Art Alliance of Idyllwild presents the Idyllwild Plein Air Competition

The Idyllwild Plein Air Competition invites artists to paint outdoors June 9-11 in an event sponsored by the Art Alliance of Idyllwild. Courtesy image

IDYLLWILD – The Idyllwild Plein Air Competition, sponsored by the Art Alliance of Idyllwild, begins 6:30 p.m. Friday, June 9, when visitors and artists may attend a free live-painting demonstration by well-known plein air artist, Rich Stergulz and continues through June 11. The demonstration will take place at the Grand Idyllwild Lodge, 54620 Pinecrest Road. Space is limited, and seats must be reserved by visiting

The Art Alliance of Idyllwild will hold a plein air competition awarding cash prizes. Plein air painting is painting done outdoors in the plain air. The competition is limited to 25 artists, who will be painting in and around the scenic mountain community of Idyllwild. Artists will be allowed to paint from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., when they must submit their painting, along with one additional painting, to the Middle Ridge Winery Tasting Gallery, 54301 N. Circle Drive.

The paintings will be judged immediately and become available for sale during a wine and cheese reception that evening. Featuring the participating artists, the reception will be open to the public, starting 5:30 p.m. at Middle Ridge Winery. The opportunity to congratulate the winners and mingle with the artists while enjoying a glass of wine is sure to be a fun and exciting event. Cash prizes will be awarded to the winners: $300 for first place, $200 for second place and $100 for third place. The gallery will stay open thru Sunday, June 11, for viewing.

Many local galleries and hot spots will be featuring live-painting demonstrations during the weekend. Visit the Art Alliance of Idyllwild website for more details on where these events will take place.

Plein Air painting is derived from the French “en plein air” which means simply “outdoors.” The first painters credited with painting “en plein air” were the French artists of the Barbizon School impressionist period when painters such as Rousseau from 1812-1867 rejected the conventions that stressed studio painting even when painting landscapes. These artists immersed themselves in nature and “chased the light” for a period of two hours or so while painting outdoors. Generally, one can determine the time of day in a plein air painting by the light and shadows. In California, plein air painting became popular in the beginning of the 20th century, with a resurgence of interest starting in 1995 in Laguna Beach, California, with the founding of the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association. For more information, visit

For interested artists, online registration is required. Visit The deadline is for registering is 5 p.m. May 27.

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