COLUMBIA FALLS - During the holiday season there are hundreds of craft sales and Christmas bazaars to help support local artists and find unique gifts.
In Columbia Falls, you can find the Art in the Garden Show and Sale that features the work of the Plein Air Painters of the Flathead in their first-ever group-wide sale.
“En Plein air is a French term, and it means to paint in the open air," said Plein Air Painters of the Flathead leader Sandra Marker.
“Everything is so fresh. So it really is a different way of doing your art. It's not a setup. We have to go back and make sure everything is the same light...you gotta get in and catch the light and get going and catch the color. So it just kind of wakens up the artist in everyone and you got to get it and go," said Plein Air Painters special event manager Megan Heil.
The group is fair weathered, so they only paint in the summer. “It’s my excuse to be outdoors and be in nature, be surrounded by the loveliness of our environment," said Marker.
“I like getting outside. I love to paint, make, do," said Heil.
People can check out some of the art — which is for sale — at Fisher’s Greenhouse in Columbia Falls.
“And so to get out there and be right on the edge of the river walk out on a sandbar. It's so fresh and bright and part of the combination of everything is, number one, pick your view, because you're standing in the middle of 360 degrees of wonderful views. Up in our area is just gorgeous wherever you look and you have to put it in the idea of a frame and a composition," said Heil.
The group started 15 years ago with six people, and now they have 30 people who regularly join the group for excursions.
“I am just pleased to see the growth in people that are regularly with us and to open up opportunities. I know when an artist sees their work for the first time and up on display and people googling all over their art. It just makes everybody happy," said Marker.
The sale is running through Dec. 21 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It will be closed on Sundays and holidays.