Bluff Strokes Paint out 2018

Sunday, Oct 7 thru Saturday, Oct 13, 2018

Artist Prospectus


Welcome to our third annual Bluff Strokes Plein Air Paint Out in historic Dubuque, Iowa.


  • Registration is limited to 60 artists.

  • Spots will be filled in order of receipt of registrations sheets with checks. We will reserve spots until Feb 28 for 2017 award winners.

  • Entry Fee: $50 fee if postmarked by Sept 1 ($60 fee after Sept 1) entitles artist to participate in all events (Main, Quick Paint and Nocturne). This will also cover an artist apron, an artist picnic, and dinner/drinks at the Patron Party, Friday, Oct 12.

  • Fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.

  • If a waiting list is established, it will be filled in order of receipt of registration sheet with check. Checks will not be cashed until registration is confirmed.

Check-in and Stamping

  • Event headquarters: Steeple Square, 15th St and White St, Dubuque, IA.

  • Check-in: Sunday, Oct 7, 8 am – 4 pm.

  • Check-in will also be available at River Lights Bookstore (1098 Main St) on Monday from 10 am to 6 pm. Extra materials may also be stamped there during the week.

  • At check-in, artists must provide a current W-9 as well as filled-in painting submission cards for prior work paintings.

  • Artists will also be asked to fill in a waiver of liability at check-in.

  • Artists will be given promo cards to hand out to viewers that advertise the Public Art Sale on Saturday. YOU are our best advertising!

Guidelines for All Paintings Submitted for Judging or Sale

  • Painting Boundaries: Dubuque County (except prior works).

  • In the spirit of plein air, 95% of each artwork must be created on site.

  • Up to 5 paintings may be submitted for judging for awards; 3 Main Event, 1 Nocturne, 1 Quick Paint.

  • Media may include: oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel, or gouache.

  • Each work may have dimensions up to 320 sq inches (ex. 16"x20") of canvas, paper, or board unframed.

  • All work submitted must be framed. Maximum frame width: 4 1/4 inches. Maximum mat width (mat is optional): 4 inches.

  • Paintings must be securely wired for hanging; no alligator hangers.

  • All paintings (except prior works) must be date stamped at event check-in. Stamp must be visible on the back of each painting.

  • Artists will provide a card for each painting submitted (also included in Artist Packet), with artist’s name, title of artwork, medium, and price. Filling cards out ahead of time will make the process go more smoothly - thank you!

  • Prices may not be changed after submission, and there will be no negotiating prices at the sale.

Prior Works

  • Artists may bring 2 prior works for sale.

  • Prior Work paintings shall be submitted at the time of registration.

  • Paintings may be from past Bluff Strokes events or may be other examples of your work.

  • Paintings will be hung at the beginning of the week.

Main Event

Sunday, October 7 - Thursday, October 11

  • Each artist may submit three Main Event paintings for judging and three replacement paintings, which will not be judged but will be hung to replace sold paintings.

  • Of the 3 paintings submitted for judging, one may be from an interior location (bar, shop, library, anywhere you can get permission).

  • Replacement paintings must be painted on stamped canvases and may be from interior or exterior locations.

  • Because we sold SO MANY paintings last year, we would like to check in more paintings DURING THE WEEK so we can get them in the inventory and YOU can get PAID! Steeple Square will be open Wednesday and Thursday, 4-5 pm to check in paintings.

  • Final Main Event submissions will be Friday, Oct 13, 8–10 am (scones and coffee will be provided). This is when you will designate which of your submissions will be hung to be judged. Your other submitted paintings will become your replacement paintings.

  • One of your three Replacement paintings may be turned in by 12 pm on Friday, if you would like to paint Friday morning.


Tuesday, October 9, painting starts at 5pm

  • Stamping will take place from 4:30 - 5 pm at Steeple Square.

  • You may do your Nocturne INSIDE if desired. Permission must be granted by establishment (not us) and safety and cleanliness should be a priority.

  • Submit stamped and framed artwork at Steeple Square between 8 - 8:30 am on Wednesday, October 12, to be considered for awards.

Quick Paint

Wednesday, October 10,  8:30 - 11:30am

  • Stamping for the Quick Paint will be Wednesday from 8:15 - 8:30 am at Steeple Square.

  • Submit stamped and framed artwork at Steeple Square by 11:30 am to be considered for awards.

Fresh Produce Paintings

Saturday, October 13, 7 am - noon

  • Artists are encouraged to paint at the Farmer's Market and bring their paintings to Steeple Square when finished. While these are not judged, this is a great way to advertise the sale at Steeple Square on Saturday. Some paintings sell right off the easel!

  • Works brought to Steeple Square will be inventoried and hung for sale.


  • Bluff Strokes will retain a 25% commission on all painting sales.

  • Artist payments will be mailed to the address provided with your registration.

  • Prior to payment, artists must provide a W-9 form.

  • Off-Easel Sales – please respect the efforts of this all-volunteer event by writing a check for 25% for any off-easel purchases by Sunday, Oct 14th.


  • We will award approximately $10,000 in prizes. See Awards list.

Unsold painting retrieval

  • Unsold paintings may be picked up on Saturday, Oct 13, 7 pm–8 pm, and Sunday, Oct 14, 8 am-10 am. Any paintings left behind without instructions will become the property of Bluff Strokes and may be donated to the Dubuque Museum of Art to be auctioned off at their benefit.


  • The artist agrees to bear all risk and expense for any injury to his or her person, and for any loss, theft or damage to his or her artwork or other personal property. The artist agrees to be responsible for insuring his or her artwork and for all necessary shipping charges.


  • Limited housing (17 Rooms) is available at St. Columbkille's, a former convent. Single and Double rooms available (twin beds). Cost is $30/night/person, no matter if they are shared rooms or not. Linens (bed linens, towels, washcloths) are provided, but we recommend bringing an extra blanket. Soaps and shampoo are not provided. Please include a separate $60 check made out to "St. Columbkille's" as a deposit. Full kitchen and dining room common areas are available. Checks will be returned if rooms are booked.

  • Limited dorm rooms may be available at Clarke University for $20/bed/night/person. Linens (pillows, blankets, sheets, towels, etc) are NOT provided. We will provide an update when availability is determined.

  • Miller Riverview Park and Campground is a beautiful campground located on the Mississippi River within a few minutes of Steeple Square and downtown Dubuque. Information and registration here:

  • has many other options listed on their website.


For registration or housing questions, contact Morgan at (314) 680-3328 . 

For general questions, email or call Jillayne at (563) 587-9120 or Wes at 563-845-1801.

Download a printable version of the prospectus.