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
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 www.pleinaireaston.com. For further information, email email@example.com 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