Plein Air Painters of New Mexico add a splash color over three cultural sites in Taos

By Tamra Testerman
Posted 7/25/19

Imagine a day in the life of a plein air painter, a French phrase (en plein air) which means "outdoors." You have your tools, and a subject to capture on your canvas. Take this …

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Plein Air Painters of New Mexico add a splash color over three cultural sites in Taos


Imagine a day in the life of a plein air painter, a French phrase (en plein air) which means "outdoors." You have your tools, and a subject to capture on your canvas. Take this scenario a step further and imagine there are only a few hours to begin and finish the work, and then you must step aside and your painting will be professionally judged.

This is what artists who take part in "The Historic Studios Paint-out" will experience. It is a celebration of 100 years of the Blumenschein Home and Museum, and a cooperative effort among Plein Air Painters of New Mexico, Taos Art Museum at Fechin House and the Couse-Sharp Historic Site. There will be an exhibit of 50 paintings selected from the paint-out, which will be featured during an opening reception and awards ceremony planned Saturday (July 27) from 3-5 p.m. at the Blumenschein Home and Museum, 222 Ledoux Street.

The exhibition and sales will continue through Aug. 31. Libations and nibbles will be on hand for the event. There is no charge to attend.

Dick Wimberly, the PAPNM president, said, "Anyone may come to the paint-outs at the museum locations July 24 to 26 to watch artists paint or attend the opening reception on Saturday the 27 from 3 to 5 p.m. Paintings can be bought off the easel right away if one speaks to you - we will label it as sold. However, it will need to be entered in the competition and a buyer might find that they have already purchased an award winner. We will hang the show salon-style because of the amount submitted. Over 50 paintings. It will be an amazing show of many talents and styles."

Tempo interviewed Wimberly about the serendipity behind the evolution of the event. Here is what he shared.

What makes a successful paint-out?The focus here is on camaraderie and having a relaxed fun time in Taos painting.

How did it come to be the Historic Studios paint-out come to be?

As PAPNM's 2019 president I went to the Fechin earlier this year to discuss the upcoming Juried Members Small Works Show with museum director Christy Schoedinger-Coleman. During our discussion we spoke about having a paint-out on the Fechin grounds and she suggested I contact the other museums as Taos is a small community that can work together.

After contacting Davison Pachard Koenig of Couse-Sharp Historic site, and Margo Beutler Gins of Taos Historic Museums there was an overwhelming acceptance of a paint-out at all locations. These serendipity meetings now meant PAPNM had four locations, Fechin, Couse-Sharp, Martínez Hacienda and E.L. Blumenschein home for paint-outs on July 24, 25, 26, so it only made sense to have an exhibition.

In keeping with the previous theme at the Fechin, it is a small paintings show, with 8-by-10 inch or 80 square inches the maximum accepted size. Entrance was offered first to artists juried into the Fechin show. Any artist wishing to compete for prizes in the show must have paid the $40 for PAPNM membership and then a $20 entry fee. After three days of painting, each participant may enter one painting in the competition.

Are painters required to paint a particular subject, or place?

Registered artists will paint on the grounds of these historic museums and studios. Painters may paint clouds, people, flowers, etc., from those locations. They may paint on any of the grounds any of the specified days - gates will be open at 8 a.m. In addition, Taos Art Museum at Fechin house will have a still life set up for those interested in pursuing a "Fechin inspired" still life.

How did you select the juror for the competition - what were you looking for?

Louis Escobedo is a top-ranked national award-winning artist whose paintings are alive with vivid colors. Images of Louis' paintings so vibrant with color made us think of Taos. In addition, he does not restrict himself to landscapes [and] gives us a well-rounded judge.

Local artist and gallery owner Rob Nightingale, who is also a volunteer for the event, said this about the process the artists in this show will undergo and his own experience, 'I have found painting plein air to be challenging. Trying to capture the moment while the moment is ever-changing in terms of the changing light, clouds, etc. I have not taken part in a paint-out with others. [It] could intimidate some and also be inspirational to see all the different viewpoints and styles.'

For more information go to the PAPNM website


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