Farm fields, tractors, mountain peaks, Dungeness Bay: They all beckon the plein air painters who’ve come from across the continent to the art competition and festival called Paint the Peninsula.
Throughout this week, Aug. 19-26, 22 visiting artists are fanning out across the North Olympic Peninsula, painting outdoors — and bringing their fresh work straight to the gallery at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd., for public display. Admission is free to see the Paint the Peninsula art show, which stays up through Sunday.
Art lovers can also catch outdoor painting demonstrations at two Olympic National Park locations today (Wednesday, Aug. 22), an awards party Thursday for the canvases painted in the park, the Paint Out on Friday at Port Angeles’ City Pier, the gala awards party Saturday at the fine arts center and, finally, the Petite Painting Show on Sunday. All activities are free except the awards gala, where $15 includes hors d’oeuvres and desserts. Proceeds from this event, along with a portion of art sales, benefit the nonprofit Port Angeles Fine Arts Center.
All week, the center will be a place to vote, added executive director Jessica Elliott. People’s choice balloting will be under way, and everybody is invited to cast a vote for the paintings they find most stunning.
“An art gallery can appear so unapproachable. We want to welcome people; we want their input,” Elliott said.
“There’s so much art being put up each day,” and it can’t all fit, so the fine arts center is opening an online art shop. At PaintthePeninsula.org, people can look at all 22 artists’ creations — including the paintings taken off the gallery walls to make more room for incoming work. The site will stay open all week and into October.
Sequim proved fertile for last year’s artists: Rachel Pettit of Tooele, Utah, won the $1,000 Best Landscape prize for her painting of the Jardin du Soleil Lavender Farm while Susie Hyer of Evergreen, Colo., won the Best Nocturne award, also $1,000, for her “Summer Nights in Sequim.” Both painters are back this year.
The field of artists here this week includes D.K. “Deke” Palecek of Kaukauna, Wis.; Simon Winegar of Farmington, Utah, Jean-Pierre Jacquet of Greenwich, Conn., Devin Roberts of Pleasant Hope, Mo., and J. Brad Holt of Cedar City in southern Utah. 2017 Best in Show winner Bruce Gomez of Denver, Yong Hong Zhong of Lake Oswego, Ore., Jim McFarland of Victoria, B.C., and Richard Sneary of Kansas City, Mo., are also back on location.
The competition side of this includes the $300 people’s choice award plus 13 other categories. Best in show comes with a $2,500 prize; the artists’ choice brings $1,500.
Painting outdoors “is a great way to grow as an artist,” said Winegar, who’s making his first-ever trip to Washington state. “It takes you to new and crazy places.”
Paint the Peninsula schedule:
Admission is free to these events unless otherwise noted. To find out more, see PaintthePeninsula.org, visit the Paint the Peninsula Plein Air page on Facebook or phone the arts center at 360-457-3532. Also during the week, art lovers may also phone the center to find out which painters are working where.
Wednesday, Aug. 22- Friday, Aug. 24
9 a.m.-8 p.m. — Dozens of paintings, freshly completed by 22 visiting plein air artists, are on display at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center gallery. All art is available for purchase.
Wednesday, Aug. 22
9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. — Artists give plein air painting demonstrations at both the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, 3002 Mount Angeles Road, and outside Lake Crescent Lodge, 416 Lake Crescent Road. Look for the easel to find each artists’ location.
Thursday, Aug. 23
6-7:30 p.m. — The awards party for artists’ paintings in Olympic National Park is open to all at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center gallery.
Friday, Aug. 24
1-4 p.m. — The annual Paint Out sends all 22 artists to Port Angeles’ City Pier and waterfront Esplanade to complete paintings within the afternoon. Art lovers are welcome to watch and attend the Paint Out awards presentation shortly after 4 p.m. on the pier.
Saturday, Aug. 25
9 a.m.-3 p.m. — The Port Angeles Fine Arts Center gallery continues displaying paintings by the 22 participating artists, just before the evening’s awards presentation.
4:30-6:30 p.m. — The Paint the Peninsula Awards Gala features live music by Mark Owens, appetizers and desserts. Camaraderie Cellars wines will be available. Prizes totaling $12,000 will be presented for the week’s top paintings in 14 categories, and judge Eric Jacobsen will chat with guests about his selections. Tickets are $15 at PaintthePeninsula.org.
Sunday, Aug. 26
9 a.m.-8 p.m. — The Petite Painting Sale offers fresh 5-by-7-inch and 6-by-8-inch paintings from each Paint the Peninsula artist, available for purchase on this day only.
Sunday, Aug. 26-Tuesday, Aug. 28 — Nationally known artist Eric Jacobsen teaches the 2018 plein air workshop, “Painting Northwest Color and Light.” Fee for the three-day hands-on outing is $350; details and registration are at PaintthePeninsula.org via the workshops link.