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Plein Air-Easton Celebrates Plein Air Success!

May 27, 2011 04:29PM ● By Anonymous

Now entering its 7th year, the unfailing “success vibe” of


this festival continues to build. Just seven years ago, Plein Air–Easton! took off out of the gate and has

never looked back. Each year the festival has evolved and expanded as scores of painters descend on

Easton and Talbot County, bringing with them an up­ close and personal look at the excitement and

spontaneity that surrounds art created en plein air (French for “in the open air”).


This event has become the hottest art sale of the year in the Mid­Atlantic region and well beyond.

In 2010, despite a struggling national economy, over 260 paintings were sold in one weekend, reflecting

more than a 37% increase in total sales income compared to the previous year. But don’t worry if you

missed the excitement last year, 2011 promises to be even better.


What is the key to these unprecedented accomplishments? “The Plein Air–Easton! success story

presents itself in a myriad of different ways,” says Al Bond, executive director of the Avalon Foundation,

the nonprofit organization that presents the event. “Fundamentally, it’s all about the quality of the art. As

we have continued to constantly raise the bar, the intensity of the contest has increased to the point where

the competition is extremely fierce.”


If you are an artist trying to enter the event or win an award from almost $20,000 in prizes, this

competition element can be daunting. “There are really good painters who are not getting in,” Bond adds.


If you are an art buyer, student, or enthusiast, the competition translates to a vast and engaging

assortment of superior art.


“Over the last several years, Plein Air–Easton! has seen a real shift in the caliber of

artists submitting to the competition,” says Jessica Rogers, operations director of the Avalon

Foundation. “Submissions have increasingly come from well­known artists from across the United States

and around the world. This year, almost 100% of those who applied have established careers, gallery

representation, and professional websites.”


This heightened competition rallies an exceptional mix of returning and new artists to the event.

The competitive edge of this silver­and­gold Who’s Who spurs more artists not only to enter, but to try to

best themselves and their peers with great artwork produced during the Plein Air–Easton! festival. A large

part of the appeal of plein air paintings is fresh perspectives on a sense of place. By attracting a varied

group of artists each year, Plein Air–Easton! continues its history of producing and selling dynamic and

desirable fine art.


Not only has Plein Air–Easton! created a buzz among artists, it has caught the attention of the

nation’s art connoisseurs, some of whom have judged the event. Plein Air–Easton! is judged by some of

the most knowledgeable and informed individuals in the world of representational art. This year both the

jurist and the awards judge are well­known experts from New York.


The entry jurist, Tim Newton, is the founder and curator of “American Masters,” one of

America’s foremost art exhibitions and sales, which is held every May at New York City’s Salmagundi

Club. For more than 130 years, the Salmagundi Club has served as a renowned center and singular gather


place for fine artists from around the country. An art collector since the early 1990’s, Newton serves on

the board of the Artists’ Fellowship as well as being vice president of the Salmagundi Club. He is also on

the advisory board of The Stobart Foundation.


The awards judge is M. Stephen Doherty, editor of the recently relaunched Plein Air magazine.

Prior to this, Doherty worked for 31 years as editor and publisher of American Artist, Watercolor,

Drawing, and Workshop magazines. He is an active outdoor painter who travels around the United States

and Europe. He serves on the advisory boards of several arts organizations, including the New York

Academy of Art, The Florence Academy, and the Portrait Society of America. He has been a judge in

various national and international competitions.


“These are two of the most influential people in the plein air scene,” says Rogers. “They are

extremely excited about being part of this year’s competition, and they will both attend the festival in

person.” (On the Saturday evening of the festival, Doherty will give a talk discussing his picks for this

year’s award winners.)


Fifty five artists have been selected to compete in the 7th Annual Plein Air–Easton! competition,

to be held July 18­24. Those listed (see below) will be joined by three additional winners from the

Mid Shore Plein Air–Easton! Competition, to be held in May.


The following artists will compete in the 2011 Plein Air–Easton! National Competition (in

alphabetical order):

Paul Bechem, Locus Valley NY

Michael Kotarba, Baltimore MD

Robert J Barber, State College PA (2007 Winner)

Mike Kowalski, Nordland WA

D. Eleinne Basa, Jackson NJ

Jim Lamb, Sammamish WA

Tim Bell, Annapolis MD (2006 Winner)

Greg LaRock, Newport Beach CA (2008 Winner)

Eric Bowman, Tigard OR

Kirk Larsen, Hicksville NY

Roger Dale Brown, OPA, Franklin TN

Jeanette Le Grue, Tomales CA

Michael Budden, Chesterfield NJ

Tom Lynch, Naperville IL

Michele Byrne, West Lawn PA

Leonard Mizerek, Westport CT

James Carson, Saluda NC

Ned Mueller, Renton WA (2010 Winner)

Hiu Lai Chong, Rockville MD

Elise N. Phillips, Elverson PA

Eddie Corkery, Villa Park IL

Sara Linda Poly, Easton MD

Sandra Corpora, Bethlehem PA

Camille Przewodek, Petaluma CA

Frank M. Costantino, Winthrop MA

Sam Robinson, Baltimore MD

Valerie Craig, St. Davids PA

Morgan Samuel Price, Orlando FL

David R. Csont, Pittsburgh PA

Greg Scheibel, Bozeman MT

Anthony Davis, Lindenhurst NY

William A. Schneider, Village of Lakewood, IL

Roger Dellar, Hindhead Surrey SU (UK)

Julia Munger Seelos, Redwood City CA

Ken DeWaard, Viroqua WI by way of Chicago

John Brandon Sills, Phoenix MD

David Diza, Annapolis MD

Jerry Smith, Crawfordsville IN

Charles Dickinson, St. Augustine FL

Richard R. Sneary, Kansas City MO

Lisa Egeli, Churchton MD

Hodges Soileau, Venice FL

Tracey Frugoli, East Peoria IL

Jason Tako, Dover PA

Ellen A. Gavin, Millville MJ

Nancy Tankersley, Easton MD

Stephen J. Griffin, Easton MD

Bryan Mark Taylor, Lafayette CA

Elaine Hahn, Holiday FL

Karl Terry, Tenterden KE (UK)

Hai­Ou Hou, Stevensville MD

Carol Lee Thompson, Phoenix MD

Debra Huse, Balboa Island CA

Stewart White, Baltimore MD (2009 Winner)

Thomas Jefferson Kitts, Portland OR


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 Mid­Shore region. The

competition exhibit is held at the Academy Art Museum, which is an accredited museum. Plein Air–Easton! is

supported by various corporate, media, and community sponsors, including the Talbot County Arts Council.

Donations from Friends of Plein Air–Easton! support the event while promoting conservation and tourism


through the arts and a distinct sense of place. Strong community support and sponsorships have been key

components in the great success of this event.


Artists’ bios, galleries, itineraries, educational components, registration for ticketed events, and more

are available at For further information, email or phone



Ned Mueller of Renton WA is congratulated by Al Bond (far left) and Ellen General of the Avalon Foundation,

and Awards Judge Jean Stern (far right) upon the announcement that “Monday Morning” won the 2010 Plein

Air–Easton! Grand Prize. Mueller returns to vie against 57 other artists for close to $20,000 in prizes during

the 7th Annual Plein Air–Easton! Competition & Arts Festival, to be held July 18­24, 2011. photo credit: Ann Dorbin