Thursday, October 13, 2016

2016 National Parks Salute Juror: Jim McVicker

As plein air painters many of us feel a special connection to nature. That's why this year we're joining the National Park Service in celebrating their centennial anniversary with our exhibition, A National Park Salute. Many of our groups favorite painting spots fall within NPS boundaries, and over the year I've seen some amazing paintings come from our members who were inspired by these special areas.


When it comes to judging a show composed of beautiful paintings from some of America's most beautiful areas, a discerning eye is key. That's why we are excited to have Jim McVicker as our juror of awards. He judges many shows every year, when he's not participating in (and often winning) them! You may recognize his work from the self portrait that was featured on Plein Air Magazine's cover in 2015.



McVicker has also been awarded a Gold Medal for Best Painting in the California Art Club's 104th Gold Medal Exhibition, and won Best of Show in the 2014 Laguna Beach Plein Air Invitational.

In 2008 a documentary was made about him and his work, it is certainly worth a watch!


Here's what McVicker says about himself, his story, and his process:

"I made my first on location, plein air, painting in 1973. My influences then were the French Impressionist, mostly Monet, Pissarro and Sisley. At the time I was working full time and attending art classes at Chaffey Community College in Southern California. I was born and raised in Ontario California, about 35 miles east of Los Angeles. By the summer of 1975 I decided to become a full time painter. I quit my job, left school and moved to Santa Cruz in Northern Ca. I always loved the northern part of the state and wanted to get away from everything I knew up to that point and start a fresh life as a painter. I think I had about $5,000 dollars in my bank account. In my mind, enough money to make a start at really exploring and trying to learn how to paint. My work at the time was very rough but I had no doubt that I would grow and survive."


"After a couple of years I move further north to Humboldt County and have remained here, with a couple of adventures elsewhere, since 1977. Humboldt is where my education as a painter really started. There were several painters in the area whom I met through a life drawing group. Three of them, Curtis Otto, James Moore and George Van Hook became close friends as well as the three painters I learned so much from for the next few years. We painted daily together and George and I shared a studio for a couple of years. Working so closely with artists beyond ones own level was such a great way to learn to see."


"In 1984 I met my wife, Terry. She was working as a graphic at the time we met but by the time we were married in 1988 she began painting as a fine artist full time. Terry has been another major infulence in my development as an artist. To have a partner and companion on a daily bases that sees in ways I don't, and paints her view of life, opened my work and continues to do so. We also both believe in painting from life, outdoors and in the studio. We both paint a lot of still life and figure painting when not working outdoors."



"I paint small and large on location. I've painted as large as 54x84 outdoors, but normally work 9x12 to 30x40. I may work one to fifteen or twenty sittings outdoors. I have no set rules but work until I feel I've completed the painting. Sometimes years later I will re-work a painting in the studio when I feel it is not quite working. It is funny how time can often change how we perceive our work. I always look at as much art as I can, historical and contemporary. I learn from all of it. I will always keep painting and trying to grow as a painter. I think that will never end."





Thursday, September 8, 2016

Artist Spotlight: Brooke Borcherding


Brooke Borcherding is a 28 year old landscape artist living and working in Seattle, Washington. Her practice consists of painting from life then transforming her studies into larger studio (or on site) works in a style she calls her “deconstructions”.



Originating from Southern California and now living in the Pacific Northwest, Borcherding has always been inherently drawn to the things that surround her where she lives. She first took her easel outdoors in 2009, observing and learning from both nature and her plein air painting peers while earning a BFA from the University of Oregon and graduating in 2010.



Being largely self taught in landscape and cityscape painting, she deviated from academic and conceptual art in order to fulfill her need to express what is real, what is everyday, and embrace the often overlooked beauty that is right in front of us.



Now she is returning to an exploratory process of building up the the landscape in an abstract manner with blocks of color. Her traditional plein air approach to painting gives her a foundation on which to base these blocky versions, providing her with color, composition and understanding of the space. She then works to build a painting by putting together bits and pieces, finding order in the chaos to re-form what we can identify as a place. Her goal is to create an engaging visual scene that takes you deep into space and dances between the real and unreal of paint on canvas.



Borcherding's distinctive style is being increasingly recognized nationally. She traveled to Santa Fe for the juried Plein Air Painters of New Mexico Festival, and she took home the "Best Plein Air" award at the Canon Beach Plein Air & More Festival. She's featured in the prestigious 2016 Southwest Art Magazine 21 Under 31: Young Artists to Watch, which can be read here.

Education
2010 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Painting, University of Oregon

Recent Awards
2016 Best Plein Air, Plein air & More Festival, Cannon Beach, OR
2016 Best In Show, Americana & Independence Day show, Tsuga, Bothell WA
2015 Honorable Mention, Miniatures, Kenmore Art Show, Kenmore WA
2014 Award of Merit, Issaquah First Annual Plein Air Paintout, WA
2014 Honorable Mention, Yamhill Lavender Festival, OR
2013 Honorable Mention, Beauty of the Northwest, Gallery North, Edmonds WA

Gallery Representation:
American Art Company, 1126 Broadway Tacoma, WA
White Bird Gallery, 251 N Hemlock St Cannon Beach, OR
Scott Milo Gallery, 420 Commercial Ave Anacortes, WA
Jessup Cellars Gallery, 6740 Washington Street Yountville, CA
Casco Bay Artisans, 68 Commercial st. Portland, ME
River Gallery, 19313 Landing Road Mount Vernon, WA
Tsuga Fine Art, 10101 Main St Bothell, WA

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Kicking off painting season right

The rains are still lingering in the Seattle area, so every year around this time, we kick off our painting season with a paint-in. With a model, and several still life setups, a whole bunch of artists shared food, had lively conversations, swapped art supplies, and of course, painted!


Susan McManamen's video captured the day perfectly:


During the paint-in, we also discussed this year's planned paint outs and other events. There's a wonderful set of places to go this year with a focus on areas in the National Park System. Check out our event calendar for this year's schedule! 

I hope that whetted your desire to paint, because PAWA is already accepting for a new show this year, called Little Gems. It's a small works show (11x14 or smaller) to be held in June and July at the Scott Milo gallery in the lovely maritime town of Anacortes. As you can see from the video above, in addition to being plein air painters, PAWA members are also amazing figurative and still life artists. We wanted to showcase the diverse talent of PAWA members, so there are no restrictions as to subject matter for this show.



Deadline for submissions is April 17, but why wait! You can find more details at onlinejuriedshows

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Featured Artist: Steve Whitney

Happy new year! I hope everyone gets to keep their art resolutions this year. The new year brings a new featured artist: Steve Whitney.



"I paint because I can’t imagine not painting," says Steve. "Aside from the love and comfort of family and friends, nothing else makes me feel so whole or so completely connects me to the world."

More from Steve: 
Like most painters who are serious and passionate about their work, I paint what personally fascinates me. Sometimes that is a still life, portrait, or figure, but most often it is a landscape.  I consider myself a painterly realist, meaning that I try to be faithful to visual reality while making it clear through vigorous brushwork, lively color, and disregard of precise detail that what you’re looking at is a painting, not a photograph.
 
My plein air (outdoor) paintings are typically done in two to three hours and tend to be looser and more impressionistic than my studio work. Studio paintings, which can takes, days, weeks, or months, provide an opportunity for a more nuanced, carefully considered response to a scene. 
I have been painting seriously for some 20 years. My most influential teachers have been Liana Bennett, Scott Christensen, Catherine Gill, Deanne Lemley, Ned Mueller, and Eric Weigardt. 
 
I teach oil painting for intermediate-level students at Arts Umbrella in Bothell Country Village. I am a signature member of Puget Sound Painters and the Northwest Watercolor Society. My paintings in oil, acrylic, and watercolor have been juried into prestigious national shows. I am an associate member of Oil Painters of America and the American Impressionist Society. 
I am also the author of eight books on natural history, including A Field Guide to the Cascades and Olympics and A Field Guide to the Grand Canyon, both of which I also illustrated. Formerly, I was editorial manager for The Mountaineers Books and managing editor of the Sierra Club magazine. Most recently, I worked more than a decade as a technical writer for Microsoft.
Much more over at Steve Whitney's website

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There's only a few days left before the Meadows to Mountains show is officially done. We have a closing ceremony this Saturday, January 9, at the American Art Company in Tacoma from 3-5pm. It's your last chance to see this year's fabulous show! 

Monday, November 16, 2015

From Meadows to Mountains

In recent years, Plein Air Washington Artists have held an end of year juried art show to showcase and celebrate the great art that our members have been doing. This year's theme is "Meadows to Mountains" and is ongoing right now.

We celebrated the opening of the show at the American Art Company a couple weeks ago. It was great to see a lot of the people that I've painted with and their work nicely framed in the gallery. I must say I wasn't terribly surprised at the winners; all were stunning and quite deserving of winning the awards.

Ned Mueller, "Mt. Shuksan"

Here are the awards:

From left: Michael Situ, Jim Lamb, and Ned Mueller
photo credit: Karren Bakke

This year's judge was the esteemed Michael Situ. When you visit the gallery, there is a wonderful Michael Situ painting there that we are raffling off for just $5 per ticket. It's a great opportunity to get such an exquisite painting. But of course, there are other excellent paintings by many many artists. This year there are nearly 90 paintings on display, go and check it out yourself! The exhibit runs through December.

American Art Co is at 1126 Broadway Plaza, Tacoma, WA 98402. For those who cannot go to Tacoma, this show also has an online gallery where you can also purchase the art.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Featured Artist: Kathleen F. Ritz

Our featured artist this time is Kathleen Ritz!


One thing that's nice about doing these artist features is that I get to go read their bios, check out their websites, and learn more about their art. I've painted with Kathleen on a couple paint outs before, and really enjoyed her work. But I must admit, I didn't know much about her background. So here's Kathleen's bio:


I have a Bachelors Degree in Nursing but my interest in art is as strong as my professional career. I have had an interest in art all of my life, sketching and working in watercolor from an early age. I began working in watercolor in 1986 taking classes and workshops, then my interest changed to oil painting and I sought further art education beginning in 2006 from the Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, WA. The object of my focus includes the natural world and the elements people have designed, working primarily on sight in plain air. I have had a lifelong interest in nature and can be found walking and hiking most any month of the year, rain or shine, eyes wide open to my surroundings. I enjoy painting landscapes, historical architecture, boats and water scenes, and occasionally have opportunities to paint someones portrait, which is a wonderful experience. Artists who have influenced my works include Edward Hopper, Emily Carr, Tommy Thompson, and Georgia O’Keeffe.
I do think that these influences really show up in her work:






Kathleen's website is at www.kathleenritzart.com.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

We got on TV! Baker and Shuksan paintout

It was one of the more challenging paint outs logistically, but our facilitator, Karen Bakke ably handled it with enthusiasm and aplomb. Many of us stayed in the Mountaineers' Baker Lodge, together with another group of artists from Canada, and a photography group. It was a blast to see so many artists staying together under one roof, even for just a couple nights. I think PAWA got the other artist groups beat when it comes to wine consumption :).

(photo credit Susan McMamamen)

This is the second time I've been on a paint out at Baker, and the views are just spectacular.  The paint out was over the weekend. Saturday was a bit rainy and chilly, though people managed to come up with some spectacular plein air work anyway.



Sunday, we got much nicer weather! With the sun out and blue skies.





Among the guests at the mountainteer's lodge was Diane Lewis filming some of us for Evening Magazine -- and so PAWA got on TV! It's really fun to see the Evening Magazine segment, with much insights from Jan Jewell and Michael Hopcroft. I particularly liked Michael saying that "art is infinite."

Thanks again to Karen Bakke. One of the mountaineer's volunteers was talking about how they run the lodge, and he said that usually people trickle in Friday night and he usually had a few hours Friday afternoon to prep the lodge. "But this weekend, someone was there waiting for me when I arrived!" he said, incredulously. And Karen was like... "That was me!" Thanks Karen, your efforts made this one of the best paint outs of the year.