Paint-Out In Paradise
By Maret Pajutee, July 23, 2011
White parasols bloomed on Indian Ford Meadow this weekend as 40 painters captured personal visions of the Deschutes Land Trust’s Indian Ford Meadow Preserve.
The event was the third “Tale of Two Rivers” open air painting competition, an idea of artist Kathy Deggendorfer, to help connect the talents of the art community to local watershed restoration work. In the past two years, the partnership between the Roundhouse Foundation, the National Forest Foundation and the US Forest Service has produced striking images of Whychus Creek and the Metolius River that tell the story of wild places, water, forests, and people, without using words.
The Deschutes Land Trust’s first property, Indian Ford Meadow, has a poignant story of its own that painters were ready to translate into swirls of color. Indian Ford Creek is a spring fed tributary of Whychus Creek. It headwaters emerge from the ground in a shaded grove at Paulina Springs located on Black Butte Ranch. The creek feeds an unusual number of large moist meadows and aspen groves, a rare habitat in dry Central Oregon landscapes.
Over 1,200 acres of meadows are directly associated with Indian Ford Creek, including Big Meadow at Black Butte Ranch, Glaze Meadow, Black Butte Swamp and Indian Ford meadow. Tapped by early settlers for irrigation, the creek often runs dry in the summer, rarely having enough flow to connect with Whychus Creek.
In 1857 when adventurous engineers camped at Indian Ford Meadow their accounts describe “a little stream called by the
Indians Que-y-ee” which ran through a “fine open prairie at the foot of the black conical butte”. Thanks to willing landowners and the Deschutes Land Trust, 154 years later the view is much the same.
Painters had 4 hours to create and deliver their framed images to Sisters Art Works for the competition.
Local Artist Winnie Givot found the experience blissful, saying “I loved it... it was finally a glorious summer day. We were well provided for. I love painting at Indian Ford Meadow- its one of my favorite places”.
The next generation was also on task. Seven students from Sisters Park and Recreation Painting class taught by Clay Warburton were intent in creating their own visions of the meadow. Their bright graphic paintings had imaginative names, like Haley Schmidlings “Lessons from the Sage”.
Haley and her seven year old sister Meike arrived by bike. Meike won honorable mention with her piece “Black Butte Rising” and said “I thought it was really cool. I like how there is space to see a lot of things.”
Several painters found beauty in a scene graced by a fellow painter. Both Jerry Dame and Norma Holmes captured other artists at work.
Norma won the “Peoples Choice Award” with her ethereal watercolor titled “A Painters Paradise”. Norma paints at the meadow often and appreciates the Land Trusts protection. “Just knowing it’s been preserved it is a true painter’s paradise. You feel like you’re in a divine place, it’s just so easy to paint here”.
The 40 painters captured images of a sunny July morning in a meadow surrounded by mountains in a variety of mediums ranging from pastels to acrylics to oils.
Some found a pine that framed a special view, while others were captured by sage and snowy peaks. Many dreamy landscapes contrasted with bold graphic images.
Jean Nelson- Dean, Public Affairs Officer for the Deschutes National Forest introduced social media to “The Paint-out” through the Deschutes National Forest Twitter Feed. She sent over 30 tweets with photos of the day as she roamed the preserve. “It’s a great way to talk about an event in in a live way. Even if people couldn’t be here, they could experience it through photos and see the amazing artwork being created”.
Nathalie Equall of Portland drew the judges approval for “Best of Show” with her image of lupines along Indian Ford Creek. Nathalie had never been to a Deschutes Land Trust preserve before and was eager to see more. “ There are a hundred paintings out here. I took 400 pictures here last night. I’m excited to see the other Land Trust properties.”
To see more photos from the Plein Air Paint Out, visit our Flickr page.