By Paula Ensign, 07-May-2013 03:42:00
We had such a great time these past few days at the Columbia River Gorge! It is truly a plein air painter’s paradise. With views of the river, rock formations, wildflowers, volcanic peaks, weathered farm buildings and so much more, we barely scratched the surface of possibilities in our few days of painting. This was a new destination for us and we liked it so much it may well become an annual spring paint-out. Perfect weather was the icing on the cake.
We split our time between two state parks about 50 miles apart - Beacon Rock in forested foothills, and Columbia Hills on the edge of the high desert – both had wonderful views in all directions. About 18 painters came from all directions to set up their easels for one or more days. One of the things I love about painting together is the positive energy and encouragement of the group. We are all too familiar with the struggles and challenges of learning to paint. A smiling face and a cheerful word can have a huge impact. What a great group we have!
The hostel room worked well and we discovered that the small town of White Salmon has some wonderful restaurants. Thank you so much Janice Kirstein and Nancy Allen for your excellent facilitating!
By Paula Ensign, 16-Apr-2013 22:05:00
One of the great things about our State Park focus is discovering new places. I’d never been to Dash Point State Park although it’s nearby in King County. It’s actually quite delightful - a wooded park along the banks of the south sound, just north of Commencement Bay. Of course it would have been more delightful if it was sunny and 70 degrees, but six determined members of PAWA each managed to get at least one painting completed before leaving mid-day on Saturday. It sounds like the weather was not much better on Friday at Saltwater State Park.
Dash Point offers several nice picnic areas and viewpoints. A tree-shaded creek gurgles its way to the beach. The broad sandy beach would have been inviting if not for the wind and scattered raindrops. I thought the creek made an interesting subject so I set up on the sand. (painting photo coming soon). Despite layers of clothing it was not getting warmer as the day progressed. We’ll keep hoping for better weather.
By Paula Ensign, 27-Mar-2013 03:48:00
Laurie Crawford wrote this about her adventures at the Fort Casey Paintout
A new PAWA member, Trish Murphy, and I caught the 8:30am Mukilteo ferry to Whidbey Island
yesterday, in spite of the heavy snow here. A biker at the Red Cup Cafe in
Mukilteo, who had just come across from Clinton said the roads were clear.
HOWEVER, when we got there, there were power lines down so traffic was
rerouted. Wet roads and very heavy snow left cars abandoned in the ditches,
tow trucks arriving and snow plows clearing the way east, OFF the island. I
just kept driving Northwest praying no one in front of me would stop. I was
glad to have a clear headed painting partner who could communicate with
various cell phone messages.
The white stuff cleared enough, so we stopped
in Coupeville to call and see who else was around to paint. PAWA had
cancelled the paint-out a half hour earlier. We parked the car and headed
into an organic food store. My companion took a walk through the mostly
deserted town looking for photo ops and sketches for her water colors. I
stayed for tea and heard from Jane Wallis that they were waiting for a
painter from Port Townsend at the Keystone Cafe. We drove back there and
found them painting from the trunk of their car. The snow and water were
over ankle deep and no one wanted to stand with freezing feet. The sun came
out. Ebey State Park is right there so I painted the ferry arriving in snow
and ate half my sandwich. When I cleaned up to leave I found the plastic
remains of the rest of my sandwich devoured by the ravenous sea gulls. We
went on around the point to paint the Fort Casey Lighthouse in bright light
and reflecting snow. Hadn't thought to bring sunglasses. We dried our socks
and warmed our feet using the hand blow driers in the rest room.
Some painters were staying for dinner and had reservations for the night. We had
no problem getting the ferry back to Everett and heading home for a late
dinner and superb hot tub with my husband. Such is the beginning of 100 year
birthday celebration of origin of WA State parks we are trying to preserve
as a sustainable legacy.
By Paula Ensign, 25-Mar-2013 03:43:00
Valerie Collymore, paint-out facilitator, called me early Saturday morning to report that it was snowing on her way to the Mukilteo ferry. Snowing? I looked outside; there was blue sky at my house. Valerie decided to proceed since the weather report predicted better weather. But when she couldn't get off the Clinton Ferry dock because of a downed power line, and we now had reports of heavy snow in Coupeville, we decided to cancel the Paint-out. Too late for five or six valiant souls who had already made their way to Fort Casey. They stayed and painted snow scenes! The snow stopped, the sun came out and a few more painters braved the weather. Those who stayed the night had an enjoyable dinner together in Coupeville with lots of stories to tell.
The next day promised dryer weather but it was still very cold. Snow iced the ground for twelve hearty painters bundled up to face the chill. By noon it was warmer and the sunshine was welcome. I'd always wanted to try a snow scene so I was happy to find a good spot on the way to the ferry for my last painting of the day. Standing in the snow in the shade, it was chilly. By 4:00 pm the temperature started to drop noticeably. I finished up and headed home. All-in all we had a wonderful day in a beautiful spot. Thank you Susan McManamen for hosting this event.
By Paula Ensign, 28-Feb-2013 18:33:00
We all look forward to the first event of each year, our Winter Paint-In at Artworks in Edmonds. This year we had a wonderful group of artists filling the facility with energy and enthusiasm. It was great to see seasoned members, new members and visitors alike. We're off to a great start in what is already shaping up to be an exciting year of paintings and shows.
During the day long event, we painted models and still-lifes, had an art supply sale and enjoyed a banquet table of food for lunch and nibbling. During the brief meeting we crowned Sylvia Carlton, our founding leader, as the first Life Member of Plein Air Washington Artists. Without Sylvia's vision and dedication, there would be no PAWA.
It has really been helpful to my growth as an artist to get to know others who share the same passion. Whether we paint inside or out, whether we're just starting out, or have been painting for years, fellowship, support and laughter go a long way to making the journey more fun.
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