The Wasatch Back area including Summit and Wasatch Counties is a favorite destination for many fine plein-air artists, or artists who paint landscapes while outdoors. To draw more attention to the unique beauty of this area, Midway Art Association has planned its signature event, the ninth annual Wasatch Plein Air Paradise on July 1 through July 4.

This is the largest outdoor painting event in Utah with approximately 125 participants. Interested buyers, art collectors, curious neighbors and families are invited to see the fine art inspired by this mountain country. The prizes for this competition total over $12,000.

The artists participating will be easy to spot as they set up their easels along the back roads, pastures and the many other settings of the area from June 27 through July 1 before the 2 p.m. The exhibit and sale will open to the public that evening at 7 p.m. and the following days through Saturday July 5.

  • For the main professional works, A. D. Shaw, the renowned veteran Utah artist of over 40 years, will judge studio and amateur divisions. In 1984, after a successful career in commercial art, he turned to painting. His favorite quotation expresses his delight in this chosen endeavor, "Subject matter is just an excuse to play in paint."

    In 1995 he left Salt Lake City and returned to Duchesne County, the area of his youth. He has been called a "neo-regionalist" as he draws from his agrarian heritage. He captures scenes of bygone times, incorporating, farm horses, period ranching equipment, antique cars and many familiar artifacts from the ever-passing history of our western growth.


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    He will be judging over 300 fresh, just completed paintings, in the Midway Town Hall the afternoon of Tuesday, July 1. The awards will be announced to the artists at 6 p.m., followed by the Opening Reception for the public to the Art Exhibit, sponsored by Heber Valley Bank.

  • The Heber City Paint Out will be held on Wednesday, July 2, between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. Artists will be scattered throughout the city's residential and commercial areas. The judge of this event is Marian Wardle, Curator of American Art at Brigham Young University Museum of Art, for the past thirteen years. She is also a faculty member, and author. The awards will be announced at 2 p.m. in the Town Hall Exhibit.

  • The Midway Paint Out, on Thursday, July 3, will be judged by local wildlife artist and past president of the Midway Art Association, Greg Wilson. Raised in Telluride, Colorado, Greg has spent his entire life observing wild creatures in their natural outdoor environments and recreating them on paper and canvas. His patient and tenacious efforts have produced vivid paintings of a broad range of animals that are collected across the U.S. and Canada.

    The generous prizes this year consist of first, second and third place cash awards in the Professional and Paint Out divisions as well as first, second and third place Sponsor's Purchase Awards.

    The Professional Purchase Awards allow the sponsors to choose a painting out of the exhibit for the prepaid amounts of $2,000, $1,600, and $1,300. The Cash Awards are sponsored by MAA and Zion's Bank.

    The Heber City and Midway Paint Out purchase awards are $700, $600, and $500. The Amateur Division first-place cash award was donated by Mountain America Credit Union for $150.

    The Studio Division of paintings that are finished before this event, are awarded gifts donated by local merchants.

    On July 4 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., artists will have 90 minutes to complete an outdoor painting, by the Midway Town Hall, followed by a live auction.

    For more information, please check out midwayartassociation.org .