By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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Paint the Peninsula, the new Port Angeles Fine Arts Center event, propelled amateurs and professionals into the great outdoors this past week.
They've painted en plein air — that's French for outside — from the waterfront to the woods, and now they've brought their canvases back to the center for today's Open Air Festival.
During the party from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., dozens of these fresh paintings will be on display.
Admission is free, and the day also features art activities for all ages, storytelling, bird-watching and photo hikes in the Webster's Woods park surrounding the center at 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd.
The Community Plein Air Contest, which drew 52 entrants, wrapped up with people's choice voting Thursday and Friday.
The winners, who will receive cash prizes of $20 to $50, will be announced at 1 p.m. today.
Then, there's the Paint the Peninsula competition, with 31 professional artists from around the Pacific Northwest.
Their plein air paintings, made this past Wednesday through Friday, will be on view, too, along with quick drawings done just this morning.
“Port Angeles' eclectic weather provides artists with all conditions,” said competition participant Jeff Tocher.
On Thursday, “I got one [painting] during the thunderstorm. Then I realized I might be in danger.
“Then I got another one in the late afternoon in an hour of real nice sunshine.”
As for Friday's conditions: “It's pea soup,” Tocher said.
Yet fog or not, he intended to paint outside The Landing mall Friday evening.
The Paint the Peninsula competition's grand prize is $1,500 plus an unusual bonus: The winning painting will become the label for Camaraderie Cellars of Port Angeles' Plein Air Special Limited Vintage wine.
The competition winners were to be announced at Saturday night's Soiree de Gala fundraiser at the fine arts center. They will be shown, awards and all, at the festival today.
“It should be very interesting to see the community's paintings and those done by people who make a living at it,” said arts center Executive Director Robin Anderson.
Also today, Anderson and her volunteer crew will set up easels on the center's blufftop, overlooking Port Angeles and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, so festival-goers can try some plein air painting of their own.
Today's activities “are all creative, all fun,” she emphasized, “and all free.”
More information about the center and its events can be found at www.PAFAC.org or by phoning 360-457-3532.
Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at email@example.com.