Plein Air Painters of Oregon Announces Winners of People’s Choice Awards

(Trail to the Canyon by Michelle Oberg | Photo courtesy of Cascade Fine Art Workshops)

The Plein Air Painters of Oregon (PAPO) are proud to announce the winners of The People’s Choice Awards at the Deschutes Land Trust Celebrates 25 Years art show at Layor Art & Supply Store in September. To celebrate, PAPO members were permitted to paint on several Deschutes Land Trust Preserve Sites that were otherwise closed due to COVID-19, then display their work at Layor. The sites included Indian Ford Meadow, Camp Polk Meadow and Whychus Canyon. PAPO thanks Layor and the Deschutes Land Trust for this wonderful opportunity.

Long-time PAPO Member Michelle Oberg Took First Place with Trail to the Canyon

Michelle writes: “I have been painting for a while, moving from and continuing in all different media. Painting ‘en plein air’ (or ‘in the open air’) is a great learning experience, helping with my studio work. This painting is done in pastel. It was a smoky day at the canyon, so I focused on the trail and brush.”

Second-Place Honors went to Daniel O’Neil with Indian Ford Trail View

“Working in oils in the great outdoors, especially at some of Central Oregon’s premier locations, is an upper of an experience. I spend my weekdays working digitally for a great local ad agency, but there is nothing like getting your hands a little dirty to capture the seasonal beauty around us. The Deschutes Land Trust invited us to experience a couple locations I had never been to, and now I can well understand why these sites are so worth preserving.

Water-soluble oils, and a two-hour time fame, help me to focus on the main elements of a scene. These paints won’t dry out on the hottest of days, and the clean-up with soap and water is a breeze. The day I painted the Wychus Creek painting was over 100F degrees, and it was no problem. Being in nature with natural light is entirely different than painting from a reference photo in the studio, as I was trained to do in college. You have to focus on the actual colors of the light effects and simplify the shapes to describe the experience. Being part of a group like PAPO is a big support; it gets me out on a regular schedule, with a weekly opportunity to learn from other experienced members, or workshops for the whole group.

Having my first commercial sale at the Layor show was a delight, so thanks to my first official patron!”

Wendy Jacobs-Wheeler Took third place with The Path

Wendy is a new member of PAPO. She writes: “My early career was in graphic and design. I relocated to Central Oregon and transitioned to a home-based job, which provided more time for my personal artistic endeavors. Although I am primarily a studio watercolor painter, I see plein air painting as a way to mix my love of two great things, the outdoors and painting. I joined PAPO in 2019 to force me to get out and try it, so I’m still learning many tips and tricks from others. Working fast is probably the biggest challenge for me, as I can often spend a month on a painting in all its fine details in the studio.

“As far as this painting goes, I like challenges and seeing new areas, so the offer for a show at Layor and to see Deschutes Land Trust Preserve sites were appealing. I explored three different Land Trust sites, and ended up painting a spot along one of the trails at Indian Ford Meadow.  I chose to do a small (4” x 6”) painting since I knew I would have only a short window before I would be in the heat of the day. Like Dan, I was also excited to make a sale with one of my plein air paintings.”


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