Another year…another success! You might think that the “Paint the Town” weekend would suffer from the raw, rainy weather. You might think that a plein air artist needs sunlight in order to capture the contrasts to make a painting interesting. In fact, that was not the case. Having cloudy, wet weather meant that the colors of the outdoors were bolder and though artists in many cases had to work from inside their cars, the results were wonderful. The “Wet Paint Show and Sale” and the “Quick Draw Competition” showed how resourceful, creative and prolific the participants were.

Ray Ewing Won Best of Show

Ray Ewing Won Best of Show

The artists worked in varied mediums – oil, soft pastel, and watercolor, sometimes along with pen and ink. The subject matter was extremely diverse from Chestertown street scenes and buildings, the train station, barns, gardens, fields, waterside views, storefronts, the Garfield Marquee, a lattice and so much more. The styles ranged from realistic to impressionistic and several artists used their palette knives to lay on the paint thickly to give it a lot of texture.

At the Saturday night reception, the artists voted for their favorites. Doug Ashley Realty sponsored “Best of Show” which was won by Ray Ewing’s oil, “Still Standing”. “Best Body of Work”, sponsored by Home Mattress Center of Delaware, was awarded to Maria Reardan, one of the most prolific and talented of the artists. She completed six pastel paintings each of a different subject matter: a boat shed, a spring green field, a white house on the hill, Mimi’s Dress Shop window, a marina in Rock Hall, and a river scene.

On Sunday, artists participated in the “Quick Draw Competition”. Only two hours were permitted for painting and framing so that work could be on view from 11:00am-noon. Indeed, it was another horrible morning with cold and rain, but really all of the paintings were strong and interesting.

There were many awards at the “Quick Draw Competition”. First Place went to Jackie Clark, Second Place to Maria Reardon, and third place to Tara Will. Four Merit Awards, sponsored by Chesapeake Fine Arts Studio of Stephensville, went to Nancy Van Meter, Alison Menke, David Diaz, and Sarah Baptist. Two Honorable Mentions went to Jayne Ramsey and Cathy Whitehead, each of whom received two tickets to “Taste of the Town”. And then there was the popular People’s Choice Award, sponsored by the Peoples Bank, which was given to Diane Joy Laird.

For those of you who missed the shows or are still thinking of a possible purchase, you will have a second chance. A lottery was held to select 20 artists who will leave two paintings each to be shown in the exhibit, “A Second Look”. These paintings will be in the Studio Gallery through May.

This year the participants had the opportunity to win a place in several workshops. A lottery was held for two classes where participants will work on their own projects to be taught by Hai-Ou, founder, owner and instructor at the Chesapeake Fine Arts Center. Another lottery was held for a watercolor workshop to be taught by Christine O’Neill.

There are several plein air events in Maryland, but the RiverArts one is popular as it one of the first of the plein air season. The roster of artists filled very quickly this year leaving twelve on the waiting list and attracting many new participants. We expect no less next year!


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