This Central Oregon gallery promotes its plein air artists in a very logical way.

The interior of Mockingbird Gallery, in Bend, Oregon

It brings its roster of plein air painters together every year or so and has them paint the landscape of the area, then exhibits the results in a show. “One of the unique aspects of our gallery is the way we embrace plein air painting,” says Jim Peterson, the co-owner and director of the Mockingbird Gallery in Bend, Oregon. “That form of expression means a lot to us. It also is a way to reflect the beauty of the area around us here in Central Oregon. It’s hard to beat a plein air show as a way to celebrate an area.”

“Sparks Lake Morning,” by Steven Lee Adams, oil, 12 x 12 in.

“The Lifting Fog,” by Jack Braman, oil, 11 x 14 in.
“Deschutes Color,” by Bart Walker, oil, 9 x 12 in.

The event isn’t held every year — this is an off-year, for example. But this platform for showcasing Mockingbird’s stable of plein air artists proves popular among the painters when it is held. “It’s a very strong group,” says Peterson. “We pick a location in Central Oregon and spend three or four days hitting that area hard. Then we show the work. The artists get a kick out of how we sell the paintings from the event. It’s not unique to us — it’s called ‘purchase by draw,’ and it entails putting an envelope on the wall so people can go through the exhibition and put their name in the envelope next to the painting they want. The prices are set. At the end, we draw a name out of the envelope, and that person has the right of first refusal on the painting. It creates a unique purchasing experience for everybody.”

“Red Head,” by Ken Roth, oil, 11 x 14 in.

“View of Crooked River,” by Richard Boyer, oil, 12 x 16 in.

We asked Patterson why a plein air artist would want to take a look at Mockingbird Gallery. He says he feels the roster of plein air artists, and the collectors who keep an eye on all the work going through the gallery’s doors, speak well for the 24-year-old establishment. He certainly doesn’t discourage top plein air artists from contacting the gallery, but with tempered optimism. “Mockingbird would be an attractive target for plein airists,” says Patterson. “We are contacted on a very regular basis by plein air artists and we are very selective; we want only enough artists that we can handle properly.”


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