The Olympics of painting in Southwest Idaho, the not-so-simple act of painting outdoors

Article by Staff Writer

Photography by Mike Olsen + Provided

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

There is an exciting art event coming to Southwest Idaho. October 7th through the 14th, the Eagle Plein Air Festival turns Eagle into an outdoor living art gallery when more than eighty artists come to paint the Idaho landscape. This nationally recognized event brings painters to learn, paint and compete in a variety of events. Highlights include artist workshops, free community art events, quick draw competitions, nocturnal paint out, art sale and wet paint auction.

The festival, founded in 2014 by Finer Frames owner Meg Glasgow, was created to highlight the unique art of plein air painting. “This event brings patrons and artists together unlike any other art show,” says Meg. “This stand-out event turns painting into a spectator sport in spectacular fashion.” 

With the support of the Eagle Arts Commission and the Plein Air Painters of Idaho, this festival is a unique art competition, show and sale that attracts professional artists and art patrons to Eagle.  Now in its 9th year the Eagle Plein Air Festival continues to attract artists from across the US and Canada to this great community. It is the largest art event of its kind in Southern Idaho and has earned a reputation for being a high caliber event as recently highlighted in the December issue of Plein Air Magazine as a featured event in the Northwest.

This free festival, promoting the art of outdoor painting, provides opportunities for people of all ages to interact directly with artists. Community members are invited to watch the painters at each of the daily Paint Out locations and during the special Quick Draw competitions. There are also free arts education and learning opportunities. Professional artists offer free daily painting lessons during the lunch hour on the patio at Finer Frames in Downtown Eagle.  

All are invited to… 

Explore the Treasure Valley with your family. Each day of the Festival, the artists gather at a special destination to paint the Idaho landscape. 

Watch art being created from start to finish. During the Quick Draw competitions, the painters have just 2 hours to complete a painting. It’s thrilling to watch 

Attend a Free art lesson by local professional painters. Each day during the noon hour an artist teaches a free art demonstration at Finer Frames. 

Be sure to Visit the art sale at the end of the event. It’s your chance to purchase the great paintings artists have been creating all week long. 

The week-long festival begins early Saturday, October 7th.  Downtown Eagle is buzzing with excitement for the Saturday Market, which makes it the perfect time for the Quick Draw event. This “quick draw” has no shoot-out in the street. In this event, artists are armed with easels, paints and brushes. The painters have only two hours to complete a painting while patrons look on.  The wet paintings will be hung outside the building at Finer Frames. Look at them all and pick your favorite. 

Celebrate with the artists Friday evening during a special awards reception at the Gallery at Finer Frames from 5:00pm – 8:00pm. The outstanding paintings that artists created during the week will be recognized with awards and ribbons. You can party with the artists while enjoying live jazz music and refreshments. 

The festival celebration concludes on Saturday, October 14, 2023 during the Eagle’s Harvest Festival. Purchase your favorite painting from over 200+ works of art, enjoy live music, street fair, kids activities and so much more! 

If you’re wondering what is “plein air”, En plein air is a French expression that means “in the open air.” Plein air painting is the not-so-simple act of painting outdoors. Artists must handle shifting light, fluctuating temperatures, wind gusts, inclement weather and more.  Add the pressure of a quick draw competition and it becomes the Olympics of painting in Southwest Idaho.


Each weekday during the festival, a professional artist teaches a free painting demonstration on the patio at Finer Frames. Bring a folding chair and settle in for an informative lesson from 11am – 1pm. 

  • MONDAY Niles Nordquist - Oil

  • TUESDAY Laurie Asahara - Gouache

  • WEDNESDAY Mark Davis - Oil

  • THURSDAY David Mensing - Palette Knife

  • FRIDAY Bonnie Griffith - Pastel


Eagle is pleased to welcome these artists from all over the country.

  • Peggy Akovenko

  • Laurie Asahara

  • Lisa Bower

  • Larry Boyd

  • Jessie Bryant

  • Tina Cannova

  • Mark Davis

  • Chris Derbidge

  • Gerry Draper

  • Sydney Dream Speck

  • Dave English

  • Tamara Gadberry

  • Mary Gardiner

  • Cindy Gillette

  • Marjorie Haley

  • Linda Hays

  • Dottie Heiney

  • Craig Hoellwarth

  • William Houston

  • Christine Howard

  • Kevin Hughes

  • Norma Hyde

  • Karen Jacobsen

  • Shefali Khanna

  • Margery Layton

  • Gail Luria

  • Jill Marshburn

  • Dan McAlister

  • Gary McCall

  • Kate Mix

  • David Mensing

  • Laurie Parker

  • Susan Perin

  • Verna Pooler

  • Michael Polk

  • Bonnie Rice

  • Gregg Russell

  • Matt Rydzon

  • Lauralee Schumann

  • Anne Sorensen

  • Benay Sotelo

  • Judy Stanfill

  • Connie Streiker

  • Thomas Van Stein

  • Carlene Vance

  • Jennifer Von Bergen

  • Mark Watkins

  • Chieshenam Westin

  • Tracy Wilson

  • Emma Woolstenhulme

A wonderful festival! Well organized, with plenty of beautiful painting venues on the schedule. The Boise area fall colors were inspiring! The camaraderie with other painters was fun and encouraging. I'm already looking forward to this next year!  ~ Artist, Tracy Wilson

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