Friends ribbon presented as part of Aug. 3 plein air awards ceremony and opening night reception at the Maryhill Museum of Art.Contacts:
Burt Edwards, communications director, Friends of the Columbia Gorge | 971.634.0595 (Office) | 703.861.8237 (Cell) | email@example.com (email)
Rachel Bucci, media and public relations officer, Maryhill Museum of Art | 509.773.3733 (general inquiries) | firstname.lastname@example.org (email)
GOLDENDALE, WA – On Saturday, Aug. 3, Lilli-anne Price of Salinas, CA was announced as the inaugural winner of the Friends of the Columbia Gorge ribbon at opening reception of the 14th annual Pacific Northwest Plein Air in the Columbia Gorge at the Maryhill Museum of Art in Goldendale, WA. Price's winning acrylic painting ("Bingen Skyline") of the Hood River and Bingen skyline at sunset was one of several Gorge plein air paintings recognized by Maryhill and partner organizations at the reception. Elo Wobig of Portland, OR was selected as the Friends ribbon runner-up for her oil painting ("Shoulders of the Columbia River") of the view from the Cape Horn Lookout. The Maryhill Museum of Art has facilitated and hosted the plein air competition since 2016.
Chosen from over 160 entries, the paintings by Price and Wobig were selected by a special Friends' staff team (Kate Lindberg, outdoor programs coordinator and Burt Edwards, communications director) as best illustrating and celebrating the natural beauty and sense of wonder of the Columbia Gorge. For her winning painting, Price will receive a one-year Friends gift membership and a $250 cash prize. Wobig will receive a one-year gift membership and book of Gorge photography. Both paintings will be featured in an upcoming Friends' print newsletter.
"It was hard picking from so many great paintings, but the colors Lilli-anne captured of the sun setting in the Gorge just leapt off the canvas," said Friends ribbon judge Kate Lindberg. "The delicate balance of community and nature is one of the things that makes the Columbia Gorge so special. And the way both Lilli-anne and Elo captured that balance in their respective paintings was remarkable."
Seeking to deepen and celebrate the connection between art and nature in the Gorge, Hood River artist Cathleen Rehfeld launched the first Pacific Northwest plein air gathering and completion in 2006. The annual paint-out and exhibit draws on a long tradition of painting in the open air, attracting some of the finest painters from across the country to capture the Gorge's stunning light and inspiring vistas. To paint en plein air essentially means to paint outdoors, coping with heat, cold, or other elements.
After four days of painting at Gorge locations selected by the artists, the works will be displayed at Maryhill for the month of August. Guest jurors awarded several prizes ("Best Sky," "Best Mountain," "Best Water" etc.) on Saturday to the most exceptional works. This year marks the first time Friends has partnered with Maryhill to award a ribbon in the competition. The new Maryhill-Friends community partnership seeks to collectively build on previous individual efforts by both organization to illustrate the both the Gorge's beauty and its fragility.
"The Gorge is just an amazing motherlode of a landscape for artists," said Price. "The day before the paint-off started, my husband and I were riding our bikes around the White Salmon area to scope out potential scenes. As we made our way around we stopped for a rest in the parking lot of Skyline hospital, and I knew instantly—there it is, this is where I want to paint."
"I've loved drawing and painting since childhood," said Wobig. "I always carry my sketchbook and water pen, in case something captures my eye. Living in the Portland area I find inspiration everywhere, and the view from the Cape Horn Overlook along Highway 14 just took my breath away."
Staff from Friends and Maryhill first met in February 2019 to explore potential partnerships that could further both organization's public education efforts. Following up from that meeting, the idea of the awarding a new Friends of the Columbia Gorge at Maryhill's summer plein gathering competition was developed.
"Collaborations between Maryhill and Friends of the Columbia Gorge are natural because so much of what we both do is focused on the Gorge," said Steve Grafe, curator of art at Maryhill. "We both believe that responsible and visionary management of the region is critical to the well-being of local residents and the visitors who travel great distances to take advantage of the region’s many amenities."
"Art has long played a role in helping protect natural treasures like the Gorge. And Friends is honored to partner with Maryhill and further community discussions about the importance of protecting and preserving the Gorge for generations to come," Friends of the Columbia Gorge Executive Director Kevin Gorman stated.
"If conservation in the Gorge hadn't happened, what would we paint? It's important to see the natural beauty kept intact. Our planet is so beautiful; it's everybody's heart. If we don't have this what do we have?" Price added.
Paintings from the Plein Air event will remain on view and available for purchase at Maryhill until August 24 in the Event Sales Gallery in the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust Education Center. Proceeds support Maryhill Museum of Art. As work is sold and removed, other work created during the paint-out will replace it.
Pacific Northwest Plein Air in the Columbia GorgeFull list of paintings recognized on Aug. 3
- First Place: Yong Hong Zhong (Lake Oswego, OR)
- Second Place: Yer Za Vue (Portland, OR) Third Place: Sergio Lopez (Santa Rosa, CA)
- Honorable Mentions: Aimee Erickson (Portland, OR); Anton Pavlenko (Happy Valley, OR); Cathleen Rehfeld (Hood River, OR); and Erik Sandgren (Portland, OR)
- Best Sky: Melanie Thompson (Richland, WA)
- Best Mountain: Bhavani Krishnan (Hillsboro, OR)
- Best Water: Yong Hong Zhong (Lake Oswego, OR)
- National Scenic Area Award: Tiffanie Mang (Glendale, CA)
- Friends of the Columbia Gorge Award: Lilli-anne Price (Salinas, CA); Runner-Up: Elo Wobig (Portland, OR)
- Museum Purchase Award(s): Erik Sandgren
- Maryhill Award: Aaron Cordell Johnson (Moscow, ID)
For Additional InformationLilli-anne Price Fine Art
Elo Wobig Fine Art
Friends of the Columbia Gorge
Maryhill Museum of Art