Chandler artist in Prescott Plein Air Artwork Competition SanTan Solar Information


David M. Brown

Chandler’s Matt Sterbenz is one of 14 Arizona artists to attend the first Plein Air Art Festival in Prescott in October.

Sponsored by the Highlands Center for Natural History and the City of Prescott, the event features live outdoor paintings from October 1-3, followed by a reception and sales event on October 4th and online sales from May 6-17 October.

“I have three days to paint as much as possible,” said Sterbenz. “I hope to get a good variety of themes: a sunset or sunrise, Watson Lake, and maybe a historic building or a downtown scene.”

“In the open air,” artists try to capture the spirit of a landscape or subject by incorporating natural light, color and movement into their art, explained Janet Humphrey, a Prescott resident and one of the event coordinators.

Audiences can watch and talk to the artists as they work dawn through dusk in seven locations to celebrate Prescott’s diverse landscape: Granite Dells, Granite Mountain, Highland Natural History Center and Four Lakes, Goldwater, Lynx, Watson and Willow.

On October 4th, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., paintings completed in the last three days will be displayed during reception and sale at The Finn, Touchmark on the ranch, 3150 Touchmark Blvd. displayed. Each artist will submit three to five pieces for exhibition.

The ticket event contains the CDC guidelines with staggered arrival times. The public will view, buy and judge the works for a People’s Choice Award. A “Best of Show” will also be awarded.

The online sale of the remaining paintings by the Plein Air artists will take place at

“Our goal is to make the Highlands Center’s annual Prescott Plein Air Festival a sustainable event for artists, the general public and the community to use art to create awe of nature,” said Humphrey.

She is a board member of the nonprofit center founded in 1996 to help people discover the wonders of nature and become responsible stewards of the land.

Diebenz isn’t sure where he’ll be painting in Prescott.

“That’s what I like best about outdoor painting. When I set out on my way, I may have a vague idea of ​​what I want to paint, but ultimately nature is the deciding factor, ”said Sterbenz, a frequent hiker.

“I love to paint Watson Lake, so I will definitely spend some time there, but I also want to explore more of the area.”

He grew up in Phoenix and graduated from Arizona State University with a BA in Fine Arts in 2011. He has attended some of the country’s top plein air invitation events, including the Grand Canyon Celebration of Art and the Sedona Plein Air Festival.

“For most of my childhood I had a pencil in my hand that drew my surroundings,” he recalled. “After receiving an oil painting at the age of ten, the pencil was always accompanied by brushes.”

His style is contemporary impressionist style with oil paints.

“When I work on site, I try to complete the picture in one sitting. In the studio, however, I’ll be working on a painting for days or weeks, ”he said.

“The studio images tend to have more textures and layers than outdoor images. In the studio, I have the advantage of time and can use techniques that are normally not possible when painting outdoors. “

Diebenz often hikes and paints outdoors – a process he believes is critical to effective studio work.

Former President of the Arizona Plein Air Painters has attended some of the best plein air invitation events in the country, including the Grand Canyon Celebration of Art and the Sedona Plein Air Festival.

His work has been published in Plein Air Magazine and Southwest Art Magazine, among others.

Tickets for the event are available at

To see the biographies and examples of the artists of their work and the different painting sites: or by phone 928-776-9550 for more information. Learn more about Sterbenz at

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