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Zion 2014Saturday, November 15, 2014 by Steve Hill
Filed under: Exhibits and Events

This painting which I titled “Soft Glow” was done en plein air, just after daybreak on Wednesday, November 5th, along the Virgin River where it dips under the “Court of the Patriarchs” during the Sixth Annual Zion National Park Plein Air Painting Invitational.
Twenty four artists from around the U.S. were invited to participate. Everyone worked from dawn to dusk (and even at night) for five days straight, to interpret and paint the canyon lands, from above and below, in what can only be described as frenetic energy, producing well over 300 original works for exhibit and sale Friday, Nov. 8th at the Zion Nature Center. Mediums were oil, water color, acrylic and pastel, which I used for this painting. Art collectors who attended the opening reception numbered in the hundreds and set a park record for sales this year (well over $160,000) that benefit Zion’s Youth Education program each year.
When awards were announced during the opening, I was pleased to learn that my painting was given the Superintendent of Zion National Park Purchase and Cash Award and will be put into the permanent art collection at Zion National Park.
It will hang in perpetuity among others that date back to iconic artist Thomas Moran, whose sketches of the park in the 1880’s became large paintings, influencing President Wm. Howard Taft to declare Zion a national park, to Maynard Dixon and many others who have been given permanent collection status here.

Zion National ParkMonday, October 27, 2014 by Steve Hill
Filed under: Exhibits and Events
Quiet Ascent
Quiet Ascent
The original pastel pictured here is titled “Quiet Ascent” and is a larger painting I did for the Zion National Park Plein Air Invitational Exhibit and Competition. I will be painting alongside 23 other artists selected from across the U.S., from November 3-10.

For me, it is an honor to be re-invited to a major art event like this, and more importantly, to have an entire week to paint on-site in this spectacular setting!

All of the artists will be performing live demos in their chosen mediums – my demo at the Zion Human Interest Museum on Monday afternoon, Nov. 3. Special lectures on Zion will be presented by park staff and the wet paint sale will be Friday, Nov 7. For complete schedules and details go to the Zion National Park web site. Hope to see you there!

Home from Croatia!Monday, October 06, 2014 by Steve Hill
Filed under: Travel
We have been home from Croatia for a few days now and I'd like to share some images of live demo paintings I did for the Croatia Art Experience Workshop. These are 3 of my 9 demo pieces now finished for framing. They are for sale at our Windswept Fine Art Gallery on Lopez, inquiries welcome.

Tending the Nets
Tending the Nets
I will be finishing the other paintings over the next couple of weeks and have all of them ready for a collective exhibit with two other Lopez Island Artists, Ralph Bladt and Anne Whirledge Karp, who also travelled to Croatia for this experience. We will announce the time (probably Thanks giving weekend) and venue through blogs, ads in the Islands Weekly and Lopez Rocks, soon.

Hauled Out
Hauled Out
In the meantime, we are enjoying nice autumn weather on Lopez Island, very similar to what we had in Croatia . . . minus @ 20 degrees Fahrenheit and warm swims in the Adriatic Sea every evening, much welcomed after a hard days painting in southern Croatia.

Three in a Row
Three in a Row
Stay tuned for a very unique exhibit coming up!

Croatian FishermanWednesday, September 24, 2014 by Steve Hill
Filed under: Travel
Croatian Fisherman
Croatian Fisherman
We are in Croatia, where I am leading a plein air painting experience with 10 students on the island of Korcula, near Dubrovnik. The light around the Adriatic Sea this time of year, gives everything a warm glow and seems to intensify the turquoise waters.

A fisherman tending his boat and nets at Lumbarda (the village where we are all staying) provided an ideal “live” model as I had chosen his boat to demonstrate water reflections for the group, just before he hopped aboard. The russet colored fishing net and small white floats, all carefully wrapped for his next trip out on the water begged my attention as a painter.

He stayed aboard just long enough to strike an interesting pose and gave me a wonderful opportunity to capture a fleeting moment in time.

Windswept Studios and Fine Art Gallery Labor Day Weekend Studio Tour Sat, Sun and Mon., August 30-September 1.

This year we are featuring over 100 original framed paintings by Steve, and over 40 “unframed half price” originals from all over the islands, the U.S., and 9 countries in Europe, done over the past few years. They include landscapes, cityscapes, seascapes – plus many with the human figure in motion, as they are all painted on-site. There will also be some live tutorial demos (works in-progress) set-up to show the steps he uses when painting outdoors.

Steve's list of awards grows with his continued full-time involvement as a plein air artist, world traveler and workshop instructor. We hope you will be able to visit our home gallery and see his newest works, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, August 30-September 1.

783 Port Stanley Rd., just across the road from the north-end fire station. Hours are 9-5 during the tour as well as “Labor Day” Monday, September 1st!

Upcoming Pastel Workshop July 2014

To my blog subscribers and aspiring plein air painters! I am teaching another beginning/intermediate level plein air painting workshop at Dakota in Mt. Vernon, July 12/13 and 19/20 (2 weekends). This workshop still has a few spaces left.

If you've always wanted to take that little step from the studio to the great outdoors, we are looking at near perfect summer weather, some great new painting sites around the fabled Skagit Valley, including the Northern State Recreation Area, near Sedro Woolley (lots of wonderful old abandoned dairy barns set against the mountainous backdrop of the Cascades) old sloughs and boats, La Conner, Edison Slough, Swinomish Channel and estuaries!

The farm fields are now in full summer colors, with ochre and russet tinted grasses among the many shades of warm greens, cut crops creating windrow patterns, tall cypress trees . . . all amidst the glowing light that only exists in the Skagit Valley area!!

Old Friend Connection
Old Friend Connection
I love how the light over there slips through the cracks of old barns, especially where open doors give a little sense of mystique in the shadows, almost as if you are time-warped back into the decades. All great subject matter to paint and I do live demos each day, plus assist all workshop attendees at their easels. Learn to paint with conviction and simplify subjects into great compositions that can be painted within 2-3 hours!

Sign-up here or call me at 360-468-2557 if any questions.
Steve Hill

Agora Gallery June 2014 ExhibitTuesday, June 03, 2014 by Steve Hill
Filed under: Exhibits and Events
Morning Light - Santiam River
Morning Light - Santiam River
I am participating in my 5th exhibit at Agora Gallery, Chelsea, NYC from June 10-July 1, with 9 plein air pastel paintings done from locations around the U.S. and Europe. The opening reception for the exhibit is Thursday, June 12, from 6-8 p.m. at the gallery, with food and wine. Unfortunately, my travel and teaching schedule will be keeping me away, but I hope any of you (my blog subscribers now approaching 500) will be able to attend and see my latest work.

This review from ArtisSpectrum Magazine, Volume 31, May 2014.

“Steven R Hill's dreamy pastel on card landscapes offer a sensitive appreciation of gorgeous yet overlooked places. Hill is a master of finding private intimate corners even on a mundane city sidewalk. He frames his spaces tightly, with as little empty sky or ground as possible. Hill is attracted to urban and pastoral settings alike, and manages to find the same sort of peaceful grace in both.

Hill works en plein air to better “capture the more elusive moment-in-time, mood, feel or essence.” His pastel work is gentle but amazingly detailed, with a variety of textures that is difficult to achieve in the medium. His palette is expertly built out of many layers of hue to deepen and fully realize the multiplicity of natural light. Realism and just a hint of romanticism combine for Hill's uniquely nuanced atmospheres. He was born in Boise, Idaho and currently lives in Washington State's San Juan Islands. He spent many years as an abstract painter, and has exhibited widely on both coasts of the United States. His plein air work has won over 18 major awards in national and international juried fine art competitions over the past seven years.”

Agora Gallery - 530 West 25th Street, New York, NY.
View the works

Carmel Paint-outThursday, May 22, 2014 by Steve Hill
Filed under: Exhibits and Events

Good weather and great painting sites made the 21st annual Carmel Art Festival a colorful event. I was pleased to sell two of my paintings during the festival, meet new collectors and work mostly around the water and coastal areas near Carmel and Point Lobos.

Painting among a group of diverse and very accomplished artists from around the U.S., always gives me fresh ideas for new techniques and approaches to use when I venture outdoors to paint. While I worked in pastel, a favorite medium, I feel a big urge to start incorporating oil paint in the next few months.

Working in multi - medium gives each one a chance to inform the other, bends the learning curve a little steeper and will give me an opportunity to challenge myself in new ways.

21st Annual Carmel Art FestivalWednesday, May 07, 2014 by Steve Hill
Filed under: Exhibits and Events
I have been juried into The 21st Annual Carmel Art Festival, May 15-18 at Carmel-by-the-sea, California. This is one of the premier western U.S. plein air painting competitions with 60 artists coming from all over the U.S. to paint en plein air and compete for cash prize awards.

Beyond the competition, this is a stunning place to paint on-site, at historical places like The Carmel Mission, Cannery Row and Monterrey Wharf, to sweeping vistas along the coast from Asilomar, Point Lobos, Moss Landing to Big Sur, as well as the Carmel Valley with rolling hills, adjacent fields of strawberries, artichokes and large farms to the east.

Somewhere, “out there” will be a perfect place for me to set-up my easel and do nothing but paint the landscape!

Fog Lifting Monterey Bay
Fog Lifting Monterey Bay
"Fog Lifting, Monterrey Bay" (pictured here) was a piece I did at the 17th annual festival at Carmel and has just been released from our personal collection for sale at $1500.

Hope to see many of you at the final exhibit, Saturday & Sunday, May 17 & 18 at Devendorf Park in Carmel. for complete event details.

A special Artists' reception at Art on the Boulevard, will be this Friday, March 7th from 5-9 p.m. “The Art of Pastel” features my work with 3 other pastel artists. The exhibit runs through March 29th and we hope to see many of you this Friday!

The original reception was cancelled in early February, due to a horrible snow/ice storm that forced the gallery to close. Much better weather is predicted for the upcoming reception!

Distant Fog, Charles Island
Distant Fog, Charles Island
One of my plein air pieces in the exhibit, painted last October, from the back of a boat in the San Juan Islands, is pictured here. The gallery is located at 210 West Evergreen Boulevard, Vancouver, WA.

I just had to break the ice and go outside to paint today. So, I caught some ice (think winter Olympics - it's that cold here!) and headed to my favorite estuary at Port Stanley, about a mile from home. I loved how the ice formed-up during our recent nor'easter, leaving small, tell-tale frozen layers of salt water in this shallow estuary. That old farm house in the distance has been there for over 100 years and made a nice counter color to the frozen estuary. I think it's finished but will have another look tomorrow, after I warm up! Painting outside also reminded me about the upcoming workshops I'm teaching.


MARCH 22/23 & 29/30 ~ Half - day sessions (consecutive weekends)
Dakota Art Center $200
Introduction to Pastel 1-888-345-0067 ext. 5

MAY 30 – JUNE 1
Painting the Landscape in Pastels – 3 days. $240 members/$290 non-members
Visual Art Alliance of Springfield (Missouri) to register
Contact Sherri Davis

JULY 12/13 & 19/20 ~ Half - day sessions (2 weekends)
Dakota Art Center $200
Introduction to Plein Air Pastel 1-888-345-0067 ext. 5

Korcula Island, Croatia
This is where you paint, travel, learn and eat in grand style on one of the most stunning islands in the Adriatic Sea! This art trip starts and ends in beautiful Dubrovnik, and there are still a couple of spaces available, as of this posting. $2450 Artists, $2250 non-artist travelling companion - Canadian Funds
Includes all accommodations, food, ground/ferry and boat transportation!
Contact Lynda Milina for details and to register.

Tonight's reception for the exhibit “The Art of Pastel” where my work is featured with 3 other pastel artists at “Art on the Boulevard” in Vancouver, Washington, has been cancelled due to severe winter weather.

Kevin Weaver, gallery director, just emailed the cancellation notice with apologies for bad weather timing to all. Good call on his part – there was a 28 car pile-up on I-5, just north of Vancouver, yesterday. Round #2 of the storm shows up today.

"The show is hung and beautiful" Kevin says – and can be viewed on-line at

Thankfully, it is a 2 month show and hangs through the end of March. Another opening reception for the artists will be held at the gallery Friday, March 7th - and we'll be there!

Afternoon Break, Dublin
Afternoon Break, Dublin
I am attaching a new piece I had planned to take for tonight's opening, from our recent painting trip to Ireland, which will be at the gallery for the March 7th opening.

© Steven Hill - Windswept Studios