The 4th annual Plein-Air Painter's US Open will be September 8th - 12th on Whidbey Island in Washington State. For me, this is an exciting event. Most plein air events are invitationals, meaning that you have to be a member of a club or clique to participate. Some would argue that it's about quality but that says to me that it's about accepted technique. I bring this up because yes, you can judge technique but, I do not believe you can judge the emotion an artist gives to his or her work. That emotion is what fine art is all about. (there I go again, defining art) ;-)
The US Open was established four years ago by landscape painter James Moore, a Montana transplant now living in Washington. This event allows everyone the opportunity to compete. There is a judge in the end but, not to get in. That removes the mutual admiration society from blocking the flood gates. Each year it has grown larger and larger with artists coming from all over.
If you live close by, I would encourage you to be a participant or voyeur to this event. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the work of these artists. In the end there will be a Gala with a silent and live auction. Yours truly will be participating as well.
The two images on this post were my attempts from this past week.