Is there any purer method of landscape painting than plein air? If there's any doubt, visit Zion National Park this week to watch some of the best landscape artists at work in the 2nd annual In the Footsteps Of Thomas Moran contest.
Moran, of course, was that artistic giant of the late 19th century whose depictions of Yellowstone led Congress to create the world's first national park.
At Zion, the Zion National Park Foundation "recognizes Thomas Moran’s impact on the history of the national parks and in keeping with that tradition is sponsoring the second plein air art invitational" in Moran's name.
Throughout this first week of November, 22 nationally known artists are at work in Zion capturing much the same landscapes that Moran did.
November 1 – 4: “In the Footsteps of Thomas Moran” Plein Air Invitational
Click here for map to locations
November 5: Noon – Quick Draw, auction to follow
Location-Zion Human History Museum
November 5: 7:00 p.m. – By-Invitation Festivity & Wet Paint Sale
November 6 – 7: Public Wet Paint Sale
Location-Zion Nature Center
The places where Moran painted in Zion Canyon have changed to some extent since he visited in 1873. The Virgin River has twisted and turned, and trees have grown or toppled during the past 137 years, but seven sites where Moran painted in the park have been pin-pointed from previously unpublished sketches and watercolors. During the week invited artists will paint in these locations and interested visitors will be provided site maps for these locations and other “Outside the Footsteps” sites to observe these fine artists from Monday, November 1, through Thursday, November 4, 2010.
A quick draw event will be held on Friday, November 5, at noon for one hour at the Zion Human History Museum. This will be a unique opportunity for visitors to watch great artists paint from blank canvas to finished piece. The quick draw artwork will be auctioned off immediately following the event in the lodge auditorium.
The week will culminate with a wet paint sale on Friday evening in the Zion National Park Nature Center. Each of the Invitational artists will have created three to five pieces of art during the week. The wet paint sale will continue to the public throughout the weekend.
Proceeds for the week-long event will benefit the Zion National Park Foundation, in particular the Human History Museum’s gallery, and art education in the Park.
While at Zion, Thomas Moran completed a number of sketches and studies of the landscape, which inspired him to create illustrations and paintings of Zion throughout his life. Revealing the same enthusiasm for Zion as Moran, the 22 Invitational artists will be hosted in an exhibition of their Zion plein air and studio paintings at the Human History Museum from October 13 through November 29.
This year's participating artists include:
* Mark Graham, Utah