Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A National Park Salute

Paradise Valley, Yellowstone National Park
Iryna Milton
If you need any convincing that our National Parks were indeed America's Best Idea, you may want to start planning a trip to Tacoma now. The Plein Air Washington Annual Show, themed A National Park Salute to celebrate the NPS Centennial, showcases the diverse beauty of our public lands along with the incredible talent in our little corner of the country.

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park- PLEIN AIR
Joanne Shellan
While the award ceremony has come and gone, the show is still on display at the American Art Company in Tacoma. If you have a favorite painting you want recognized be sure to visit during the Closing Celebration on January 7th, 2017, from 3pm-5pm! You will be able to cast a vote for the People's Choice Award and congratulate the winner! It will be a fantastic opportunity to meet with your fellow art lovers.
Grand View, Grand Teton NP
Paula Ensign
 Jane Wallis has edited a beautiful compilation of the work included in the show, along with all the entries our members submitted. Each artist has written about their experience painting in National Parks, making the book an inspirational collection.

Light Play on Saddle Rock - Scotts Bluff National Monument
Laura Gable
Judge Jim McVicker had quite the job judging this show, there was no shortage of deserving work!

Best of Show: Ned Mueller
"St. Mary River, Glacier National Park"

1st Place: Melanie Thompson
"Clarno Dawn"

2nd Place: Jim Lamb
"Morning Shadows Over the White River"

3rd Place: Jan Jewell
"White Mountain From Tioga Pass"

Best Plein Air: Ned Mueller
"Study from Glacier National Park"

Honorable Mention: Jan Jewell
"White Mountain at Yosemite from Tioga Pass"

Honorable Mention: Yong Hong Zhong
"Broken Arch Study"

Gamblin Sponsor Award for Best Use of Color: Robin Weiss
"Forest Light, Olympic National Park"
Rosemary & Co Sponsor Award for Best Use of Light: Lou Hurlbut
"Grand Staircase, Escalante National Monument"
If you're interested in seeing the show, stop by the American Art Company at 1126 Broadway Plaza, Tacoma. They're open from 10:00am-5:30pm Tuesday – Friday, and 10:00am-5:00pm on Saturdays.

If you can't make it to the show, or want a little preview before stopping in you can see it on the American Art Company website.

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.

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

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!