the press release, the artists, “who will be painting downtown all day along Concho Street and the Concho River, will bring their paints and easels to 2nd Street that evening, where the cars and motorcycles will serve as their subject matter. The car show is free and open to the public.” 

Meanwhile, a schedule of ticketed special events, including a luncheon with defending champion Suzie Baker of Shenandoah, TX, can be found via the festival’s website here

Michael R. Grauer, who is the McCasland Chair of Cowboy Culture and Curator of Cowboy Collections & Western Art at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, will serve as judge. Mr. Grauer’s other positions include president, Western Cattle Trail Association; vice-president, International Chisholm Trail Association; board member, the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame; board member, the National Drovers Hall of Fame; research committee member, National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Fort Worth; Charles M. Russell catalogue raisonne committee member; board member and executive committee member, Westerners International. He previously worked at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and also as a curator at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas.

The festivities will culminate with the Stampede Awards Party & Sale on Friday, October 27 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m, when around 300 fresh paintings from the week will be on display and for sale. Tickets are $100 and include a $100 credit toward the purchase of an artwork. Mr. Grauer will present over $25,000 in awards to the artists. 

The following morning, Saturday, October 28, there will be a free and open-to-the public paint-out at the Chicken Farm Art Center from 9 a.m until noon. Free art packets and art scavenger hunt cards will be available for, according to the festival website, “anyone wishing to paint for fun!” Mr. Grauer will present awards in the Competition Artist and Open Category during this ultimate event.

For more information, visit the event’s website.

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