I recently took part in the "Palouse Plein Air" exhibit here in Moscow, ID, and was thrilled to receive an award for one of my two watercolors. The exhibit is organized and juried by the Moscow Arts Commission, and asks artists to draw or paint on location in the areas around and/or within the city. Each person first must have their paper stamped by the Commission and then complete the work within about a week's time. I did these two sketches on the same day, starting in the late-afternoon and finishing the landscape watercolor as the sun began to set. I have always been interested in the alley shown here, which is a half-block east of Main Street. It has a fascinating series of wood structures that carry power lines behind the buildings. Further down, there is a swirling pattern of bricks in the pavement, and as a whole it feels less like a gloomy alley and more like a pedestrian street. As the sun starts to go down, as it was just beginning to do in this sketch, the light can become dramatic, so this is what I was trying to capture. This drawing received the "Best Moscow Downtown/Urban Award," which was sponsored by Palouse Commercial - many thanks for their generous support of the arts in Moscow.
After completing the first drawing, I decided to head out to the edge of town and attempt a landscape. The "edge of town" is about a two-minute scooter ride from the very center of town, so I still had plenty of light to work with. This region is known as "The Palouse" and is characterized by its rolling hills - formed by wind-blown glacial silt during the ice ages. Most of these hills are now used for agriculture - wheat, peas, lentils, etc. - and in the late fall the golden colors of the harvested fields are spectacular.
So it was another fun opportunity to get out there and draw in a slightly more deliberate way than my usual quick sketching. This is the second time I've participated (last year's efforts are part of this post), and it was extra satisfying to be recognized with an award. I'm already looking forward to next year's event!