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Artists urged to sign up soon; art lovers asked to save dates

Pacific Northwest event starts Aug. 25

The Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River is organizing and hosting Pacific Northwest Plein Air 2005 -- a multipart plein-air painting event juried by nationally acclaimed plein-air artist Kenn Backhaus.

Cathleen Rehfeld, curator for the program said: "The breathtaking vistas and scenic diversity of the Pacific Northwest's Columbia River Gorge region make it an ideal place to do "plein-air" painting -- painting done outdoors, on location and in the moment."

Artists are encouraged to sign up soon if they want to participate in the events. Art lovers are invited to watch the artists as they paint and to join the art show to follow.

A map of the painting locations will be published closer to the time of the event, and collectors and the general public alike will be invited to tour locations where artists will be painting.

The event begins on Aug. 25 with a five-day paint-out competition in locations in and around the Gorge, and is followed by a month-long plein-air art show opening on Sept. 2.

In addition, Kenn Backhaus is conducting a plein-air workshop Sept. 5-9 in various locations.

Participating artists can submit up to five pieces of art to the show, which is open to artists working in acrylic, oil, watercolor or pastel. All art submitted will be juried on Aug. 30.

Artists can participate in as many days as they are able -- one day or all five days, depending on their schedules. Artists can also submit to the show, plein-air work they previously painted, so long as the work was completed within the last two years.

Rehfeld says: "Plein-air painting is experiencing a resurgence in popularity throughout the country, and we want to give artists and the general public an opportunity to learn more about it. In addition, we want to give collectors an opportunity to 'commune' with artists at the very moment that a piece they may later purchase is being created."

Artists and the public are invited to meet Backhaus when the show opens on Friday evening, Sept. 2, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Backhaus is one of the most renowned plein-air artists in the country, and is a signature member of both the Oil Painters of America and the Plein-Air Painters of America.

Judie Hanel, Executive Director for the Columbia Center for the Arts says: "This show has the potential to be one of our premier shows for years to come. After all, what more beautiful a place is there to paint in, than in and around the Columbia River Gorge?"

Artists are asked to register for the competition by Aug. 15, and for the workshop as soon as possible as space is limited. The fee to enter the competition is $10. The workshop fee is $475.

To register for the paint-out competition, to enter a piece into the show, to register for the workshop, or for more information, contact Hanel at 541-387-8877 or


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