Terry Miura had the job of choosing the winners at the recent Pacific Northwest Plein Air in the Columbia River Gorge event. Who did he pick?
Thomas Jefferson Kitts won First Place and a Museum Purchase Award for his painting “Sacred Rites.” Kitts had some things to say about his winning painting. “I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, so this subject has always fascinated me. This indigenous salmon-fishing platform can be found on the Columbia River, downstream from the Dalles Dam, on the Oregon side. It is a scene I painted en plein air early in the morning with good friends nearby. The scene was so striking, so special, that we all felt inspired to produce our best work.

“Dissolve,” by Aimee Erickson. Second Place

“High Noon,” by Yer Za Vue. Third Place

“For those who have not yet traveled up or down the mighty Columbia, these precarious-looking wooden structures are built by the Wishram and Wasco, and they are carefully counter-weighted and balanced atop a high lip rock so that a man may stand and dip his net or hoop into the roiling water below for passing salmon. Each fishing site is ancestral, and shared within its tribal family, and, as such, each platform remains communally tethered to a larger, 15,000-year history of the Pacific Northwest peoples.

“Sunset,” by Aimee Erickson. Best Water

“A Gorgeous View,” by Sergio Lopez. Maryhill Museum Award

“In fact, the tribes who continue to fish from these structures still call themselves ‘The People of the River’ or ‘The People of the Salmon,’ and while it may be bittersweet to learn that the greatest Columbian salmon fishery of all now lies buried beneath immeasurable tons of water, the People still gather today along the Oregon shore to continue their traditions of the potlatch, a gift-giving ceremony that has no equivalent in our world. Thus, the title ‘Sacred Rights.’

“Looking West,” by Cathleen Rehfeld. National Scenic Area Award

“Gorge Voyage,” by Scott Gellatly. Best Sky

Elsewhere, Aimee Erickson won Second Place with her painting “Dissolve,” and Yer Za Vue won Third with “High Noon.” Carole Gray-Weihman, Sergio Lopez, and Michael Lindstrom won Honorable Mention.

“Columbia River, Mt. Hood, and Stonehenge,” by Mary Lamery. Museum Purchase Award

“Klickitat Grandeur,” by Carole Gray-Weihman. Gamblin Artist Color Purchase Award

Yong Hong Zhong won the Historic Columbia River Highway Award, Carole Gray-Weihman won the Gamblin Artist Color Purchase Award, Mary Lamery won the Museum Purchase Award, Cathleen Rehfeld won the National Scenic Area Award, and Sergio Lopez won the Maryhill Museum Award.

“From Catherine Creek,” by William Elston. Best Mountain

There were awards based on subject matter. William Elston won Best Mountain with “From Catherine Creek,” Aimee Erickson won Best Water for “Sunset,” and Scott Gellatly won Best Sky with “Gorge Voyage.”


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