Traverse City Record-Eagle

July 26, 2013

On your mark, get set, paint

BY CYMBRE FOSTER Special to the Record-Eagle
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — GLEN ARBOR — David Westerfield will be among dozens of artists who will take to the hills of the Glen Arbor area Saturday, Aug. 3, with easel, brushes and paints.

Their goal: to find an idyllic setting and spend part of the day trying to capture a moment in a Leelanau landscape as part of the fifth annual Plein Air Paint Out. Later that afternoon they’ll bring their work back to the Glen Arbor Art Association, which organizes the event, for matting and framing for a “wet sale” fundraiser that evening.

“The artists check in at 7:30 a.m. and head out, although each has a time they prefer to work,” said Linda Young, who started the Paint Out and chairs the weekend event. “They might be drawing, using acrylics, watercolors, and they take off to their favorite location. Because time is of the essence, they mostly stay in the Glen Arbor Sleeping Bear Dunes area.”

Westerfield, who lives in the Chicago area but often visits Leelanau County to paint, said he has been participating in the Paint Out since the first or second event. He is inspired by the landscape and particularly loves to paint the dunes and the old farmsteads dotting the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and the way the light lays on the land.

“I like the shoreline, the sunlight on the dunes, the history, but it’s more the light than anything else,” he said.

Westerfield isn’t the only one who loves to capture a moment. When registration for the Paint Out opened this year the 60 openings filled in 36 hours, said Young. All are artists who don’t mind working under the gun.

“A lot of times you can do your best work under pressure,” Westerfield said. “There’s no time to second-guess yourself.”

Young said the fundraiser nets some $10,000-$12,000 for the arts organization. It also raises money for its artists, who range from seasoned veterans to novices who have never sold their work.

“In the first year, 30 artists sold three-quarters of the artwork that night and we were astonished. From there it’s just grown and grown and grown,” she said. “We had one artist who made her first sale at this event and she was thrilled. Sometimes people are just captivated by a new artist and it also validates them as an artist. It’s my favorite part of the night.”

The Paint Out weekend begins Friday afternoon with “Artists Paint the Town.” Artists will warm up with a two-and-a-half hour Quick Draw painting session all over Glen Arbor. Visitors will be able to stroll around the village and watch them work, then buy the paintings “off the easel” from 6-7 p.m. at the Glen Arbor Town Hall.

Artists receive 70 percent of each sale, with the remainder benefiting the Glen Arbor Art Association.

Saturday’s artists may get up to two works framed. Then a crew of volunteers quickly puts the exhibit together for the sale and reception, which includes wine sampling and appetizers. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. at the Glen Arbor Town Hall.

“We ring a gong and you can purchase art,” Young said. “If two people want the same painting, we draw straws. It’s a very exciting time.”

A judge juries the show, which also features a People’s Choice Award.

“Invariably a really good painting is chosen,” Young said.

The Paint Out weekend goes on rain or shine. For more information, call the Glen Arbor Art Association at 334-6112.