National Forest Foundation

Musings from a Self-Titled Plein Air “Junkie”

Conservation, Treasured Landscapes

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About the Artist: Patricia Gifford currently lives in Portland, Oregon. She says can't pass up a flower without smelling it, and likes to listen to jazz when she is working on her art.

As a plein air painter and visual artist, I don't often use words to express the beauty I find in our National Forests and their waterways. I usually just try to paint them, capturing their essence, beauty, energy, vitality and diversity by putting oil paint on canvas. Weplein air painters want to give viewers the feeling that they are there, experiencing the moment right alongside with us.

The forests and the natural world have been the steadfast, eternal muses of mankind since the beginning of artistic awareness. Nature at its unspoiled best is unimaginably rich in all aspects. Artists love to tap into this diverse richness, absorb it and spew it back in one form or another.

The forests and the natural world have been the steadfast, eternal muses of mankind since the beginning of artistic awareness. Nature at its unspoiled best is unimaginably rich in all aspects. Artists love to tap into this diverse richness, absorb it and spew it back in one form or another.

Our National Forests are that exquisite environment available to all of us. It's a very primal encounter which has the ability to enable me and others to transcend our often overwhelming daily lives to enter into a physical and mental space which can put us in touch with our basic, more primitive, instincts and intuitions.

We find a solitude which can sooth us, give us solace and quiet down the mental happenings within ourselves, to become more aware of our place in the world. We can watch fish, hike in the woods, spot a golden eagle, catch a glimpse of a rare wild flower, see plants we've only ever read about, smell and absorb fresh air and internalize the energy of the swiftly moving river. We are free to delight in the visual feast of colors and shapes. All of these things revitalize and serve as a muse for all types of artists and people from all walks of life.

It has been my pleasure and an honor to participate in three of the four timed Plein AirPaint Out events the NFF has organized to raise public awareness of our National Forests. I am pleased that the forests I love so much and have painted on canvas will be used to inspire our present and future generations to come out and experience this incredible unspoiled beauty for themselves.

It is important to not just preserve this beauty for ourselves, but for itself, the animals, birds, fish, insects, plants, trees and the quietly unfolding miracles within and under the canopy of our wonderful forests.

For more information about Patty Gifford's artwork visit: http://www.patriciagifford.com/

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