Marble Falls Paint the Town Now a Week Long
MARBLE FALLS — One goal of Highland Lakes Creative Arts in regard to the annual Paint the Town is to transform it into a nationally recognized plein air event. Members took steps toward that in previous years, including making it a juried competition, which means they invited artists to participate, and adding nationally recognized judges to the mix.
This year, organizers are making Paint the Town a weeklong celebration of plein air and the arts.
“We’re expanding it to a full week,” said Janey Rives of Highland Lakes Creative Arts. “This is a movement that is growing across the country — making this show and competition a week long instead of a couple of days. And, we have a lot spread out over the week for the artists and the public.”
Paint the Town is Sunday, April 29, through Saturday, May 5. While the epicenter is downtown Marble Falls and Lakeside Pavilion (May 3-5), the artists are definitely taking advantage of the rest of the Highland Lakes.
If you’re new to the area or just haven’t heard of Paint the Town, here’s a brief description. During the event, artists from across the country — as far away as Maine and California — head for Marble Falls with their easels, canvases, and paints. Their main plan is to simply set up outside and paint the scenes in front of them.
Plein air is basically painting outside instead of in a studio or similar setting. Rives pointed out that, prior to widespread use of photography, outdoor painting was how most people learned about the beauty and majesty of the natural world, even the early United States. Artists such as John James Audubon, Albert Bierstadt, Charles M. Russell, and Frederick Remington — to name a few — captured the natural beauty of early America as well as Native Americans and settlers with brush and canvas. These paintings helped inform, and inspire, many people about the world beyond their doors.
Paintings, along with early photography, helped drive the creation of Yellowstone National Park. Thomas Moran’s 1872 painting, “The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone,” which depicts one of the lower falls in an area that is now part of the national park, really captured the nation’s attention.
Paint the Town, which invited 40 artists to participate this year, is also a competition. The artists will submit their works, painted here in the Highland Lakes, for judging by 11 a.m. Friday, May 4. Then, the judge, Suzie Baker, will go to work to determine the winners. Along with judging, Baker, a nationally known plein air artist, will give a lecture and demonstration at 11:30 a.m. Friday at Lakeside Pavilion, 307 Buena Vista Drive.
While the competition portion of the event (there are several public activities) is limited to invited artists, Paint the Town is really a celebration of the beauty of the Highland Lakes and Marble Falls, which many residents might overlook because they see it all the time.
“We may see a building or field every day, but not really see it. These artists paint our town like they see it,” Rives said. “I think it’s an opportunity for our community to see things we see every day through the eyes of these artists.”
The artists will begin arriving as early as Saturday, April 28, but Paint the Town officially begins Sunday, April 29, with formal registration and a reception for the artists. On Monday, April 30, you’ll begin seeing artists setting up easels around the area as it’s a free paint day for them.
The first big event is Artist at Candlelight Ranch from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday, May 1. The event is open to the public and a great chance to see many of the artists in one location. The ranch is located east of Marble Falls at 6408 Muleshoe Bend Trail.
The next day, Rives said the artists will focus on sunrise and nocturne painting.
Things ratchet up on Thursday with Young Artists Day from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on the lower deck of River City Grille, 700 First St. During this event, students from several local schools will arrive for a chance to work side by side with professional artists.
“We really want to encourage young artists,” Rives said.
Highland Lakes Creative Arts also wants to get families involved and have set aside Saturday for many activities geared toward them. The Quick Draw, a timed painting event, is 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. for a $10 entrance fee. There also will be children’s painting stations. Both are open to the public.
While there several highlights during the week, a big one is the VIP Reception and Award Celebration from 6:30-9 p.m. Friday at Lakeside Pavilion. Tickets for the reception and celebration are $45 and available at hlcarts.com. No tickets will be sold at the door.
Some people might not see how an outdoor painting competition can be fun. Rives acknowledges this view but pointed out that talking to the artists is the best way to understand how interesting and fun plein art is.
Paint the Town competitors tend to be very willing to talk about their art and art in general, even if they’re working at their easels.
Plus, events such as Paint the Town remind people how important art is to everyone, not just artists.
“Art is important to all our lives,” Rives said. “It helps you see things differently. It broadens your perspective. It helps fulfill us as human beings. Art just gives so much to us.”
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