Ned Mueller, “Quick Draw,” 2017, conté crayon on blue paper, 16 x 22 inches

Recent Paint the Peninsula Quick Draw winner and acclaimed painter Ned Mueller has some fascinating thoughts about the origins of this popular practice we think you’ll enjoy.

As plein air competitions and festivals continue to spring up around the country, more and more artists are being exposed to “Quick Draws”—a competition that asks artists to complete an entire piece within a defined timeframe, typically 90-120 minutes.  Usually attended by hundreds, the Quick Draw offers artists a chance to wow audiences with a range of creative skills under difficult time-constraints, including drawing, composition, color theory, and much more.  Recently, artist Ned Mueller captured First Place during the Quick Draw competition at Paint the Peninsula in Port Angeles, Washington, which sparked in him some thoughts about the point and history of the practice.

Ned Mueller, 2017, conté crayon on blue paper, 17 x 22 inches

“I want to bring attention to the history of the Quick Draw and what my intent was by doing just a drawing [at Paint the Peninsula] rather than a painting like most artists.  I’m a member of the Northwest Rendezvous Group and, about 35 years ago, we developed the idea of a “Quick Draw”.  [The Quick Draw] was originally intended to help artists in the show get enough money for gas to get home, literally!  It was only 30 minutes long and was also intended to showoff one’s drawing skills.  Everything was then auctioned off to the collectors.  Bob Morgan was the artist that started it all when the show was still in Montana.  It was first held in Madison Valley, Montana, and we had Tipis, Native Americans, Cowboys, and mountain men for models.  It was a wonderful thing that has now grown into a great national event that—for many collectors and enthusiasts—is a highlight at festivals and exhibitions!

Ned Mueller, 2017, conté crayon on blue paper, 16 x 22 inches

“I had intended to do a drawing for the Quick Draw in other events, but finally decided to do it at Paint the Peninsula this year.  I plan on doing more!  In my winning drawing, I actually decided to sketch the artists themselves, who weren’t moving around that much themselves and, with some great clothing and hats, made for an interesting composition.  It took my less than an hour to complete and I also did another in the timeframe!”

This article was featured in PleinAir Today, a weekly e-newsletter from PleinAir magazine. To start receiving PleinAir Today for free, click here.

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Editor PleinAir Today, Andrew Webster
Andrew Webster is the Editor of Plein Air Today and works as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.

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