Hope, Idaho: Take 17 artists, give them two days and a big beautiful wilderness to paint in and around, and what do you get? Five and a half dozen new paintings. That’s the number that were hung at the Outskirts Gallery in Hope, Idaho, on Sunday, September 26, as result of the third annual Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness (FSPW) Plein Air Paint Out, a celebration of art and the wild.
“This event was felt by all to be the most successful of our three Paint Outs,” said FSPW volunteer Paint Out organizer Neil Wimberley. “Over 200 people came through the gallery on Saturday and Sunday.”
Judging of the paintings was done Sunday afternoon by a trio of Sandpoint artists: painters Steven Schultz and Romey Stuckart and mixed-media creator Kevin Watson. In addition to their discernment, over 70 gallery visitors cast votes for their favorites as Best of Show, which was awarded to Naples artist Robert Bissett. His painting, “Sam Owen,” is a blue-hued watercolor of Lake Pend Oreille and Memaloose Island with the Green Monarchs in the background as seen from the beach at Sam Owens Campground. As Best of Show, the painting was purchased from Bissett by FSPW, amounting to a cash prize of $375.
For her painting, “Afternoon Clearing,” Susan Conway Kean was awarded 2nd prize of $75 for art supplies. Third prize, $50 for supplies, went to Connie Scherr for “Pack River Flats.” Betty Billups, Gregg Caudell, Diana Moses Botkin and Dorothy Modafferi all received honorable mentions
“This show adds up to great exposure for the artists, the gallery and the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness,” said FSPW program coordinator Sandy Compton, “and any sales go to support all three: 50% to the artists, 25% to the gallery and 25% to FSPW. Win, win, win.” Six paintings were sold on Sunday, and the remaining works will be on display at the Outskirts into the fall.
Outskirts Gallery owner Kally Thurman has been an enthusiastic supporter of tbe Paint Out since its inception, and continues to work hard for the artists and for the Scotchman Peaks. “We have a number of venues lined up for this show,” she says, “including Foster’s Crossing, Evans Brothers’ Coffee and then Laughing Dog Brewery, when they get into their new building.”
Moscow painter Aaron Johnson and Jared Shear of Thompson Falls each donated for silent auction a watercolor that was painted for the FSPW “Extreme Plein Air,” held in July. The Extreme Plein Air is an extended combined painting and backpacking trip into the middle of the Scotchman Peaks. This year’s event was the second in what Compton hopes will become a tradition. “I think it’s a one-of-a-kind event. No other group is going out for so long in such rugged country to paint. Our patron saint is Thomas Moran.”
Johnson and Shear will take their “extreme” paintings to Lewis and Clark State College in Lewiston for a show in January.
The show was the result of the efforts of many. “I’m very grateful to my volunteers, Wimberley says, particularly Kally Thurman, who donated her time and gallery and enthusiasm for this event, and brought her artist friends and patrons. The artists and their families gave time, effort, and personal expense to come to Hope to help with our wilderness campaign.”
Other contributors to the event were JT Trilling, chef at the Hope Marketplace, graphic designer Vera Gadman, dahlia grower Jon Burkhart, FSPW volunteer Ann Wimberley, Susanne Wimberley of Wheyward Goat Cheese Company and photographer Tom Woodward. Laughing Dog Brewery was also generous in their beer pricing.