ready, set, paint!

Sunset lasts about 30 minutes. Here are some watercolors and a canvas. Now hurry up and paint it. And do it well.

You might not think of painting as a deadline activity but for plein air painters charged with finding a noteworthy vista, setting up outdoors and finishing while the scene is still, well, there, it’s quite a challenge. You will be able to see it first hand at this year’s inaugural Plein Air Mt. Lebanon, an outdoor arts festival, October 2 through October 6.

About two dozen professional artists from all over the country, including Mt. Lebanon’s own Sandra Ward, Chris Moeller and Chris Rohrbach, will take to the streets Tuesday through Thursday of that week, painting as many as eight or nine outdoor scenes over three days and submitting two pieces of their work to judge (and Pittsburgh-based plein air painter) Ron Donoughe Friday morning. That evening—Friday, October 5—the public is invited to attend the “wine and cheese” exhibition and preview gala at 7 p.m. in the municipal building to purchase paintings and to see which artists won the $6,000 in prize money, awarded in various categories. At least 55 paintings will be on display and for sale, with another 200 to 300 in the “reserve room,” where you can browse deeper into the collection. Tickets, which include a voucher toward the cost of a painting, are $100 each and are available online at the Lebostore at Prices will start at around $500.

On Saturday, October 6, Plein Air will conclude with a Paint-Out from 10 a.m. to noon in Uptown. Anyone is welcome to bring an easel and supplies, paint and possibly sell their work. A celebrity paint-out is 1 to 2 p.m., and from 2 to 4 p.m., is “Mt. Lebanon’s Got Talent,” an open mic hour for musicians at Empire Music on Washington Road. Local playwrights will present short pieces in Clearview Common from 4:30 to 6 p.m., followed by the Mt. Lebanon Uptown Block Party from 6 to 9 p.m., with the music of local band The Tumblers. No Name Players will provide impromptu street theater—a “Knitbomb,” where knitters will cover 70 Washington Road light poles with knitted works of art.

On Saturday and Sunday, Sunrise Rotary’s annual Art in the Parking Lot will take place in a new location, the Academy Avenue parking lot, offering its popular selections of paintings, prints, jewelry, pottery and other craft items along with food and entertainment. Plein Air sponsors are Pittsburgh Watercolor Society, Prudential Preferred Real Estate, First Commonwealth Bank, Dollar Bank, Ray and Marilyn Gindroz Foundation, Carolyn and William Byham and Learning Express. Media sponsors are mtl and Pittsburgh magazines.