An exhibit of “plein air” artwork painted at Washington parks is on display through Dec. 31 at the American Art Co. in Tacoma.
The exhibit, “A Centennial Salute to Washington State Parks,” features landscapes painted this year in state parks.
A French term, “plein air” translates to “fresh air” and is a term outdoor landscape painters have traditionally used to describe their approach.
Plein Air Washington Artists is a group of painters who enjoy painting outdoors to capture the beauty and diversity of the state, according to a State Parks news release. This year, members approached State Parks with the idea to commemorate and help celebrate State Parks’ centennial year. Washington State Parks, one of the oldest state park systems in the nation, turned 100 on March 19.
Janice Kirstein, a Seattle artist who took the lead on the group’s Centennial project, said the idea began when members of the group realized that what they felt most proud of was an outdoor painting project in conjunction with a preservation trust effort. A camper as well as a painter, she had only recently painted outdoors in some state parks and thought others would enjoy the experience.
“When you’re out there painting, you realize how much we have to be grateful for with our state park system and how important it is to conserve that,” Kirstein said in the news release.
“While we were out there, visitors were coming up and talking with us and watching and having a different kind of experience with their park. Painting is a great way to connect with people and with places and to help people realize the affinity they have with nature and how that makes our lives richer,” she said.
Artists taking part did work in more than 65 state parks through the spring and summer. Kirstein said about 100 paintings are featured in the exhibit.
The exhibit is presented by Washington State Parks and Plein Air Washington Artists.
The gallery is at 1126 Broadway Plaza, Tacoma.
Drivers to places like Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park and Hurricane Ridge at Olympic National Park are reminded that all vehicles are required to carry tire chains when traveling in the parks during the winter season Friday-May 1.
The requirement applies to all vehicles, including four-wheel drive.