LEWISTON — Montana native Ivy Breen has been painting her whole life.
Her first memory of art is immortalized as an oil painting she did when she was 7 years old. Since then, she’s done it all — from working as an accountant to starting a Fine Arts club for the Highland School District in Craigmont. Now retired, Breen volunteers as a secretary treasurer and is a board member for the Valley Art Center in Clarkston.
Breen’s interest in plein air struck last year, but she was too late to enter the competition, which is put on by the Lewis-Clark State College Center for Arts & History.
Plein air is a French expression that means “in the open air,” and is used to describe the act of painting outdoors.
This year, she was able to participate and submitted six paintings. She was award the Basalt Cellars Winemakers Choice Award and had three of her paintings sell.
“It was so much fun and I loved being able to talk to other artists in the community,” Breen said. “Lewiston is such an up and coming town for art.”
To combat the elements faced with plein air, Breen used duct tape to keep her easel and palette in place. In the span of eight days, Breen visited five different vineyards throughout the region.
“I felt like the ‘red neck’ painter in the group since I had never done plein air painting before,” Breen said.
Her six paintings can be seen at the LCSC Center for Arts & History in Lewiston until Aug. 29, as part of its “In the Vineyard” exhibit, which showcases paintings depicting regional vineyards.
In regards to what Breen plans on doing with her winnings, she has one thing on her mind.
“I think I better buy myself a real plein air easel and throw the duct tape away,” Breen said. “I plan to do more plein air painting, that’s for sure.”