The Bakke Gallery

Artistic Endeavors by Washington State artist Karen Bakke

Moving right along!

There I was, sitting in front of my easel a cold wintery day, reflecting back on another whirlwind year in acclimating to my career in fine art. Art shows, art workshops and classes, Paint-Ins and Paint-Outs, Plein Air Convention, Art Docent for 4th graders, commissioned art, festivals, and more Plein Air Paint-Outs.... yep, that about sums up 2016! Plein Air painting has been an extreme learning process. It is teaching me to really observe, to see colors and lighting in its truest form and try to make sense of it in all types of weather. I didn't realize how much I would learn painting from life. I joined groups mostly for the camaraderie, I stay for so much more!

This large studio painting is from a plein air study that I did earlier in the year of Ladder Creek Falls. I remember the smells of the forest, the breeze on my cheeks, and the sound of the bubbling water as it rushed below me while I was standing on a bridge, furiously painting away while the light was constantly changing. They say a plein air shouldn't take more than 2 1/2 to 3 hours because by then the lighting has changed too much to continue. It's usually done on a smaller canvas, about 8x10, 9x12, sometimes smaller or a bit larger. I've learned artists have taken really big canvases out to the same spot in a few, or even several trips. One has to be aware of the time of day, and if the weather will be the same. It's now on my bucket list to do, and hopefully to do often!

The Plein Air Convention I went to last Spring in Tucson was a thrill. It was intense, as there was so much to do and learn. Aside from the demos and vendors, can you imagine 900 artists out together on the paint-outs? What an incredible sight! A must-do for any plein air painter.

Last year I also was Paint-Out coordinator for Plein Air Washington and attended many of the paint-outs throughout the state. Stehekin, Sequim, Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier were among my favorites! I can look back on my paintings as treasured moments of the time spent in the company of others who share my joy and passion! I ran a juried gallery show for the same group in the summer. The work paid off in spades and it looks like it will be an annual event!

Both my plein air study and studio painting of Ladder Creek Falls are hanging in a local gallery this February, along with 10 more done throughout 2016! This rolling stone is gathering NO MOSS! Now, president of Plein Air Washington, there's nothing like giving back to an organization that has done so much for me already! I am deeply honored and grateful for the opportunities and experiences that have swiftly opened themselves up on my grand journey. I am so excited to share my joy! It looks like 2017 is gearing up to be another stellar year!  

Cheers! -Karen