Bluff Strokes Mississippi River Art Workshops Paint Dubuque

Welcome to Paint Dubuque

Dubuque has a rich variety of material for the painter.  Located on the Mississippi, it offers panoramic overlooks from the bluffs, as well as diverse riverfront scenes ranging from marshland to industrial.  Located in the Driftless Region, which escaped glaciation, Dubuque and its surrounding area offer a unique geography of meadows, forests, and creek valleys.  First settled by the French fur trader Julien Dubuque in 1785, and chartered in 1838, Dubuque has many historic homes, neighborhoods, storefronts, churches, industrial buildings, and bridges.  It's park system includes Eagle Point Park, with spectacular Mississippi overlooks, a mature arboretum with Japanese and English Gardens, and several large nature preserves.

This website suggests many settings for painting, but it is by no means comprehensive; we will continue to add sites over time.  Use the dropdown menus above to locate settings of interest, including photos and map links.  This site does not yet work for viewing on a phone; for tablet viewing, use landscape mode.

Dubuque is alternatively historic, panoramic, gritty, quaint, and intimate.  It is a community for wandering around and finding interesting nooks and crannies.  Explore!


For questions, suggestions, complaints, and ridicule, contact


Mississippi River Looking South from Julien Dubuque's Grave 


Grand Opera House

We welcome the Grand Opera House as a prize donor for Bluff Strokes 2017.  The Grand opened in 1890.  It's first production was George Bizet's "Carmen" presented by the Hess Opera Company.  Originally illuminated by gas, the building was lighted by gas and electricity by 1897.  Historians of theater claim that in the "Golden Era," Dubuque residents saw more big shows than any other city of comparable size in the United States.  From its opening through 1928, over 2,600 different live theater shows were performed in the Grand. Such well-known actors and actresses as Ethel Barrymore, George M. Cohan, and Lillian Russell added to the excitement on special occasions. Henry Fonda played Hamlet on the Grand's stage in 1923. (20) Perhaps the Grand's most elaborate production was "Ben Hur" complete with elephants, horses, and chariots-on stage.



Need to Know: Call Frank at 563-588-1305 to check opportunities to paint inside.

Restrooms: Lower level inside.

Setup space availability: Check out the parking ramp across the street.

Food: several Main Street restaurants nearby.  Check out Jitters for soup, sandwiches, and lattes.


University of Dubuque

We are pleased to have the University of Dubuque join us this year as an award sponsor.  UD is a small Presbyterian University with a quiet historical campus.  Check it out for night painting for the Nocturne.


Need to Know: Enough lighting for a Nocturne.  Parking may be a bit tight; there is a visitor lot

Restrooms: The new Heritage Theater building is open until 11 each night.

Setup space availability: Lots.

Food: Great inexpensive food court in the Heritage Center theater building.  Also two local bars around the corner on Asbury - West End Tap (known for breakfasts and burgers) and Dog House.