Bainbridge Island En Plein Air
Tucked discretely away on Bainbridge Island’s west side near the Agate Passage crossing, the Bloedel Reserve is a paradise of lush meticulously groomed gardens and swaths of forested land that look untouched by civilization (but they most certainly have been). The Reserve, once the empty nest home of Prentice and Virgina Bloedel (super art patron Virginia Wright’s parents) is now open to the public, for a modest fee, and is a favorite escape for nature enthusiasts, bird watchers, aspirational gardeners, and artists of all disciplines.
Last month several artists, both amateur and professional alike, headed out to the manicured property to take up the practice of plein air painting, a past time steeped in romanticized art history and often bathed in the glorious rays of warm summer sun. The En Plein Air workshop was led by Kimberly Trowbridge, one of our favorite Seattle painters and also a newly appointed Gage Academy Atelier instructor. What follows is the photographic diary of Trowbridge’s workshop at the idyllic Bloedel Reserve.
Here’s a little about the workshop from Kimberly herself:
Landscape Painting in Oils with Kimberly Trowbridge was a 3-day workshop at the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, and took place on July 24 – 26, 2015. In this 3-day workshop students developed multiple landscape studies onsite.
Kimberly Trowbridge is an instructor on figure painting and color theory, and leads plein-air painting tours in Spain and Portugal, in collaboration with Saranjan Tours. Fall 2015 will be the launching of the Trowbridge Atelier, a contemporary painting intensive, through Gage Academy of Art, held at the Miller Studio in Georgetown (space still available!).
Personal Note: Several years ago I taught myself how to paint onsite in the landscape, in preparation for my first plein-air painting tour with students, which took place in northern Spain. Since then, plein-air painting has become a meaningful, spiritual practice for me, a form of meditation in nature through responding to color relationships. I consider my landscape studies “raw data” and I use them to inform my larger studio works.
If you haven’t gotten a chance to experience the Bloedel Reserve in person I couldn’t recommend a trip there more highly. A scenic ferry ride across the Puget Sound and a short drive or bike ride will get you to the Reserve where you can find trails galore through gardens and forests, a stately home with art on display, and a full schedule of happenings from live music to lectures, and even a few garden parties. Memberships at a reasonable price are available for anyone who feels that this is a getaway worth frequent visits.