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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Plein Air Wonderland!

Beginnings  11x14  pastel  plein air  painted at The Gorge White House  Hood River, OR

What an amazing summer this has been!  I just finished up the Pacific Northwest Plein Air 2011 in the Columbia River Gorge, put on by the Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River.  This was a juried event, which means artists applied before the event with an application and samples of their work, and in this case forty artists were selected to participate.  I was thrilled to be selected!  The rules were pretty straightforward- up to five paintings could be submitted, and they had to have been painted in the previous two years.  And they were to be plein air paintings, meaning they were painted in the open air, not in the studio.
Above the Orchards  11x14  pastel  plein air 

I didn't have five paintings to submit.  I had one, and it didn't thrill me.  This event has an associated five days of paintouts.  In previous years, a majority of the paintings sold at the show were created during the paintouts, so I didn't freak out too much about not having completed paintings going in.  OK, I was a bit stressed that I didn't have a backup plan in case my paintout work wasn't up to snuff, but I didn't have a lot of choice in the matter.

Investing in Gold  pastel  plein air  11x14

Before the paintouts started on August 25, I made sure I had all the supplies I would need for framing, the actual frames, and my sand paper mounted onto boards.  I decided to try to frame without mats where possible to make the framing easier, which was a good choice for me.  I ended up with one painting that needed a mat, but I had extras already cut and ready to go.  I cleaned the car out, had dog supplies, extra shoes, and had the housework done and groceries stocked up.  

Haven  8x10  pastel  plein air

My one regret is that I didn't make arrangements to stay in Hood River during the paintout.  I drove back and forth from SW Portland.  The drive is beautiful, but it was difficult seeing that beautiful light in the early mornings and evenings and being stuck driving instead of painting.  There are two hostels in the area that I considered trying out, but they don't allow dogs.  I consider Deuce to be an essential art of my plein air equipment- he keeps an eye out while I'm submerged in painting.  He also insists on occasional breaks and helps me explore an area before settling down to paint.  He rarely complains and is very good company.

I was out painting four out of the five days, and went to three of the painting locations.  I absolutely adored one the the locations on a plateau above the town of Mosier, five miles east of Hood River, and spent two very full days painting there.  Three of the paintings I submitted were painted there- Haven, Looking Back and Investing in Gold.  The other two (Beginnings and Above the Orchard) were painted at The Gorge White House, up hwy 35 south of Hood River.  

The show starts this Friday September 2, 2011 at the Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River with a preview party from 4-6pm and the opening reception from 6pm to 8pm.  The public is invited.  The gallery show will continue thru September 25.

Looking Back  10x20 pastel  plein air

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