About Us

We have a strong tradition of outdoor painting among Portaferry Art Society members stemming from James Watson’s watercolour weeks during the summers of the 1980s. The society was established over forty years ago and currently has around thirty amateur and professional artist members.

For many years members of Portaferry of Art Society have been painting together outside and have found the experience both convivial and challenging. A die-hard core, over many cups of coffee (and stronger) developed the idea of creating a Plein Air Festival based in the town.

We were well underway with plans early 2020 for a May event but due to the Covid lockdown it was cancelled.

Based in the Market House in the centre of the village, the festival will kick off with a welcome reception on Friday 9th September with three days of painting, Each day will have a Portaferry Art Society member leading participants to a variety of locations within walking distance of the Market House. We will finish on Sunday afternoon with a concluding reception where participants are encouraged to share their work. Spot prizes will be awarded!

Portaferry lies at the mouth of Strangford Lough, an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and is itself a bustling Heritage village and conservation area. Rich in both marine and landscape subjects the area has long been a favourite destination for visual artists, and the narrow streets and historical buildings of the village offer the urban painter wonderfully challenging aspects. Something for everyone!

The cost of the weekend will be £45 (£25 for Portaferry art Society members) and can be booked, and paid for on registration and online via the website. All refreshments and guidance from resident artists/tutors and daily use of the Market House included. Places limited, book now to avoid disappointment.

All you will need to bring is materials, suitable clothing and something to sit on! Oh! …and your enthusiasm!

We look forward to welcoming you.