Artists capture Montana's landscapes in 'open air' paintout


Artists capture Montana's landscapes in "open air" paintout

VICTOR, Mont. - Artists from all over the country are capturing Montana's summer landscapes on canvas.

Just as great masters like Van Gogh and Monet, the artists are working "en plein air," or in open air.

Seventeen painters are producing a massive amount of work in a short time. They work quickly to beat ever changing conditions in nature.

"I like to be outside," said well known plein air artist Nick Oberling from Kalispell, "where I can see how the light is falling...the wind is moving the trees."

Oberling's painting of a pond, trees shading it, and a little pump house is lovely. It's one artist's interpretation of one moment.

"Your soul is wrapped up into it," said Oberling, "you can go to the same place twice and paint two different paintings."

The artist calls western Montana's landscape "edgy, a little dangerous." The thunderstorms, the predators, the spontaneity of nature, fascinate him.

Robert Moore is an acclaimed plein air artist and teacher from Idaho. He said the challenge is to transpose what his eyes see  onto canvas, so it's a clear message.

"The design, the beautiful colors," said Moore, a simple statement before the light changes, the shapes change."

"All the information is here," said Moore, "If you make the effort and take the time to seek it out."

"The qualities of God are found in his creation," said Moore," so it's a form of worship for me."

He loves the order and design of the the rural setting in Victor, the subtle relationship between sky, mountains, trees, barns and sprinklers.

Plein air artists capture Montana in motion.

Work from the 17 artists participating in the Western Montana Paintout will be available for show at the Dana Gallery, in downtown Missoula, starting Thursday morning. The show continues through August.

More Stories