Artists with a passion for painting outdoors will have more days and larger boundaries to explore this year during Umpqua Plein Air.

The event, hosted by the Umpqua Valley Arts Association, began in 2010. It gives artists throughout the northwest an opportunity to hone their outdoor painting skills and explore Douglas County’s diverse landscape.

Umpqua Plein Air will begin with an online orientation with guest juror Barbara Jaenicke Thursday. The actual paint-out will begin Monday.

This year’s event has been extended in two ways: artists now have five days to paint — instead of the four-day timeframe from 2019 — and the entirety of the county to explore. Traditionally, participants were limited to a 50-mile radius around the art center, but due to COVID-19 and local wildfires, organizers wanted to give artists more time and space.

“For 10 years we have had this event. First, it started on a Wednesday, then a Tuesday, but the painters really started saying they wanted more time because the area is so diverse and vast and beautiful. There are just so many different places to paint,” explained art center gallery director and Umpqua Plein Air committee member Sandee McGee. “So now, artists will have five days to paint.”

The association provides location suggestions, but participants are welcome to choose their own destinations.

Fifty painters have signed up this year and each will be able to submit three paintings. McGee is eager to see the variety of paintings submitted. Because the boundaries have been extended to include all of Douglas County, coastal paintings will make a first-time appearance among the submitted pieces. Painters have all week to create their three works, which must be submitted by 5:30 p.m. Friday.

“There is a real sense of community and our community really does invite these painters in,” McGee said. “It’s a lot of fun. There is a lot of camaraderie and fellowship within the artist groups and the entire county is so welcoming”

Young Artists en Plein Air will be held Saturday, before the actual adult paint out begins. Open to young artists of all ages, it will be held 1-3 p.m. at the Discovery Garden, 238 River Forks Park Road, Roseburg. Participation fees are $10 per child, which covers all the materials. The event will give local young artists the opportunity to learn about outdoor art, explore a variety of art media and create their own masterpieces. Scholarships are available. Registration is required and can be done at

“It’s a really exciting opportunity for young artists of all ages to create artworks in open air while they develop their skills in a wide variety of painting and drawing media,” Arts in Education Coordinator Stella Moon said. “It’s the perfect opportunity for them to be outdoors and make art and get mentoring from local artists.”

The following Saturday, Aug. 28, will be a busy day for plein air participants. Painters will have the opportunity to attend an art demo with Jaenicke and the open reception — which will be held outdoors and is open to the public — will be held at the art center from 3-5 p.m.

From the estimated 150 paintings that could be submitted by this year’s participants, Jaenicke will choose first, second and third place winners as well as the 40 awards of distinction. These will be featured in the Hallie Brown Ford Gallery. The other submissions will be on display throughout the art center, with pieces from Young Artists en Plein Air presented in the Student Gallery.

All the works from this year’s Umpqua Plein Air will be on display through Oct. 29.

“There is so much diversity and beauty in our area,” plein air committee member Jennifer Tarver said. “These artists are out in the elements, adapting to it all, and it is amazing what they can do out there.”

Erica Welch is the special sections editor for The News-Review. She can be reached at or 541-957-4218.

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Community Reporter

Erica Welch is the special sections editor for The News-Review, mother of two and a native of Roseburg. She is an alumni of RHS, UCC and Western Oregon University. Contact her at or 541-957-4218.

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