Bluff Strokes Mississippi River Art Workshops Paint Dubuque

Main Event Prospectus 2017

Sunday, Oct 8 – Saturday, Oct 14, 2017

Welcome to our second annual Bluff Strokes Paint Out in historic Dubuque, Iowa.  Changes are marked in RED.

Bluff Strokes is sponsored by Mississippi River Art Workshops, an affiliate of the Dubuque County Fine Arts Society.


  • In the spirit of plein air, 95% of each artwork must be created on site.  
  • Painting Boundaries:  Dubuque County
  • Painting Times:  Sunday, Oct 8 – Thursday, Oct 12, 2017  Fresh Produce from the Farmer's Market:  Saturday, Oct 14 (7am-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, it's a great way to advertise the sale at Steeple Square on Saturday.  All the paintings from the Farmer's Market sold last year!


  • The first 60 artists will be accepted.
  • 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) as well as an artist apron and chili dinner at the Sponsor & Patron Party, Friday, Oct 13.
  • Fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.  Any fees received after the maximum number of artists will be refunded.

Check-in and Material Stamping

  • Check-in: Sunday, Oct 8, 9 am – 4 pm at Steeple Square (15th & White St); Anyone who cannot make it during this timeframe, please contact Morgan at to make arrangements.
  • Check-in will also be available at River Lights Bookstore (1098 Main St) on Monday from 10am-6pm.  Extra materials may also be stamped there during the week.
  • Event headquarters: Steeple Square, 15th St and White St, Dubuque, IA 52001
  • Painting materials MUST be stamped prior to starting to paint.
  • Artists will be given promo cards to hand out to viewers that advertise the Patron Sale on Friday and the Public Art Sale on Saturday.  YOU are our best advertising!

Materials & Sizes

  • Media may include: oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, and gouache.
  • Each work may have dimensions up to 320 sq inches (ex. 16"x20") of canvas, paper, or board unframed.  All work must be framed.  Maximum frame width:  4 1/4 inches. Maximum mat width:  4 inches (watercolors and pastels, if desired).

Previous Work

  •  Artists may bring (2) previous works from other locations.  Bring with you on Sunday, Oct 8 to Steeple Square to Registration so we can get them hung.  We are building more easels so that all of the art will be hanging!  Same restrictions as above.


  • Main Event submissions will be Friday, Oct 13 8am – 10am at Steeple Square, 15th and White St (scones and coffee will be provided!)
  • Nocturne submission of (1) painting will be Thursday, Oct 12 8am - 8:30am at Steeple Square from previous night's event.  See Nocturne tab for details.
  • Quick Paint submission of (1) painting will be Thursday morning at 11:30am at Steeple Square. See Quick Paint tab for details.
  • Each painting must be signed, framed, mounted and securely wired for hanging.  Please no alligator hangers.
  • Check-in stamp must be visible on back of each painting.
  • Each artist may submit three (3) paintings for the main event, plus (2) replacement painting. (1) of the Replacement paintings may be turned in by 2pm on Friday, if you would like to paint Friday morning.  
  • Artists will fill out a card at submission (also included in Artist Packet) with artist’s name, city and state, title of artwork, medium, and retail price.  Prices may not be changed after submission.  Filling these out ahead of time will make the process go more smoothly - thank you!

  Replacement Painting

  • Two (2) replacement paintings created during the Main Event will be accepted.  These may be from INSIDE a location.  More paintings may be hung if possible and space allows.  Bring in your extra paintings for Saturday's Sale - we may be able to get them up!  Our goal is to sell as many as possible while maintaining a modicum of order. ;)
  • When a painting is sold, the replacement painting will be hung in its' place, as space allows.
  • All initial submission requirements apply.


  • Bluff Strokes will retain a 25% commission on all painting sales.
  • Artist payments will be mailed to the address provided.
  • Off-Easel Sales – please respect the efforts of this all-volunteer event by writing a check for 25% for any off-easel purchases by Oct 14th.  


  • Friday, Oct 13 - Winners will be announced at 5pm.
  • Our Juror is Stuart Fullerton who grew up in north central Wisconsin and studied ancient Greek and Latin at Harvard College.  After a year studying archeology in Greece and Turkey, he returned to Harvard for law school. 

    Today Stuart works and paints in Chicago.  He is a long-time member of the Palette and Chisel Club and of the Plein Air Painters of Chicago. 

    Stuart has been accepted into juried shows such as the Oil Painters of America National Exhibition, Salon International, the American Impressionist Society National Show, the OPA Eastern Regional Exhibition, and the Bosque Art Classic.  He has been invited to take part in the Door County Plein Air Festival, the Carmel Plein Air Festival, and others.  Stuart is a member of the board of directors of the Oil Painters of America and of the Palette and Chisel Club.


We will award approximately $10,000 in prizes.  Best of Show Purchase Award: $2,000.  Please see Awards tab for full detials for categories and prize structure.  

Painting Pick Up

  • Unsold paintings may be picked up on Saturday, Oct 14, 7pm–8pm, and Sunday, Oct 15, 8am-10am.  If you are not available to pick up the paintings, please provide pre-paid mailing boxes with the address clearly marked and we will mail them to you.  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 on November 10.  


  • 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 is available at Clarke University for $20/bed/night/person.  Bed linens are NOT provided.  Bathrooms are shared (separate men's and women's).  Please include a deposit of $40 made out to "Bluff Strokes" to reserve your spot.  Checks will be returned if rooms are all filled.

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 questions, contact Morgan at