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Whidbey Island Paint Out 2023

Plein Air Adventures

Frost is in the air, but the memories of a brilliant summer still linger. The season was filled with art festivals, family travels, and a return to Coupeville and Whidbey Island for the 2023 Paint Out hosted by the Pacific Northwest Art School. I was able to attend for the full week this year, and paint my heart out during the week that heat dome settled over Puget Sound. The best light is in the early mornings and around dusk, so plein air is a sport that favors rising early in general. But 4:30-5a.m. to beat the heat starts to feel a bit crazy!

My first morning I wandered, looking for dawn views along Penn Cove. I pulled over on the shoulder along the cove, and painted out of the hatchback of my car.

purple and blue light streak across the mussel beds in Penn Cove
(SOLD) Dawn over Penn Cove 12"x6" oil on cradled gesso board

Thereafter, looking for coffee, shade, a restroom, and safer space to maneuver, I stumbled across the Captain Whidbey Inn. The first day, I was one of two painters that set up our easels in this idyllic spot. The second day, there was 4 of us. By the third day, word had gotten out, there were 8-10 artists in various locations - on the beach, on the cliff looking at the madronas, in the garden, or by the Twin Lagoon Pond. Plenty of amazing views for all, it was a mini mecca of plein air! I'd come back a second day to finish a painting of madrona trees leaning over the cliff. I'd had to stop on the first day once the enemy of plein air arrived - direct sunlight. Without an umbrella stand I was defenseless, but also hungry and hot, so best to return again when the light I wanted also returned.

two madrona trees leaning with water and cliffs beyond
(SOLD) Madrona Dancers, 10"x8", oil on canvas panel

As I was leaving on Day 2, I explored the back area of the property, and found the Twin Lagoon. That decided Day 3 - I'd be back yet again, for a Giverny moment of my own.

Over the week, I concentrated on the area just north and south of Coupeville, with visits to Ebey's Landing, Crockett Lake, Penn Cove, and several state park beaches. There is so much to explore just in that area, I'm already looking forward to going back!

deciduous tree and shadow on a cliff over the Straights of Juan de Fuca
Shaded Juan, 10"x8", oil on canvas panel

On the last day, I rested... heck no! On the last day, I painted the "Inertia" piece for dual exhibits with Artma at the Yuan-Ru Art Center and virtually at What's Next for Earth Community Resilience and Education exhibit. Once the final painting was created, and all the dirty paint brushes and palettes and cloths were safety stored, I did a quick change and headed to the Gala Reception at the pop-up gallery created by the Pacific Northwest Art School! It was an opportunity to see what my fellow plein air artists had created, and offer up to three works per artist for sale during the weekend.

And the next day, I packed up my traveling studio and drove home. And THEN I rested!

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