– Bob Bahr reporting, Editor PleinAir Today –
The organizer of this paint-out in Oregon gets permission from 27 lavender farms to allow artists to paint the fields in bloom. The results are spectacular.
Lead Image: “Gathering,” by Brenda Boylan. First Place
The Oregon Lavender Paint Out at the Willamette Valley Lavender Festival & Plein Air Art Show lasts two weeks and attracts artists from several states, and the event has awards for both juried professionals and the general public. This year, Brenda Boylan took home two awards, and ribbons have never been sweeter for the Portland painter.
“The Willamette Valley Lavender Festival & Plein Air Art Show is one of my favorite events because it brings the local plein air community out to paint together in a relaxed pace,” says Boylan. “I love how painting lavender brings out all the senses, but lavender is hard to make interesting in a painting. I have to give credit to my fellow plein air artist friend Don Bishop for suggesting the final little figure in the distance to balance out the composition. I think the figures make the piece.”
After those niceties were said, Boylan got serious. “So, the real story is that after I had a rough start in Plein Air Easton with equipment failure and a small medical emergency that took up precious painting time, I had sunk pretty deep into a panic mode,” she says. “Thankfully, the issues were resolved within a few days. It was nice to get the welcome news of the two awards after all that stress. What a roller coaster ride of emotions.”
Specifically, Boylan won First Place in the Professional division with “Gathering,” and the Kris Horn, Coldwell Banker Award for “As the Day Approaches.” Amanda Houston won Second Place with “Lavender Shadows,” and Don Bishop won Third with “Red Ridge Path.” Allan Brockman, Rosemarie Caffarelli, Jennifer Diehl, Jean Gale, Anna Lancaster, and Yer Za Vue won Honorable Mention.
The Art Elements Award went to Bhavani Krishnon for “Secret Garden,” and the Red Ridge Farms Award was won by Ramona Youngquist for “Victoria’s Lavender.” Jennifer Diehl won Artists’ Choice for “Field of Dreams,” and Theresa Andreas O’Leary won People’s Choice with “Scent of Lavender.”
In the Open division, Laurel Bushman won First Place with “Lavender Valley,” Nancy Zhang won Second Place with “Mountainside Lavender,” and Sarah Lam won Third with “Afternoon Lavender.” Honorable Mention went to Andrea Babb, Sarah Bachhuber-Paroutka, Kay Elmore, Kathy Johnson, Stan Robinson, and John Shigo.
“We are all really proud of the caliber of event it has become,” says Kathy Johnson, chair of the event. “The artists return year after year, so I think they must really enjoy it. It is a special opportunity for all of us plein air painters to have permission to paint at 27 lavender farms over a two-week period. The artists who attend other events say that ours is a relaxing one — personally, I think they get a lot of aromatherapy out in the midst of all that lavender. Shh, don’t tell them!”