Painting at the Escalante Canyons Art Festival in Utah is a chance to depict the wonderful red rocks of the region — and maybe take home some ribbons and cash. Here’s how it went a couple of weeks ago.
The festival is different from many in that it clearly puts a stress on making plein air painting inviting to the general public. There are prizes for painters as young as kindergarten age, and the event itself is an open competition with no jurying. Best of Show winners in each category are not eligible to enter the competition for the next two years to ensure that no one dominates the event, and an artist can only win People’s Choice once in his or her lifetime. Artists cannot sign their pieces before the judging, to help make the decisions more impartial; they sign the front of the canvas immediately following the judging so the paintings are ready for sale.