August is art month in Vermont, which we celebrate in the Mad River Valley with the month-long Vermont Festival of the Arts. The Vermont Festival of the Arts is a 120 event celebration. It includes exhibits, performances, workshops, events, and demonstrations of all kinds. Art lovers of all stripes will be in heaven at this multi-media, multi-dimensional, art extravaganza.
One of the more fascinating events on the schedule each year is is the Great Vermont Plein Air Festival.
In case you’re not familiar with the term “plein air,” it refer to a specific kind of painting. “En plein air” is French for “in the open air” and that’s what plein air painting is all about: painting out of doors. More than that, plein air painting is a challenge to capture the essence of a scene before the light changes. Paintings rendered “en plein air” often have a sense of urgency and excitement to them as the artist raced against the movement of the sun and clouds to finish the piece.
Plein air painting surged in popularity in the mid-1800’s. The introduction of paint tubes and the box easel made painting a much more portable practice. The plein air approach is an important component of the impressionism, practiced by artists like Monet and Renoir.
The Great Vermont Plein Air Festival follows upon this tradition with artists setting up their easels across the Mad River Valley. And you can watch! Come see the painters work against the light to capture the best of the Mad River Valley’s iconic landscape: covered bridges, quaint farms, rolling hills, and village greens.
Attendees to the Plein Air Festival are encouraged to respectfully and quietly watch the artistic process. Of course, some artists enjoy speaking with guests, so feel free to engage them if they indicate they don’t mind. There’s nothing quite like watching a paining coming to life right before your very eyes!
Perhaps best of all, the finished paintings will be displayed at the Great Vermont Plein Air Paint-Out Sidewalk Art Show and Sale the afternoon of August 12th. Now you’ll have the opportunity to view all the paintings of the festival. While not every painting created during the festival will be for sale, a great many will, along with others. Imagine owning a piece of art you saw being created in the very place it depicts.
2017 Great Vermont Plein Air Festival
August 11th and 12th, 2017 – 9am to 5pm
Waitsfield Village, VT
Plein Air Art Show and Sale
August 12th, 3pm – Bridge Street, Waitsfield
Visit valleyartsvt.com for more information.
Plein Air Festival Lodging
No matter what it is that brings you out to Vermont’s Green Mountains, West Hill House B&B would love to be your home away from home. Our Warren area B&B is a certified Green Hotel, 100% solar-powered, and has four different EV charging stations. We also offer delicious breakfasts, lush, quiet grounds just across the road from the Sugarbush Golf Course, and a Quaich Single Malt Scotch bar. Reserve your room at West Hill House B&B today!