Moments from the State Fair Captured on Canvas in Record Time

Painters of all levels created fair-inspired art in record time while on site at the Wisconsin State Fair this week.

Photo by Maria Christianson.

With a brush in hand, a number of Wisconsin painters flocked to the Wisconsin State Fair on Monday, August 7, and Tuesday, August 8, to participate in Plein Air at The Fair. Rather than feasting on fair food, the artists set up their easels at various locations throughout the fairgrounds to paint scenes from the State Fair. 

Plein Air is no ordinary style of painting, as participants are allotted a limited period of time to complete their artwork. Artists were allowed to paint between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Monday and 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday. The strict time limit was just one of the rules though. Before they began painting, each artist was required to check in and receive a stamp on their canvas. This was to ensure that no previously completed works were submitted.

Photo by Maria Christianson.

Artists were allowed to choose from media such as oils, acrylics and watercolors to create their pieces. Using these media to paint is a common occurrence, but doing so in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the Wisconsin State Fair is no easy feat.

Seasoned Plein Air veterans as well as a few new-comers (including a high school student!) competed in this years’ Plein Air at the Fair. While the competition ended at 11 a.m. Tuesday, all of the pieces of artwork that were created over the two-day period can be found on display and are available for purchase at the Plein Air Exhibit located inside the northwest corner of the Exposition Center.

Plein Air at the Fair photo by Maria Christianson.



Megan Otto is a digital and editorial intern at Milwaukee Magazine. She currently attends the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has previously interned in London.