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Every year around the middle of May, the artists of Vistas and Vineyards gather up their art supplies and head outdoors for another season of plein air painting. By the time the season is over, the artists typically have visited two dozen or so locations around the Willamette Valley, with occasional forays to the coast.

And every year, the artists submit their best work for the group's annual show, in the Giustina Gallery at the LaSells Stewart Center, 875 SW 26th St. on the Oregon State University campus. This year's show is currently on view and will remain up through Dec. 9.

Fred Amos of Vistas and Vineyards said the group is the oldest continuous plein air painting group in the state of Oregon; this year marks the group's 29th year painting in the Willamette Valley. The group has about 65 members, although not every member is able to make every trip.

This year's Vista and Vineyards show features 104 artworks from 45 of the group's members; each work was completed sometime in the last two years.

Amos is a relatively recent member of the group, having moved to Corvallis a few years ago from California. In fact, he said, he knew about Vistas and Vineyards before he moved.

The region offers an embarrassment of riches for plein air painters, Amos said: "There's so much. We try to stay in the Willamette Valley." 

And the fact that other artists are working to depict the same landscape you are is part of the appeal of the group, he said: "You learn from each other as you're painting. You see other materials and other styles."

There's another advantage as well: The group "gets us out to locations that you probably wouldn't have gotten to on your own," he said.

The judge for this year's show was Ruth Armitage of Portland, who was responsible for choosing the award winners. Here are this year's winners:

• Best of show, Dee Yarnell.

• Best oil, Mike Bergen.

• Best watercolor, Norma Eaton.

• Best acrylic, Phyllis Johnson.

• Best drawing, Bets Cole.

• Best pastel, Kate McGee.

• Best multimedia, Debi Sundbaum-Sommers.

Most of the paintings at the gallery are available for purchase.

For more information about the show, check out the website vistasandvineyards.org or go to the group's Facebook page.

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