Artists who love to go outside and paint the sky, sea, and everything in between are invited to submit their work to Northwind Art for its plein air exhibition. The show is set to open in Port …
Artists who love to go outside and paint the sky, sea, and everything in between are invited to submit their work to Northwind Art for its plein air exhibition. The show is set to open in Port Townsend later this summer.
Titled “Weather or Not,” the exhibition is two things: A celebration of painting outdoors and a tribute to the late Kathy Francis, who co-founded a plein air painting group of the same name.
“En plein air” is a French phrase meaning “in the open air.” It describes the process of painting a landscape outdoors and defines both a simple technical approach and a whole artistic credo of truth to sensory reality, a refusal to mythologize or fictionalize landscape, and a commitment to the idea of the artist as creative laborer rather than exalted master.
“It’s a wondrous thing to behold,” said Northwind Art’s communication manager Diane Urbani, who has watched many artists painting en plein air in such places as Hurricane Ridge, Boat Haven, and Fort Worden. “The artists have to think on their feet, painting the landscape in proportion, on the fly, with the wind changing, or rain clouds coming in. They are able to finish their paintings in only a few hours — or less.”
Francis led the group until her health would no longer permit it; she passed away in January 2020 at 77. She is survived by her husband of 59 years, Bob Francis, a volunteer at Northwind Art who provided Francis’s paintings, studies, and narratives she had written about painting en plein air to help bring this exhibit to fruition.
“[Francis] was extremely kind, and had an inner peace which showed up through her painting,” said JoAnne Heron of her late friend. “Even as she approached death, she had a calmness and acceptance.”
She added, “Her paintings were, and still are, full of life.”
Bringing this exhibit about has been a long and windy road for the Northwind artists. It started when a small number of people in the Weather or Not group proposed a group show honoring Francis.
“We were asked if we could make it into a juried show, which would be much more inclusive than just a group of seven painters,” Heron recalled. “We said yes.”
Through staff changes and other challenges, the proposal was lost. Then-exhibits director Kathleen Garrett resurrected it with great enthusiasm, and now the torch has been passed to current director Michael Dubose.
“Weather or Not” is open to entrants from across the greater Northwest, including Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and British Columbia. Artists may submit up to five entries. If their work is accepted into the show, it will be eligible for the $500 Juror’s Choice award, one of three $300 merit awards, or the $100 People’s Choice prize.
The exhibition’s juror is Seattle-based artist Catherine Gill, author of “Powerful Watercolor Landscapes,” a book for artists of all levels. Gill is the co-founder of Art Partners International, an organization dedicated to bringing together artists of diverse cultures.
“Weather or Not” will run from Sept. 1 through Oct. 29 at Jeanette Best Gallery, located at 701 Water St. The gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays, and from noon to 8 p.m. for Art Walk on the first Saturday of every month.
The submission deadline is July 14.
For complete details, see https://northwindart.org and click on the red “Call to Artists” banner at the top of the home page.