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Painting starts Monday for Plein Air Festival

Artists from across the country will paint the town next week for the Plein Air Festival. From left, Stacy Rogers of Delaware, Nancy Brossard of Lake Clear and Chris Ripa of Maryland paint pictures on the bridge over the Saranac River between Dorsey Street and the village parking lot In August 2018. (Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

SARANAC LAKE — Artists will descend on the village to paint the buildings, people and landscapes next week.

As a part of the Plein Air Festival, 50 hand-picked, professional artists will be armed with brushes, paints and easels to capture the Adirondacks, according to Sandra Hildreth, who helped start the festival in Saranac Lake. There are separate plein air painting festivals around the country.

Starting Monday, artists will paint areas around the Adirondacks. Each day will feature a different theme and location, although what has to be painted can vary. The painters who were selected to come will be found around state Route 3, Lake Clear, Paul Smiths and Saranac Lake.

On Thursday, some painters will be at the Waterhole to paint some of the people who attend the free Party on the Patio concert, according to Hildreth.

The hours will also vary. People will paint from dawn to dusk, and even into the darkest hours of the night. Some artists prefer to paint at 2 a.m. because of the solitude, according to Hildreth.

Each artist typically makes two to three paintings a day. They have to work fast as the light changes so quickly, according to Hildreth.

The event began 11 years ago, and in its first year it started slowly, according to Hildreth. Twenty-seven artists came and no paintings were bought. Now, artists have to be selected to come, and people come from all over to buy the paintings that are made — some spend over $1,000, according to Hildreth.

“It got so big we had to do that to keep the number under control,” Hildreth said of why 50 were selected.

On Friday in the Harrietstown Town Hall on 39 Main St., there will be a reception and awards given out to some of the artists. Those who attend — there will be a $20 fee — will be the first to purchase the paintings that were made over the week. Hildreth said that somewhere between 300 and 400 paintings will be made.

On Saturday, the public will have an opportunity to view the paintings for free and purchase some if they wish.