Thursday, April 30, 2015

Cedarburg Artists Guild Celebrates 15th Year of Plein Air Painting Competition


Quiet Morning
Best of Show 2015
Kathy Wheeler

Cedarburg Artists Guild Celebrates 15th Year of Plein Air Painting Competition
Premier 12-day Outdoor Painting Event Draws Nationally Recognized Artists to Paint Ozaukee County

Cedarburg, WI – Cedarburg’s Plein Air Event (June 17-June 28, 2015), the largest annual gathering of artists in Wisconsin, draws 150 artists from the comfort of their studios across the country to paint the picturesque towns, beautiful landscapes, breathtaking lake bluffs and quaint countryside of Ozaukee County, rain or shine, as they compete for more than $8,700 in cash prizes. The outdoor painting event culminates with a 3-day show and reception at the Cedarburg Cultural Center that is open to the public and free to attend. This is a unique opportunity for serious art collectors, casual art enthusiasts, tourists and residents to buy original art fresh off the easel.   The exhibit of 500+ paintings opens at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 26 with paintings immediately available for sale. The opening reception and award presentation is held that evening from 6-8pm, with most artists in attendance and special pricing for the public.
En plein air is a French expression that means "in the open air." In contrast to painting according to studio or academic rules, plein air painting brings the artists outdoors to capture the actual visual conditions seen at the time of the painting.
“If you’ve seen time lapse photography,” explained Mequon artist Pamela Ruschman, “you’ve experienced what we see as plein air artists – how dramatically sunlight, air movement, even the stirrings of wildlife can affect what seems like a static environment. But no camera can capture the full spectrum of colors we see when we are plein air painting.  What I see at 7am is nothing like what I or another artist will see at noon. What I capture from my easel is very different from what another artist will see from 10 feet to my right, or another 10 feet from his right, and so on. We are truly capturing a moment in time.”
Plein air painting began an artistic revolution in France in the late 1800s when painters would venture into nature to study and capture the effects sunlight and the changing times of day had on a subject. French Impressionist artists, such as Degas, Manet, Pissaro, Monet, Morisot and Renoir, sought to re-create the artist’s immediate visual impression of a scene with the use of unmixed primary colors and small strokes to simulate actual reflected light.

Tom Buchs

Today tens of thousands of artists around the world have taken to plein air painting, with participation in clubs, organizations and events growing every year.  About half of the artists participating in the Cedarburg Plein Air Event are from the four-county area; another 25% are from elsewhere in Wisconsin. The other 25% comes from as far away as Oregon, California, New Jersey and New York.
“The passion of the artists – and of the art itself – is extraordinary,” said event coordinator Anne Schoenenberger. “Many of our artists travel across the country, taking time away from family and work, to spend 12 days with good friends and fellow artists they see once a year. They don’t do it for the money, they don’t do it for the recognition – although they do appreciate both,” she added with a laugh. “Rather they do it simply because they love it, and because we’re able to provide a supportive community that values their time and talent.”
Throughout this year’s esteemed 12-day event, artists will set up easels in locations throughout Port Washington, Thiensville and Cedarburg, and produce more than 500 pieces of original art inspired by historic downtowns, creek side mills, village parks, scenic pastures, farmlands and more. On Thursday, June 25, the paintings will be submitted and judged. The paintings will be available for sale starting Friday, June 26 at 10 am, and sold throughout the weekend at the Cedarburg Cultural Center. Prizes will be awarded at the evening reception on Friday, June 26 at 6 pm.
As each piece sells, new work will be hung, ensuring a fresh collection of art throughout the weekend.  Prices range from as little as $75 for up-and-coming artists, to a few thousand dollars for nationally recognized artists.
 “It’s a magical moment when a piece of art speaks to someone - you can actually see a physical change in them when they’re emotionally engaged with a piece,” said Schoenenberger. “Whether it’s the subject matter – a familiar building, a scene that takes them back to childhood, something that evokes a feeling of warmth and comfort – you know they’re not going home without that painting.”
“Few events actually provide an opportunity to buy a piece of art – literally wet off the easel - of your own community, your own home town, sometimes even your own home – as seen through the eyes of an artist,” Schoenenberger continued. “If you’re lucky enough, you may even see the painting come to life before your eyes. That’s the magic of events like CPAE that bring plein air artists into a community.”
The CPAE differs from other plein air events in a number of ways. It is one of the longest running plein air events in the Midwest, and is organized mostly by plein air artists, which ensures that artists’ concerns remain at the forefront. The event draws three to five times the number of artists who attend most events, and at 12 days CPAE is the longest plein air event in the state (most average three to seven days). To be able to provide artwork at a full range of prices, the CPAE accepts the first 150 artists who apply, rather than limiting it to only juried artists.

Pamela Sweet

History of the CPAE
The Cedarburg Plein Air Event was started in June of 2001 by artist and event founder Sandra McCutcheon Pape, who had the vision to bring this event to Cedarburg, and members of the Cedarburg Artists Guild. Initially around 100 artists submitted 175 paintings, which were exhibited and sold at the Cedarburg Cultural Center.
In the beginning, Ozaukee Bank provided the funds for the “Best of Show” purchase award. Today, the Cedarburg Art Museum continues to provide the $2,500 purchase award, and has all fourteen Best of Show award winning paintings in their collection. The Museum exhibits these paintings annually in June/July.
Approximately 4,000 paintings have been exhibited since 2001, of which 1,500 have been sold. This is an amazing body of original art work that documents the changing face of Ozaukee County. Moved by the plein air paintings, local residents purchase 80+ percent of all paintings sold. Watching the artists painting on the streets has given the community an appreciation for plein air painting, as well as for the hard working, talented artists from around the country who have given this rare gift to the community. Each year about 50% of the buyers are first time collectors.
Every year Cedarburg’s Washington House Inn hosts daily Artist’s Socials free of charge to the participants. These socials have facilitated the camaraderie that the artists look forward to at the CPAE. Historically, a number of organizations and businesses have provided financial support, including but not limited to Port Washington State Bank, Festivals of Cedarburg, LS Research, North Shore Bank, P.J. Schmidt Investments, WI Plein Air Painters Assoc. and the Stage Coach Inn.

For more information about the Cedarburg Plein Air Event, visit, visit their blog at or contact Anne Schoenenberger at 262.228.6084. For information about the Cedarburg Artists Guild, please visit

Tom Nachreiner

Thursday, March 26, 2015

2015 Registration now Full!!

It's official! The 2015 Cedarburg Plein Air event registration for artists is closed at 150 participants. Our committee is working hard to bring the artists and surrounding communities a wonderful art experience. 

Artists: If you didn't register, you can still send in a registration form (no check please) to be placed on a waiting list. If accepted due to an artist cancellation, you will then be asked to send in a check. Looking forward to June 17 - 28!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Artists info: Canvas, Panel, Paper Size and Frame Clarification 2015

Canvas, Panel, Paper Size and Frame Clarification

We are notifying you of these clarifications to assist in planning and purchase of frames and materials.
  • The maximum material (canvas, panel, paper) size unframed is 320 square inches as stated in the Main EventProspectus. The 320 square inch rule applies only to the Main Event not the Quick Paint or Port Washington events.

  • The new 320 square inch size formula was instituted so that artists could have more aspect options for their art.  New allowed sizes would be 12" x 24"= 288 square inches, 10" x 30" = 300 square inches, 17" x 17"=289 square  inches.  Square inches = length x width for example 16 x 20 canvas = 320 square inches

  • The maximum frame size limit is 4 inches per side.  This is to provide continuity to the show.

  • Completed framed work for the Main Event can be no larger than672 square inches.

Cedarburg Quick Paint and Port Washington Paint Out

  • Maximum material is 225 square inches unframed for example:

15" x 15" = 225, 10 x 20 =200, 12" x 16" =192

  • Frames will be measured and must be 4 inches or less per side.

  • Framed work submitted for the Port Washington Paint Out and the Quick Paint events can be no larger than 441 square inches.

All information is available on our website:
or  blog:  www.PleinAirCedarburg.blogspot

Looking forward to seeing you
The Cedarburg Plein Air Committee

Monday, March 2, 2015

Hey Artists! Check out this article from The New Yorker!