Hill City’s “Plein Air Paint Out” brings out artists inspired to draw the beauty of nature

Artist Tim Peterson’s expertise will be on hand for this week’s Plein Air art competition
Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 3:05 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The Hill City Plein Air Paint Out this weekend will gather artists together to paint the beautiful landscape of the Black Hills, from the prairie to the mountains, from the lakes and streams to the wildlife peeking out from the haze of the skies to the rich history of South Dakota. Plein Air Paint Out artist’s daily work will be on full display this weekend in Hill City through Saturday, September 24th at 1:30 p.m.

Artist extraordinaire and Spearfish resident Tim Peterson and Kirstie Van Bogart, President of Hill City Arts Council explain what plein air painting is, “it simply means painting outside. A few conditions come into play to accomplish this seemingly simple pursuit. The artist must first find a suitable subject to render and may consider a number of variables before putting paint to canvas. As the work is done outside in front of the subject, weather conditions are a prime concern.”

Peterson says most paintings will take around two hours to complete and a lot can change in two hours outside. Wind can take an easel down, rain can end a painting session without notice, and bugs and critters of every size and demeanor can make life difficult. The movement of the sun and subsequent shadows can completely change the nature of the composition in a very short time. Bogart says experienced artists have learned to “button down” those elements integral to the work quickly before the changes take place. The artist also needs to know what supplies and gear to bring especially if a hike to a location is involved.

Peterson and Van Bogart add that not every plein-air painting is a masterpiece. The real reward of plein air painting is the time spent in a deep study of nature and developing the focus and skill set required to render what the artist sees. Years after completing a work, many artists are able to recall exactly where they were, what the weather was like, and other small details about a single painting.

Peterson who has participated in over 40 Plein Air competitions winning over 2 dozen awards will be one of the jurors of the Plein Air competition in Hill City. Van Bogart says there will be an Artists Reception on September 22 at the Jon Crane Gallery which is open to the Public from 6:30-8p. The artist’s work may be purchased. People’s Choice balloting is distributed to attendees at the Reception and the Award will be presented at 7:30 p.m. with $2,000 in awards, Quick Draw (2-1/2 hr plein air painting) is Saturday from 9-11:30 a.m. with a live auction following at 12:30 p.m. in the Old World Market, Main Street, Hill City. For the full 2023 Schedule of Plein Air events schedule, please visit Hill City Arts.

Watch the video above for the full interview.