Steamboat Art Museum to host 50 plein air artists |

Steamboat Art Museum to host 50 plein air artists

As part of Steamboat Art Museum’s annual plein air art competition, 50 plein air artists can be seen painting throughout the week at various locations throughout the Yampa Valley.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — In order to see accurate color, David Harms, Plein Air Painters of America artist, learned he had to paint outdoors.

“Not only are you trying to capture something in a limited amount of time," Harms said, "but you're also trying to capture the visual essence and express on canvas the feeling of that time and place."

The Steamboat Art Museum will host 50 artists who will venture throughout Routt County searching for their scene that will soon be recreated on canvas.

As part of Steamboat Art Museum's annual plein air art competition, the artists can be seen throughout the week at various locations around the Yampa Valley including Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp on Monday, Catamount Lake on Tuesday, along Lincoln Avenue on Wednesday and Hayden on Thursday.

Steamboat Art Museum Executive Director Betse Grassby said 13 of the artists are from Steamboat, 26 are from Colorado outside of the area and 12 from as far as Florida, California, Minnesota, Wyoming and Texas.

Each artist's vision will be judged Friday, Sept. 29 at the Artists’ Reception and Awards Ceremony starting at 5 p.m. in the McNab Gallery. At the reception, featured Steamboat Art Museum artist John Fawcett will judge the paintings and award prizes to the artists.

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The Steamboat Art Museum Quick Draw event will get underway at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 30. It features a competition in which artists will have only two hours to work on paintings that will then be hung and judged for an opportunity to win cash prizes and honorable mention awards from Historic Routt County, Community Agriculture Alliance and Main Street Steamboat Springs. The event will also include a catered barbecue, bar and live music.

"Mostly, you're painting an atmosphere and a particular point in time that's constantly changing," said Fawcett. "There's never a dull moment."

While artists may have an idea of places in Steamboat they want to focus on, Fawcett said it’s whatever 'suits your fancy' in that moment.

"A lot of artists will be looking for the light and shadow and how that plays on the composition of subject they're painting," he said. "But the main thing is if it evokes a feeling with the viewer."

Harms said it helps to have a clear intention when capturing the design and values of the scene.

"If your concept or focal point isn’t defined right off, all the atmospheric changes that can occur painting outside will drive you insane," he said. "A good plein air painting has a spontaneity and economy of strokes that not only represents that visual essence and feeling of a scene but demonstrates a command and authority of the craft itself."

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey Dwyer1.



Where to find the Plein Air artists:

Monday, Sept. 25 | 8 a.m. to noon | Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp

Tuesday, Sept. 26 | 8 a.m. to noon | Catamount Lake

Wednesday, Sept. 27 | 8 a.m. to noon | Downtown, Lincoln Avenue

Thursday, Sept. 28| 8 a.m. to noon | Hayden


If you go…

What: Artists’ Reception and Awards Ceremony

When: 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29

Where: Steamboat Art Museum, 801 Lincoln Ave.


What: Quick Draw & BBQ

When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26

Where: Wolf Run Ranch, Routt County Road 33

Tickets: $35 per person, $50 for nonmembers,free for kids under 12. Available online or at Steamboat Art Museum or the Wild Horse Gallery.