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Hamilton artist Michele Kapor

Hamilton artist Michele Kapor participating in a Bitterroot en Plein Air event with the Montana Professional Artists Association. The group of artists from Montana, Idaho and Washington will be painting around the Bitterroot Valley, Oct. 7.

The Montana Professional Artists Association is hosting a fine art gathering of over 20 artists from Montana, Idaho and Washington, Oct. 6, 7 and 8. 

Participating artists will be at work painting in a variety of locations around the Bitterroot Valley on Friday, Oct. 7. There is an artist reception and show of finished work at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8, at Art Focus in Hamilton. The public is encouraged to attend.

Hamilton artist Michele Kapor said en Plein Air painting is a wonderful experience to see.

“There’s not a bad scene in the Bitterroot,” Kapor said. “You can’t really miss an artist with an easel. Just watch for them. You just don’t know where they are going to go. It depends on where the color is and the best scene.”

Thursday, the artists will meet and discuss the locations they would like to be for painting sessions on Friday. Probable locations include Victor Crossing, Blodgett Park, Hieronymus Park, Kiwanis Riverside Perk, Angler’s Roost and Old Darby Road.

“Sometimes people want to paint alone sometimes with people,” Kapor said.

Kapor said painting outdoors is fresh and spontaneous. It’s called en Plein Air a French term for fresh air.

“The reason artists like to do it is to see the natural light. The green trees will reflect on your face,” she said. “So, to really understand the light, it is important to go outside and paint.”

Kapor said that light can also be a challenge.

“The light changes constantly so you have to go ‘what is it about this that appeals to me’ and remember it in your head because two minutes later a cloud comes across the sun and it is not that way anymore,” she said. “You have to be thinking ahead but there’s a spontaneity to it that is really wonderful, I think.”

Individual painters will paint in one location for a few hours then move to another location. Each artist will turn in their favorite two pieces to Art Focus.

Douglas Taylor, manager, said the paintings would be juried and the show set up Saturday morning.

“We’ll present a Gallery Award to one artist for a month-long exhibit for a future date and while the exhibit is showing there is a people’s choice award,” Taylor said.

Art Focus will host the artist reception and show of the Bitterroot en Plein Air paintings 6 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 8. The public is invited to attend and vote on their favorite painting. The works will remain on display, for sale and for voting for a month.

Kapor said participating artists receive a bag filled with donations from art business, discounts for art supplies and cash prizes.

Kapor said the artists group did an en Plein Air event in 2010 and enjoyed the event.

“We love to paint outdoors, although often we can’t in Montana. It is too hot, too cold or the wind is blowing,” Kapor said. “One year it was so cold the water color artist’s water froze and they couldn’t paint. That’s why we do it in October, it snowed on us one time; we got great paintings out of it though.”

Reach reporter Michelle McConnaha at 363-3300 or


Staff Reporter

Reporter at The Ravalli Republic