2010 Plein Air–Easton! is Hot Hot Hot

It wasn’t just the weather that was hot as the Plein Air–Easton! Arts Festival & Competition, held July 19-25, drew sizzling support from the community and sent numbers off the charts from previous years. Despite record breaking, three digit temps and July’s oppressive humidity, artists from across the country sweated it out for a four-day painting marathon, followed by a weekend of vigorous sales of high caliber art.

Avalon Foundation executive director Al Bond says, “It was really overwhelming to see how people from every walk of life went the extra mile to make this year’s festival successful despite record breaking heat. Easton and Talbot County should be really proud of what we have accomplished as a community.”

The festival continues to grow on a foundation of strong community support and an increasingly high quality of art produced during the weeklong event. In his opening comments at the Awards Ceremony, Awards Judge Jean Stern, executive director of the Irvine Museum in Irvine CA, received a round of applause when he noted that Plein Air–Easton! is the top plein air festival in America.

Fifty-eight artists from across the country competed for more than $16,000 in prizes in the national competition. Besides their two competition paintings, each artist was permitted to bring up to eight additional works to be rotated onto the gallery walls as other paintings were sold, thus creating a constant supply of fantastic artwork for sale.

Close to 200 artists competed in the Quick Draw; even with expanded exhibit space, the Quick Draw Exhibit & Sale jammed Harrison St. with art buyers and art enthusiasts. As the exhibit was being set up and the crowd amassed, the wife of Awards Judge Jean Stern remarked, “Now that’s a plein air quick draw!”

Approximately 100 children participated in the Children’s Quick Draw. About 60 artists participated in Quick Draw: The Next Generation, a new competition for emerging artists age 21 and younger, with prizes of almost $3,000.
Preliminary figures reflect a total of 261 paints sold including sales at Friday’s Collectors’ Preview Party, Saturday’s Quick Draw, Winners’ Paint-Out, Sunday’s Brunch & Live Auction, Sunday’s Quick Draw: The Next Generation, and sales at the Academy Art Museum on Saturday and Sunday. Overall, brisk painting sales reflected more than a 37% increase over last year’s total sales income.

Ninety paintings sold at the Collectors’ Preview Party, compared to 66 paintings in 2009. There was a 47% dollar increase over last year. Sixty-two paintings sold at the Quick Draw slightly down from 69 in 2009, most likely a result of Saturday’s extremely hot weather. At this year’s Winner’s Brunch, 24 more paintings sold. Sales at the (air conditioned) Academy Art Museum for Saturday and Sunday were 85 paintings, compared to 54 paintings in 2009.
In addition to these figures, the Local Color show, sponsored by the Working Artists Forum and held at the Tidewater Inn, sold 44 paintings by artists from the Delmarva Peninsula. Local Color hosted several artist demonstrations, which filled 115 seats, with some demos having standing room only attendance.

“While the numbers are extraordinarily strong,” says Jessica Rogers, director of operations for the Avalon Foundation, “they barely represent the hard work of the artists, staff, volunteers, supporters, host families, art lovers, Friends of Plein Air–Easton!, and others that made this event possible, especially in such extreme heat. The Avalon Foundation is so grateful for all who make Plein Air Easton! possible. It is truly a community event and this community should feel very proud.”

Gallery owners and local businesses also reported strong sales. “Plein Air–Easton! is a great economic boost for the town,” says Avalon Foundation events manager Kathy Hanna. “Thousands of people come to the event and stay in town, eat at the restaurants, and shop at downtown businesses. Last year we estimated 6,000 visitors; this year was at least that many. Foot traffic increases dramatically, especially over the festival weekend, and lodging establishments report that this is one of their best weeks of the year.”

Nancy Tankersley is a founding member of Plein Air–Easton! and a professional artist and co owner of South Street Art Gallery. “We had steady traffic all week and sales were up considerably from last year,” Tankersley reports. “Our reception on Saturday evening with all five of the past years’ grand prize winners was very well attended. Our open house at Easton Studio and School also drew many visitors. It was very positive overall.”

Jennifer Heyd Wharton, co-owner of Troika Gallery, says her gallery also had a successful week. “Sales were good, lots of new people coming through. Our demos were packed and the energy in town was awesome, in spite of the heat. Troika Gallery loves being part of Plein Air–Easton!”

Jennifer Wagner, owner of the newly opened Gallery 26 at 26 W. Dover St. hosted artisan’s workshops throughout the Plein Air–Easton! festival week. “As a gallery participating in Plein Air–Easton! for the first time, we were very impressed with how well done the festival is. It is obvious the volunteers work very hard and every detail is addressed. We were very pleased with the amount of people who attended our scheduled events and our artists sold very well. We are already planning for next year’s Plein Air–Easton! activities.”

Plein Air–Easton! is the work of the Avalon Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide diversified arts and educational programs that improve the quality of life in the Mid-Shore region. The Academy Art Museum provides an accredited museum venue for the competition exhibit. The event’s extremely successful track record is largely a result of extraordinary community support from a cadre of volunteers, Friends of Plein Air–Easton!, the Talbot County Arts Council, and corporate, media, and community based sponsors, For information, painting galleries, artist bios, or to become a Friend of Plein Air–Easton!, call 410.822.7297 or visit www.pleinaireaston.com.

AWARDS IN NATIONAL COMPETITION
2010 Grand Prize “Timothy Dills Memorial Award” $5,000
“Monday Morning” by Ned Allen Mueller from Renton WA

Second Place $2,000 (Sponsored by the Academy Art Museum)
“Saturated” by Gavin Brooks from Owings Mills MD

Third Place $1,000
“Magic Happens” by Jeannette Le Grue from Tomales CA

Vanishing Landscape Award $2,000 (Sponsored by the Bay Hundred Foundation)
“Gambrel Barn” by Camille Przewodek from Petaluma CA

Easton’s 300th Anniversary Purchase Award $1,000
(Sponsored by the Avalon Foundation)
winning painting given to the Town of Easton
“Easton Light” by Raymond Ewing from Swan Point MD

Best Marine Award $1,000
Sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
“Crow Brothers Last Stand” by Richard Oversmith from Asheville NC

Best Architectural Award $1,000
Sponsored by the Historical Society of Talbot County)
“Easton Charm” by Tom Lynch from Naperville IL

Exceptional Work in Oil $1,000
Sponsored by Vasari Classic Artists’ Oil Colors
“Reflections of Historic Oxford” by Debra Huse from Costa Mesa CA

Best Use of Light Award of Excellence $800 Product Award
Sponsored by Utrecht Quality Art Supplies
“Sunrise Under the Union” by Nancie King Mertz from Chicago IL

Best Painting by a Maryland Artist $500
Sponsored by Troika Gallery
“The Hangout” by John Brandon Sills from Phoenix MD

Artists’ Choice Award $500 1/2-page ad in Fine Art Connoisseur magazine
“Sultry Afternoon” by Valerie Craig from St. Davids PA

Best New Artist to Plein Air-Easton! $500
Sponsored by South Street Art Gallery
“The Grain Yard” by Carolyn Hesse-Low from San Diego CA

Vasari Classic Artists’ Oil Colors Award $500
“Happy Easton” by Ellen A. Gavin from Millville NJ

Honorable Mention $150
“Easton Evening I” by Michael Budden from Chesterfield NJ

Honorable Mention $150
“Waiting for Lunch” by Greg LaRock from Newport Beach CA

AWARDS IN QUICK DRAW
Note: Winners in the National Competition are not eligible to win a prize in the Quick Draw. All Quick Draw Winners receive an invitation to paint in the Winners’ Paint-Out, Brunch & Live Auction.

First Place $300 plus Artists Focus feature in American Art Collector magazine
“Garden” by Sam Robinson from Owings Mills MD

Second Place $200 plus ½ page ad in Southwest Art magazine
“In the Shadows” by Greg Johannesen from Port Republic MD

Third Place $150
“South Lane Light” by Will Williams from Towson MD

Exceptional Work In Oil
Sponsored by Vasari Classic Artists’ Oil Colors
“Drawing a Crowd” by Nancy Tankersley

Honorable Mentions $100 each
“Dover Street View” by Stewart White from Baltimore MD
“Market Day: by Jason Tako from Dover PA
“Gallery Walk” by Dennis Young from New Castle DE

AWARDS IN QUICK DRAW: THE NEXT GENERATION
First Place $1,500 & featured on cover of August issue of Attraction magazine
“Easton Shadows” by Carolyn Becker from Bethesda MD (age 18)

2nd Place $1,000
“Hot Summer Day” by Rebecca Nolte from Arnold MD (age 18)

3rd Place $100 & product award
“Greenery” by Eleanor Kilman from Easton MD (age 11)

Honorable Mentions $50 each
“Joy” by William P. Kelly from Chestertown MD (age 19)
“Summer Bliss” by Adelyn Groton from Easton MD (age 19)
“Backyard at Masons” by Rachel Briggs from New Castle DE (age 18)

AWARDS IN LOCAL COLOR SHOW
Best in Show $500
“Beach Blitz” oil by Matt Grist from Denton MD

First Place $300
“Tuscan Hills” oil by Meg Walsh from Oxford MD

Second Place $200
“Talbot Farm” watercolor by Douglas Sefton from St. Michaels MD

Third Place $100
“Almost Home” mixed media by Lynne Johnson Horvath from St. Michaels MD

Honorable Mentions
“Fishing Fleet” oil by Sarah Stolte from Trappe MD
“Little Girl, Big Hat” watercolor by Doris Glovier from Pokomoke City MD
“Photosynthesis 1”mixed media by Geraldine Czajkowski from Grasonville MD
“Spring Bounty” oil by Linda Kirvan from Oxford MD

PAINTINGS SOLD AT THE WINNNERS’ PAINT-OUT, BRUNCH & LIVE AUCTION
“Sunlight & Shadows” by Ned Mueller from Renton WA (Grand Prize Winner 2010)
auctioned for $1,800

“Catching the Sunrise” by Jason Tako from Dover PA (Honorable Mention Quick Draw 2010)
auctioned for $1,800

“Morning Breeze” by Camille Przewodek from Petalum CA (Vanishing Landscape Winner 2010 & 2009)
auctioned for $1,500

“Workin’ the Shadow” by Stewart White from Baltimore MD (Grand Prize Winner 2009, Honorable Mention Quick Draw 2010)
auctioned for $1,400

“The Wild Side of Harleigh” by Nancy Tankersley from Easton MD (Vasari Exceptional Work in Oil Quick Draw 2010)
auctioned for $1,400

“For the Birds” by Greg LaRock from Newport Beach CA
(Grand Prize Winner 2008, Honorable Mention 2010)
auctioned for $1,300

“Mellow Yellow Boat House” by Ellen A. Gavin from Millville NJ (Visari Classic Artists’ Oil Colors Award 2010)
auctioned for $1,300

“Hot Tomato” by Gavin Brooks from Owings Mills MD (Grand Prize Winner 2005, 2nd Place Winner 2010)
auctioned for $1,200

“Awesome Osprey” by Jeanette Le Grue from Tomale CA (3rd Place 2010)
auctioned for $1,200

“Wharf Scene” by Tim Bell from Edgewater MD (Grand Prize Winner 2006)
auctioned for $1,100

“Morning Glory” by Dennis Young from New Castle DE (Honorable Mention Quick Draw 2010)
auctioned for $1,100

“Saving Time” by Valerie Craig from St. David PA (Artists’ Choice Award 2010)
auctioned for $1,000

“Grand Entrance” by Greg Johannesen from Port Republic MD (2nd Place Quick Draw 2010)
$1,000 Academy Art Museum Purchase Award

“Please Let Me In!” by Nancie King Mertz from Chicago IL (Ultrecht Best Use of Light Award 2010)  auctioned for $1,000

“Harleigh Boat House” by Richard Oversmith from Asheville NC (Best Marine 2010)
auctioned for $900

“Morning at the Boat House” by Will Williams from Towson MD (3rd Place Quick Draw 2010)
auctioned for $900

“Morning Boat House” by John Brandon Sills from Phoenix MD (Best Maryland Artist 2010)
auctioned for $900

“Mrs. Spring’s Formal Garden” by Debra Huse from Balboa Island CA (Vasari Exceptional Work in Oil )  auctioned for $900

“Japanese Cherry” by Sam Robinson from Baltimore MD (1st Place Quick Draw 2010)
auctioned for $800

“A Light Touch” by Tom Lynch from Naperville IL (Best Architectural 2010)
auctioned for $800

“Fresh Apples” by Robert J. Barber from State College PA (Grand Prize Winner 2008)
auctioned for $800

“Creek at Harleigh” by Carolyn Hesse-Low from San Diego CA (Best New Artist to PAE)
auctioned for $700

“Harleigh Gardens” by Michael Budden from Chesterfield NJ
auctioned for $700

“Sunday Calm” by Raymond Ewing from Swan Point MD (Winner of Easton’s 300th Anniversary Purchase Award)
auctioned for $700

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