“Skagit River” by Rod Sylvester is one of the works featured at this year’s Camano Island Roaming Artists Show on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 on Camano Island.

“Skagit River” by Rod Sylvester is one of the works featured at this year’s Camano Island Roaming Artists Show on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 on Camano Island.

Roaming Artists settle down for annual Camano Island show

Rod Sylvester, a Marysville artist who paints in the plein air style, will be featured at the weekend event.

They paint the outdoors as the scene unfolds in front of them, in a way that photographs can’t quite capture.

The Roaming Artists will show plein air works at their annual show, set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the Island County Multi-Purpose Building, 141 NE Camano Drive, Camano Island.

More than 200 original watercolor, acrylics and oil paintings will be available for viewing and buying, while the artists who made them will be on hand to answer questions.

It’s a chance to view scenery from the area — from the beaches of Camano Island to fishing boats in La Conner — through a filter of expressionism, impressionism and abstractions on canvas.

Rod Sylvester, a Marysville oil painter, is this year’s featured artist. Plein air painting is his preferred style because he says it brings life to details that may not be possible in other mediums, such as the depth of a shadow.

“When you take photos, you don’t get the true colors of what’s really out there,” he said. “When you’re plein air painting, you’re studying the scene to get the most accurate colors.”

Sylvester, 61, is among 25 to 30 members in the group who meet twice a week during the summer to paint together outdoors. They mostly visit places around Stanwood and Camano Island, but have traveled as far away as Mount Baker in the past.

Sylvester, a retired plasterer and graduate of the Seattle Art Institute, has been a member of the Roaming Artists since 2014. He’ll be bringing about 30 of his works to the show, including some on small and large canvases.

One of Sylvester’s most prized paintings this year is “Skagit River,” which was inspired by the group’s early summer visit to an RV park near the mouth of the river’s north fork.

Sylvester, whose long been partial to boat scenes, stood on a dock and painted a rough draft of what he saw: colorfully painted boats moored alongside a jetty, with a rugged cliff rising in the background.

“You don’t have time to think about it a lot,” he said. “The light is moving constantly, so your scene changes within 20 or 30 minutes.”

Juanita Hagberg, 75, of Camano Island, is president of the Roaming Artists. She said the group’s annual show has become a community favorite.

“People on the island look forward to it because it’s very low-key and is all original art,” she said. “A lot of people come to see how artists have improved and where we went.”

The show will also include a raffle for one of member Carey Sorensen’s paintings, titled “Fishy Business, La Conner,” which Hagberg said exemplifies the nature of the fishing industry in that area with boats, docks and pilings and Skagit River against a backdrop of Skagit Valley.

“For $1, somebody might go home with a $300 painting,” Hagberg said.

Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, ethompson@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @ByEvanThompson.

If you go

The Roaming Artists annual show runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 in the Island County Multi-Purpose Building, 141 NE Camano Drive, Camano Island. The event is free.

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