Nature's Gift of Water

I was finally able to go to the "Nature's Gift of Water" art show in at the American Art Company in Tacoma; this is the annual juried art show by Plein Air Washington's members which is ongoing til Jan 31st. Boy, was it inspiring to see everyone's work there. The art show affirmed to me what I've observed throughout the PAWA paint outs I've been in: there are a lot of really exceptional and skilled artists in Plein Air Washington. And I guess I've been in a lot of PAWA paint outs since so many of the scenes in these paintings are so familiar!

Janice Kirstein's Paintings
Janice Webb Kistein's paintings remind me of warmer, drier days.
Even more gratifying, I think I've met most of the artists featured in the art show. Seeing the works of all these skilled artists in one spot is such a treat. The theme of "water" did not detract people from making art with varying subjects and styles. Misty Martin, who was manning the gallery asked me which was my favorite in the gallery. There were so many good works, I had trouble picking one, but finally pointed to Melanie Thompson's "Clouds Above the Columbia". I think Melanie is a master at depicting Eastern Washington's many charms.


Melanie Thompson's paintings
Melanie Thompson masterfully chronicles the majesty and charm of Eastern Washington
But everyone's work was exceptional, from Karen Whitworth's atmospheric "Coastal Escape", to Yara Damian's "Turquoise Sea," with its unique top-down view. All the artwork can be seen online on American Art Co.'s website, but I encourage you to go see it in person if you're in the area. One thing I noticed with pictures is that it never really captures the texture of the painting, and you can only experience that dimension by looking at the real thing.
Looking at these paintings really made me feel excited about the upcoming paint-outs this year. I joined the PAWA board this year, and I believe we have a great line-up of upcoming paint outs. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, and not a Plein Air Washington member,  I encourage you to join; we welcome everyone at any skill level. I remember when I joined a couple of years ago, I've not done many paintings at that point, but everyone welcomed and encouraged me. There is nothing like painting in nature, but painting outside together with other artists is even better.
P.S. While you're in the area, check out Tacoma Art Museum's amazing "Art of the American West" exhibit.

Tulum Beach

I spent the Christmas holiday with some friends touring around the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. I decided to lug around my painting gear in case we had some free time. I did get some time to paint towards the end of the trip, in Tulum. We had a pretty basic beach-side cottage, where I painted on the beach! The sun was so nice, and a much needed break from the dreary Seattle winter.

In fact, it's been so dark with all the clouds here in the Seattle area that it's really hard to take a picture of the painting in natural light. So I've resorted to scanning the painting. Scanning produces a slightly over-saturated, too-sharp picture I think, where you can even see the nooks and crannies of the paper. In this picture, you might even be able to see some of the sand embedded in this painting. Maybe I should call this a mixed-media work, haha.

tulum beach

Anyway, happy new year! It's that time again to think about resolutions. This year, I have one painting-related resolution. I decided to budget some money to buy art. I've met so many artists since I started painting, and so many of them make really beautiful art that I wish I could have. And I realized, well... if I bought them, I could have them! Of course, I can't just buy a Monet off the street, but I could probably still afford some good original art. Obviously buying art also supports artists, many of whom are my friends. That's not a bad thing too.