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Artists create 'en plein air' while avoiding the rain

Despite uncooperative weather, 2016 county event a success

HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTOS: TRAVIS LOOSE - Artists paint a portraits of models during the 'quick draw' contest on Saturday. The contest was part of the annual 'Plein Air @ Washington County' art showcase, which encourages local artists to paint images from around the county and display them in Hillsboro."It's good to listen to things that have a constant beat throughout," Sedwick said. "It helps me not to hear what's going on around me."

Sedwick was one of nearly 40 artists who participated in this year's "Plein Air @ Washington County," an annual event held over the weekend that invites local artists to paint various landscapes across the county.

To paint "en plein air" is to paint outdoors. And for the past 10 years, art enthusiasts in Hillsboro have offered local and distant artists an opportunity to paint "from farm to forest" and "from hills to valley" during the annual event.

"I think it's a wonderful event for everyone involved," said Mia Hocking, chairwoman for the Plein Art committee with Sequoia Gallery + Studios, which organizes the annual event. "Really great work comes out of this week's event — really beautiful work."

Each of the artists submitted one or more paintings from various outdoor locales around the county.

"I like to see the partnerships and relationships within the community," Hocking said. "(I like to see) how it brings attention to the local downtown businesses involved."

Her paintbrush racing across the canvas, Sedwick and 10 other painters worked during the quick draw event, Saturday, Oct. 1, at Bag & Baggage Productions, 350 E. Main St. in Hillsboro.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - For the past decade, the annual event has brought artists from across the area to experience the natural beauty of Washington County.Due to inclement weather on Saturday morning, the event was moved from the Pioneer Courthouse lawn to Bag & Baggage's new facility, where the event's reception was already scheduled for later in the evening.

At Bag & Baggage Productions, the artists painted models Jesse Griffin and Maddie Jerome, who for the second year wore authentic 19th century dresses as they sat as motionless as possible for the two-hour event.

Winning first place in the Quick Draw was Southeast Portland-based artist Joanne Mehl.

"It feels great (to win first place)," said Mehl, who had previously only entered one other quick draw event. "I'm not really a fast painter, so the quick draw was a real challenge. If it goes in the wrong direction, you can't save a painting, and you never know when you come if it's going to be one of those days."

Sedwick, who participated in last year's Quick Draw, earned second place to Mehl and also earned an Honorable Mention in the main Plein Air event.

"I don't do things like this to win," she said. "I don't believe many of us do. It's just fun … (but) my ideal outcome is to sell paintings."

Judging all paintings in the event this year was landscape painter and Prineville resident Eric Jacobsen, who expressed excited enthusiasm for the opportunity.

"I take it seriously," he said. "The rules of painting are not my own … (so) just because I say it's best of show doesn't mean you have to agree. But (I judge) based on the fundamentals of what makes a good painting. And I've been at this a long time — so I should know what is a good painting at this point."

The art display continues Tuesday, Oct. 4, from 5 to 8 p.m. during the First Tuesday artwalk reception featuring the Plein Air artists, including the award winners, at Sequoia Gallery, 136 S.E. 3rd Ave., where all Plein Air event works will be on display and for sale throughout the month.

The 2016 Winners

• First Place, $750 cash: Yong Hong Zhong; "Early Fall"

• Second Place, $500 cash: Bill Stanton; "Titanic"

• Third Place, $200 Gamblin gift card: Bhavani Krishnan; "The Venetian Blues"

• Best Emerging Artist, $75 cash and $160 Gamblin oil paint set: Karen Doyle; "Laurie's View"

• Best Landscape, $100 Blick gift card: Amanda Houston; "Grand Finale"

• Best Urban, $100 Blick gift card: Sandra Pearce; "End of the Line"

• Best Nocturnal, $100 Blick gift card: Kristina Sellers; "Tavern Glow"

• The four Honorable Mentions each got $75 in gift cards from Dick Blick Art Materials and restaurant La Provence: Don Bishop; "September Flower Farm"; Susan Kuznitsky; "Old Oaks"; Cindy Bilotti; "Untitled"; Sarah Sedwick; "Plum Hill Barn"

• Artist's Choice, $125 Guerilla Painter gift card and Plein Air Magazine: Don Bishop; "September Flower Farm"

• People's Choice, $150 RayMar Art gift card: Amanda Houston; "Morning with the Trees"

• Judge's Choice: Nancy Zhang; "Autumn Dusk"

• Quick Draw (1st), $80 Guerilla Painter gift card: Joanne Mehl; "Dostoevsky"

• Quick draw (2nd), $55 Aaron Brothers gift card: Sarah Sedwick; "The Gold Dress"

By Travis Loose
Reporter, Hillsboro Tribune
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