By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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The executive director of the 27-year-old arts center wanted to bring out the artist in people — novices and professionals alike — but just as important, she wanted to bring these creative types outdoors for en plein air painting.
That's French for painting in the open air, something famously done by the likes of Renoir and Monet.
So Paint the Peninsula includes not only a Plein Air Competition for the pros, but also a Community Plein Air Contest for the rest of us.
People's choice voting on the contest entries will be open Thursday and Friday at the arts center.
Then, on Saturday night, comes the Soiree de Gala, a major fundraiser featuring the naming of the pro competition winners; tickets are available for $100 per person, with proceeds to benefit fine arts center programs.
Sunday brings the finale of Paint the Peninsula: a free outdoor party in the center's art park.
Schedule of events
Here's the schedule of events, all of which will take place at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd. Admission is free unless otherwise noted:
■ Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.: People's choice voting on more than 40 Community Plein Air Contest entries on display.
■ Saturday, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.: The Soiree de Gala, a French-style evening of art, food and drink; tickets are $100 per person at 360-457-3532 or www.PAFAC.org.
During the Soiree de Gala, the winner of the Paint the Peninsula Competition of professional artists will be announced, and guests will have the opportunity to purchase original works of art, converse with the artists and enjoy catered food and a limited-edition Camaraderie Cellars wine made for the occasion.
■ Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.: The free Open Air Festival brings activities for all ages, including storytelling, mural painting and photo hikes in Webster's Woods, the 5-acre art park surrounding the fine arts center.
Visitors also will have the first chance to see a fresh crop of plein air “quick draw” canvases by Paint the Peninsula's pro artists.
Information about all of these events is at www.PAFAC.org — but Anderson urges art lovers to stop by the center to see the community contest results in full color.
Youngsters, adults and families came to the arts center to enter, she said, and they brought even more enthusiasm than she'd anticipated.
“People said: 'We're so excited. We always wanted to do something like this,'” Anderson added.
When the arts center doors open at 11 a.m. Thursday, Anderson and arts center volunteers will have hung the contestants' dozens of 9-inch-by-12-inch canvases, “like a giant painting” for all to see.
Visitors can vote on their favorites through closing time at 5 p.m. Friday.
Simultaneously, today through Friday, 28 professional artists will be traveling around the North Olympic Peninsula painting en plein air, Anderson said.
Among them are local artists Catherine Mix, Monika Livingstone, Ryoko Toyama, Ines Epperson, Susan Martin Spar, Deborah Sterk, Pam Kauffman, Lyn Smith and Priscilla Patterson.
Also coming to paint the Peninsula are Emiliya Lane, Brandy Agun, Brooke Borcherding, Larry Walden, Timothy Jones, Robin Paul Weiss, Susan Ogilvie, Sandy Byers, Sharon Whyte and Irina Kirienko Milton.
Wine bottle artwork
Competitors will vie for a rare prize, said Anne Weiler-Brown of PleinAir Magazine.
“That the winner will have their artwork on the local bottle of wine: That's a win-win for everybody,” she said.
“The artist gets the publicity, and the vintner gets a piece of fine art.”
And once Camaraderie Cellars releases the wine, drinkers can enjoy its two art forms.
Using an artist's plein air painting as a wine label is “brilliant,” Weiler-Brown said. “It's a great way to promote the longevity of the event.”
Anderson added that the Paint the Peninsula festival is the center's effort to create a venue where any artist could find a place to “plug in.”
Local businesses jumped in, too, the director said. Alongside Camaraderie Cellars and PleinAir Magazine, sponsors include Green Crow, D.A. Davidson & Co., First Federal and Jim's Pharmacy.
These events give the community a chance to see the Peninsula's beauty through the eyes of a wide variety of painters, Anderson said.
The festival, she added, “is only going to get bigger.”
Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.