Salmagundi Paint Outs, Iowa
In Des Moines you may see an outdoor painter almost anywhere, from one of our local parks to a downtown street. Solitary artists and groups too
spend time sketching and painting outdoors and they seem to have always been here. One local band of artists has been painting outdoors weekly
for seven decades. Some favor oil paint, some use watercolors or other materials, but plein air painters are becoming even more common in Iowa.
Local Salmagundi member Gary Hoff is one advocate for painting outdoors. “Painting plein air requires intense concentration, sure observation,
and a quick hand,” he says. The Salmagundi was the start of an annual event, a Salmagundi Great Paint Out, recognizing the trend to plein air
work. Our first Paint Out was held and promoted in conjunction with Mainframe Studios, a local studio entity, the Polk County Conservation
Board, and The Blok (purveyors of quality art materials). With an eye to convenience and wide participation, the event was held on three consecutive
evenings during the golden hours before sunset. Three separate locales provided a wealth of subject matter for the two dozen or so participants,
who responded with a fine body of work. The Paint Out finale was an exhibition of works by participants hosted at Mainframe Studios.
Dianna Liepa paints the covered bridge at the Great Paint Out
Featured sites included the Des Moines River and a huge skate park
nearby plus two large city lakes and their surrounding parks. Featured
in one park is an old covered bridge, one of Iowa’s signature items.
Participants had an opportunity to meet, form new friendships, and
spend time acquiring new insight and honing skills.
Because no skill level was specified, some who participated had
little painting experience, some were committed amateurs and
others were professional painters. Mainframe Studios is planning
another this fall.