Columbia Center
for the Arts

215 Cascade Street

PO Box 1543

Hood River, OR 97031


Pacific Northwest Plein Air 2010 Green Home Construction Viento Vinyard & Winery Bella's Beads and Art Supply Springhouse Cellar Winery and Tasting Room Gamblin Colors The Ford Family Foundation

Painting Outdoors •  Gallery Show •  Kids Art Class • Writing Outdoors •  Public Reading •  Online Anthology

Pacific Northwest Plein Air

A Premier Art Event in the Pacific Northwest

Now in its seventh year, Pacific Northwest Plein Air 2011 in the Columbia River Gorge, is a series of art events featuring the art and literary works of accomplished painters and writers.

It's Gorgeous!

Pacific Northwest Plein Air takes place in one of the most beautiful and geographically diverse areas of the Pacific Northwest.

At the heart of the event is a five-day Paint-Out and Write-Out where works of art and writing are created at various outdoor locations in and around the Columbia River Gorge—the nation’s first designated National Scenic Area.

Works of art will subsequently be available for viewing and sale during a month-long art show at Columbia Art Gallery.

Artists, writers, and art lovers all get opportunities to share in the fun.

This year, acclaimed plein air artist Jim Lamb will be the juror for the show.

Participating Artists

41 artists have been selected by jury to participate in the show, as follows:

  • Celeste Bergin
  • Don Bishop
  • Diana Botkin
  • Brenda Boylan
  • Gillian Bull
  • Rosemarie Caffarelli
  • Greg Caudell
  • Bets Cole
  • Paula Ensign
  • Nathalie Equall
  • Peter Fox
  • Scott Gellatly
  • Rachel Harvey
  • Steve Hilt
  • William Hook
  • Joe Howard
  • Eric Jacobsen
  • Aaron Johnson
  • Becky Joy
  • Kimberly Kent
  • Suzy Kitman
  • Christine Knowles
  • Mike Kowalski
  • Mark Larsen
  • Karen Lewis
  • Gretha Lindwood
  • Sergio Lopez
  • Jan Muir
  • Sandra Offutt
  • Michael Orwick
  • Anton Pavlenko
  • Mike Rangner
  • Cathleen Rehfeld
  • Charlene Rivers
  • Kathleen Secrest
  • Kat Sowa
  • Donna Van Tuyl
  • Eric Voight
  • Bonnie White
  • Karen Whitworth
  • Suze Woolf
Mike Kowasaki: Oregon Ash
Events Details Follow ...

Plein Air Art Class for Children

August 22

As in previous years, events kick off with a plein air art class for children. Participants learn to create visual and literary works of art while exploring the natural beauty surrounding them. Works created will be displayed during the opening of the plein air gallery show on Friday, September 2.

This plein air painting class takes place on the lawn of the Hood River Library, with teaching artist Shelley Toon Hight, 9:30 am to noon.

Includes a healthy snack followed by a Mike's Ice Cream cone!  Summer bliss! 

Meet at Columbia Center for the Arts.

  • Ages K-8
  • Fee: $25

Your framed artwork will appear in the Plein Air art show at the art cneter on Frst Friday, September 2nd.

To Register

To register, please contact Shelley Toon Hight at 541-387-8877, ext. 114, or REGISTER ONLINE by clicking here:  Plein Air Art Class for Children

Paint-Out / Write-Out

August 25 - 29

Artists and writers create works of art and literature during a five day “Paint-Out / Write-Out” which takes place in five scenic locations throughout the Columbia River Gorge. The general public is welcome to come and watch.

Painting and writing takes place from sunrise to sunset as follows:

  • Thursday, August 25: The Gorge White House in Hood River, OR
  • Friday, August 26: Pebble Beach, Stevenson, WA
  • Saturday, August 27: Mosier Plateau, Mosier, OR
  • Sunday, August 28: Gorge Crest Vinyards, Underwood, WA
  • Monday, Aug. 29: Downtown and Marina, Hood River, OR

The Paint-Out is a competitive event, where artists have been selected by a panel of judges. The Write-Out is an open event open to all writers regardless of experience.


Register for the seventh annual Pacific Northwest Plein Air event. All writers encouraged to participate in this outdoor writing event. Learn more: Pacific NW Plein Air Writing

Preview Party

September 2

4 - 6pm.

This special reception gives art lovers a chance to purchase their favorite works of art before the show opens to the general public. Many of the 41 artists will be attending and eager to tell you their stories of motivation for creating these beautiful paintings.

This event is open to the public, but intended for those serious about purchasing Plein Air art.

Mark your calendar! 

Gallery Show & Opening Reception

September 2 - 25

The gallery show opens on September 2 at the Columbia Art Gallery in Hood River and extends through September 25. Artworks created during the five-day Paint-Out will be available for purchase and selections of the writers works will be on display.  

Opening reception on First Friday, September 2nd from 6 - 8pm. All are invited!

  • Meet the artists and writers who participated in the event
  • See art from the Plein Air for Children painting event on display in the studio.

Public Reading of Plein Air Literary Works

September 4

7pm in the Columbia Center for the Arts theatre.

The public is invited to hear writers read samples of their works at a public reading to take place at Columbia Center for the Arts. Select samples of the works of writers who participated in the five day Write-Out will be on display in the art gallery throughout the course of the exhibition.

Online Anthology of Plein Air Literary Works


Select literary works created during the Plein Air Paint-Out / Write-Out will be posted to this online anthology, to be released in October.

Visit our Blog Sites

Please visit our blogs for info about last year's events and for day-by-day updates on the events in 2011as they take place.

More About Pacific Northwest Plein Air

Pictures of the Columbia River Gorge

The first Pacific Northwest Plein Air took place in September 2005, and has grown in size and popularity each year. Today it is one of the premier art events in the Pacific Northwest.

Its growing popularity is owed in part to the spectacular scenery in and around the Columbia River Gorge, and in part due to the focus on quality art and writing. In addition, Pacific Northwest Plein Air is unique in that it includes opportunities for both artists and writers.

A Plein Air Paradise

The Columbia River Gorge is, without question, plein air paradise.

“It’s no surprise that each year more artists enter the competition, and more writers participate,” says Columbia Center for the Arts director, Joanie Thomson. “This is our number one event of the year, and it has grown each year because the quality of the art is superb, and because the volunteers who run the show are extremely dedicated to the art of plein air.”

The small community of Hood River, where the event is centered, is nestled along the Columbia River, and sits between the two snow-capped volcanoes of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams, making it not only an ideal, but also an inspirational host town for guest artists and writers, as well as for visitors to the art show and other events.

A National Scenic Area, on Par with the Bavarian Alps!

Notably, the U.S. Congress recognized the unique beauty of the Columbia River Gorge when it made it the nation's first National Scenic Area in November of 1986. More recently, in 2009, in its sixth annual survey of "Destination Stewardship," National Geographic rated Hood River as one of the top ten scenic areas in the world, on a par with the Bavarian Alps.