On May 17, 2008, ten artists arrived at Cold Brook Park in Kalamazoo County for the Plein Air Artists of West Michigan’s inaugural meeting and Paint Out. Since that eventful day, PAAWM has enjoyed a growing number of loyal artists throughout southwest Michigan. Shortly after it’s formation, the group began collaborating with the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy on Paint Out locations at SWMLC sanctuaries. The two organizations have worked in concert on “Painted Sanctuary,” a two-part project that produced an annual calendar and art shows.

In 2011, PAAWM held it’s first Fall Retreat at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute and have returned every year since. The week-long event features morning and afternoon plein air painting, after dinner programs in the auditorium and artist demonstrations in the classroom. The Institute provides a wonderful facility and artists enjoy comfortable rooms with all meals included. The surrounding scenery is beautiful, ideal for artistic inspiration. The Fall Retreat has become so popular, many artists from other plein air groups in the state now share in the fun. The more the merrier!

Our goal is to provide plein air painting opportunities for our artists. We schedule two Paint Outs every month and artists attend at their convenience. We often conduct a critique at the end of a Paint Out to benefit from the insights of fellow artists. We hope one day you will paint along with us.