Paint-Out promises up-close look at artists at work

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By Sara Miller

A beautiful piece of art is a remarkable thing, with the ability to stir emotions in people simply through the act of viewing. To watch the creation of art is quite possibly even more amazing. Witnessing the techniques and creative process of individual artists is like looking through a window into the artist’s mind and heart. The Windows to the Divine Plein Air Invitational Paint-Out, set for Aug. 26-28 in Evergreen, will provide opportunities to observe the creation of art and to marvel at its beauty long after the work is complete.

“Our connection with Windows to the Divine started last year when we attended an exhibit at the MADDEN Museum in Greenwood Village,” says Barb Hadley, owner of Evergreen Fine Art. “The shows are fund-raisers for the Colorado Dominican Vocation Foundation.”

The CDVF is a nonprofit that celebrates the legacy of Fra Angelico, the patron of artists and a member of the Dominican Order, by supporting the vocation of artists. This year, Evergreen Fine Art, Southwest Art Magazine and the CDVF have teamed to host the ultimate artistic weekend.

The activities will kick off Thursday when 41 award-winning artists from 10 states gather to paint outdoors on location in Evergreen. Colorado artists such as Nikolo Balkanski, Kathy Beekman, Marin Dobson, Pem Dunn, Anita Mosher and Don Sahli will be part of this nationally recognized group. The artists will be scattered throughout town at places like Evergreen Lake and Highland Haven.

“We tried to select places where groups of painters can gather so that people can watch them work. We also wanted locations where the artists could stand and paint the mountains or maybe at the creek downtown,” says Hadley.

Pem Dunn, an Evergreen artist who will participate in the Paint-Out, spent last weekend scoping out the sites to select the location where he will paint.

“I like painting along streams. I usually find a smaller, intimate part of the stream where I can observe how the water goes over the rocks, how the light hits the water,” says Dunn.

Dunn will gather with other artists, many of whom are members of the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters, to complete new works during the three-day event. On Friday afternoon, several artists will paint live models from the Colorado Ballet Studio Company at Evergreen Fine Art.

The culmination of the three-day event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 28. From 9 to 10:30 a.m., the invited artists will paint works in and around Evergreen Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden. The session is called a Quick Draw, during which artists must create a piece from start to finish in 90 minutes.

Select works from the Quick Draw will be framed and taken to a tent on the gallery grounds. At 10:30, a ticketed champagne brunch will take place in the tent. Attendees can watch artists Kathy Anderson and Stephanie Birdsall square off for a “Dueling Paintbrushes” demonstration — both creating paintings of the same subject simultaneously.

Representatives from Southwest Art Magazine will announce awards for the plein air show, and attendees will have the opportunity to bid on the Quick Draw paintings at a live and silent auction during the brunch.

In addition to the 40 works to be auctioned at the Quick Draw, more than 100 additional plein air works from the invited artists will be exhibited for sale in the gallery during September.

“There are some really wonderful artists participating in this event,” says Dunn. “I think people are going to be really impressed with the quality of art that these artists can produce, especially during the Quick Draw event. I’m honored to be part of such an esteemed group.”

For more information, visit www.evergreenfineart.com. Tickets may be purchased online at www.cdvf.org. The Paint-Out is a fund-raiser for the Colorado Dominican Vocation Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization.

Sara Miller, a freelance writer and a resident of Evergreen, lives with her husband, two children and a dog.