The Vermont Festival of the Arts brings art and artists of all stripes to the Mad River Valley throughout the month of August. But this weekend, hoo boy, it will be a veritable invasion. More than 45 artists are expected to be sprawled along Main Street, or ensconced in gardens, fields, by rivers and God knows where else.
You'd think they owned the place.
The species is pretty harmless, though: They're plein-air painters. You know, guys and gals who tote their easels and paint sets wherever a pretty landscape beckons, set up shop and get down to the business of creating nature's little doppelgängers on canvas or paper. It's a challenging job, but someone's got to do it.
I've always wondered what outdoor painters do if a bug flies into the paint. Or when, you know, they have to pee. But I digress.
This weekend at the Plein Air Paint Out, artists will be in a bit of a rush. After painting all day Friday and Saturday, they are required to gather at the Paint-Out headquarters on Bridge Street at 3 p.m. for a sidewalk art show and sale. So that paint had better be dry!
In addition to fresh, fresh, fresh art on sale, local merchants and restaurateurs get into the festival spirit with discounts and deals. As Vermont Arts Foundation executive director Karen Nevin puts it in a press release, the Paint Out is "becoming a festival within a festival."
Otherwise, the Plein Air Paint Out is free and open to the public. The painters paint from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday, so you can hover behind them and offer suggestions. On second thought, don't. On Friday evening, August 16, 5-8 p.m., there's an Art Hop, too. The art show and sale is on Saturday, August 17, 3-6 p.m. Info, 496-6682.
Photo of painter Mat Pardue from 2012 is courtesy of Rebecca Silbernagel.