Great Escapes

The Outdoors and Fine Art Collide For an Incredible Labor Day Event in Alpine

En Plein Air will draw painters and art lovers to Big Bend this September.

By Gwendolyn Knapp July 1, 2019

Painting outdoors in Alpine, Texas

Landscape painters, portrait artists, art lovers, and perhaps a confused but delighted hiker or two, will converge on the Alpine area over Labor Day weekend for En Plein Air: The Art of Painting Outdoors, a series of free paint outs from August 30-September 1. 

These paint outs are events where artists gather at picturesque outdoor locations to practice plein air (open air) painting, and they'll take place across Fort Davis, the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center, Big Bend National Park, and two more locations in Alpine, all presented by the Big Bend Arts Council and the Texas Portrait Society.

Even if you're not a painter, the public is still highly-encouraged to attend to see this incredible weekend of art in the making, and given the high-altitude location of Alpine and the season, it's destined to be quite a retreat from the Houston heat. Here's the schedule:

  • Friday, August 30: A portrait painting "face off" takes over the Museum of the Big Bend with members of the Texas Portrait Society painting the same model in one sitting. A wide range of talented artists are expected to be there, each taking their own approach to the same subject.
  • Saturday, August 31 and Sunday morning, September 1: Paint outs will happen at 12-plus locations followed by a sidewalk art exhibit and sale at the Alpine Public Library, where you can purchase artwork created over the weekend. 
  • Sunday evening, September 1: Art at galleries Catchlight Art Gallery and the Big Bend Arts Council’s Gallery on the Square in downtown Alpine will cap off the weekend.


Head to for more info, or check out Houstonia's faves in the area: 

Getting There 

Alpine is about an eight- to nine-hour drive from Houston. If you're interested in flying, the closest airport is Midland (though still about 2.5 hours away from Alpine) with round-trip tickets from IAH currently starting at $303 from United.   

Show Comments