Exploring the Columbia River Gorge En Plein Air


Mt. Hood from Timberline Ski Lodge

From tidepools to snow-capped mountains the Pacific Northwest is known for its diverse beauty and accessibility to nature. Roughly an hour outside of the city of Portland, the Maryhill Museum hosts the annual Pacific Northwest Plein Air painting event. This event challenges regional artists to tackle the serious terrain of the Columbia River Gorge en plein air. 

Suggested subjects for artists to paint while participating include mountains, water, and sky. Mt. Hood is nearby and accessible from many different angles and access points. The Timberline Ski Lodge provides a great space to paint up close to Mt. Hood. Just around the corner among lily pads is the clear water of Lake Trillium which offers a spectacular view of the mountain and its reflection. There are many farms, harbors, city parks and riverfronts to paint and enjoy the scenery closer to the city of Hood River. The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area has many spectacular waterfalls and there are also numerous hikes with vistas for those who can hike with painting gear. 


Petroglyphs at Horsethief Park

Into the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge is the history-rich Maryhill Museum. The Museum was dedicated in 1926 by Queen Marie of Romania who was notably the second royal to ever visit America. Maryhill boasts a unique collection of 70 Rodin sculptures, 300 chess sets from around the world and a life-size replica of Stonehenge. Today the museum offers an education center, a collections suite, and a cafe and hosts an annual, invitational plein air paint out. 

Overall, the Columbia River Gorge is a remarkable area to explore and to paint. The artwork produced by the Pacific Northwest Plein air artists is hands-down stunning. Many artists return annually and after experiencing the beauty of the place I understand why.


Maryhill Stonehenge Reproduction

Upcoming OPA Events

OPA 2019 Western Regional Exhibition 29th Annual National Juried Exhibition
The Twenty-Ninth National Exhibition and Convention will be hosted by RS Hanna Gallery, located in Fredericksburg, Texas, from October 16 - November 28, 2020. Learn More!
Salon Show 2020 Salon Show
The Salon Show will be held August 13 - October 3, 2020 at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center in Gainesville, GA. Canvas Size: not to exceed 864 square inches. More details to be announced as they become available.
Western Regional Exhibition 2020 Western Regional Exhibition
The Western Regional Exhibition will be held September 4 – October 2, 2020 at the Montgomery Lee Fine Art in Park City, UT. More details to be announced as they become available.
Eastern Regional Exhibition 2020 Eastern Regional Exhibition
The Eastern Regional Exhibition will be November 20 - December 19, 2020 at the Reinert Fine Art Gallery in Charleston, SC. Canvas Size: not to exceed 1,200 square inches. More details to be announced as they become available.