On August 4th and 5th, 2012, almost forty artists from all over Oregon and nearby Washington were invited to come paint in the Park Blocks in front of the Portland Art Museum.
Hosted by the Portland Art Museum, and sponsored by Gamblin Oil Colors and Oregon Coast Bank, these noted Pacific Northwest artists came to show the general public what plein air painting is about.
Public attendance was high in spite of the unexpected +100 degree temperatures on Saturday, and everyone who showed up had fun. On Sunday there was an afternoon exhibition and sale of work painted in the blocks, with additional plein air art from other areas in Oregon and Washington as well.
After experiencing the plein air painters in the park, the public entered the museum to see an exhibition of California Impressionists from the early part of the 20th century – a grand exhibition of signature work on loan from the Irvine Museum down in Southern California. For the artists who were busy painting outside it was an exciting opportunity to introduce their passion to the general public. To the public going inside it was a fine way to learn this artistic genre remains vibrant, alive, and well today.
This was a terrific opportunity to introduce plein air painting to a wider audience in Portland, Oregon. We hope to do it again next year.
Thomas Kitts and Michael Gibbons (inspiration and organizers of the event)