See artists in action through town this weekend and next

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Romona Youngquist, one of the plein air artists participating in this years event, painted this piece, Golden Poppies.Plein Air: A Chronicle of Lake Oswego will be presented by the Arts Council of Lake Oswego May 10-11 and 17-18 in Lake Oswego.

Nationally recognized artists have been invited to capture the springtime beauty of Lake Oswego by painting outdoor scenes throughout the city. From dawn until dusk, artists will be painting at Luscher Farm, Millennium Plaza Park, Foothills and Roehr parks, George Rogers Park and Lakeview Village. The public is invited to visit the locations, meet the artists and watch canvases come to life. The finished works will be exhibited at the Lake Oswego Festival of Arts June 20 through SUBMITTED PHOTO - Artist William Stanton demonstrates plein air painting. He will be one of 30 artists painting in this style over the next two weekends.

“Plein air painting, from the French expression en plein air, translates as “in the open air” and is most commonly used to describe outdoor landscape painting,” ACLO Executive Director Nancy Nye said. “The terms dates back to the 1870s when outdoor painting rose in popularity due to a number of artistic developments, including the invention of paint tubes as well as transportable “field” or “box” easels, allowing painters to pack up their equipment, leave their studios and paint in the outdoors.”

Nye said previously painters had to grind and mix their paints - a time consuming process. She said artists include Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet championed Impressionism and plein air painting in France during the 19th century and set the stage for later artist schools advocating this style of painting.

Many plein air painters work a la prima, quickly capturing the essence of the natural scene in one setting and then returning as often as needed to finish their canvases. Because of the focus on natural light, color and brush stroke are used to produce forms that give an impression of the scene rather than presenting the viewer with a completely realistic SUBMITTED PHOTO - Karen Lewis is another plein air artist participating in Plein Air: A Chronicle of Lake Oswego. She painted this piece, titled Signs of Spring in plein air.

“For me, plein air painting is the perfect excuse to sit in some lovely spot and experience the exuberance of nature,” Karen Lewis, one of the painters participating in the May event, said. “Into every painting goes the feel of the breeze on my face, the smells and sounds of my surroundings and the colors and light effects that a camera can never really capture.”

“I often get asked ‘where did you go to art school?’ I like to say The Art Institute of Outdoor Painting,” Romona Youngquist, another of the artists, said.

“Lake Oswego is an ideal setting for plein air painting as the city offers an abundance of picturesque locations - Oswego Lake, the Willamette River, Luscher Farm and the many public parks and plazas located within the downtown area and throughout the city,” Nye said.

“There are over 500 registered plein air painters in the United States today and many of them are right here in the Northwest participating in this year’s show,” Janet Voss, curator of the show, said. “To be able to watch the actual work being created at the many locations within the city is a tremendous opportunity and experience.”

Thirty artists will participate both weekends at various locations around Lake Oswego. A map will be available at the Arts Council office, located at 510 First St. in Lake Oswego, and at Millennium Plaza Park. The map is also available online at

Plein Air: A Chronicle of Lake Oswego is sponsored by Devine Color. Devine Color founder, Gretchen Schauffler of Lake Oswego, will be demonstrating the paint May 10 at Sundeleaf Plaza following the start of the Lake Run, May 11 at Millennium Plaza Park. The following weekend she will be at the Lake Oswego Farmers’ Market May 17 and at Luscher Farm May 18.
By Barb Randall
Staff Reporter
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