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Painters Take To the Streets in Plein Air Paint Out

Portland Art Museum's Plein Air Paint Out

If you happened to be wandering through Portland’s Park Blocks last Saturday, you may have noticed an unusual concentration of painters scattered amongst the trees and benches.

This wasn’t your usual weekend workshop or painting club. These were some of the Northwest’s best landscape artists, participating in the Portland Art Museum‘s first Plein Air Paint Out, a celebration of the art of painting outdoors.

The artists arrived early Saturday morning and worked throughout the day to capture the scene — and the ever-changing light, colors and shadows — on canvas. Visitors and passersby were encouraged to watch and interact with the painters as they worked. The event culminated on Sunday with an exhibit of the finished works which were also available for purchase.

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California Impressions exhibit at the Portland Art Museum

  • Through September 9, 2012
  • 1219 SW Park Avenue, Portland

Outdoor painting events and contests have become common around the country and other parts of Oregon in recent years, but this was the first event of its kind in Portland. The event was conceived as a companion to two of the Museum’s exhibitions, California Impressionism and 5 Monet /100 Days, both of which showcase the tradition of plein air painting.  

Portland Art Museum Director Brian Ferriso says the museum hoped the Paint Out would provide a modern complement to the exhibits and help engage the public and local artists in the celebration of the art form. “We felt it was important to continue that tradition and see what’s happening in the contemporary world,” says Ferriso. “It’s really exciting for me to see the public engage with these artists and for the artists to be able to show their craft.”

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Portland Art Museum's Plein Air Paint Out

The Portland Art Museum's front yard was full of painters one recent Saturday as artists from around the northwest gathered to celebrate the art of painting outdoors. See a images of the event and hear the perspectives of three of the participants, Thomas Kitts, Sandy Roumagoux and Brenda Boylan.