EASTON — In full swing since Thursday, July 11, Plein Air Easton, the world’s largest outdoor painting competition, is back for its 15th year.
“At its core, Plein Air Easton is a competition among the nation’s best working outdoor artists, all following their passion and striving to produce their personal best work,” Avalon Foundation President Al Bond wrote in the festival’s program.
The 58 juried competition artists spent a week painting outdoors throughout the area, and a number of events are planned for this weekend.
“Part of the appeal of Plein Air Easton is the excitement and inspiration that one feels when witnessing the very best painters creating great artwork in one’s presence,” Bond wrote. “The result is a body of work that demonstrates both innovation and excellence. Paintings produced during the festival bring daily joy to the people who purchase them, and many have sparked national trends in plein air painting.”
Winners of the weeklong painting competition will be announced Friday, July 19, at the Collectors’ Preview Party, scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. at the Academy Art Museum and Waterfowl Festival Building. Tickets are $250.
The competition judge is David Levy, who served for 19 years as the CEO of the Parsons School of Design and 14 years as the president and director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art and Design.
In 2005, Levy began a consulting relationship with Cambridge Information Group, and in 2007, he became president of its Education Group and graduate school, Sotheby’s Institute of Art. Other accomplishments include the creation of the New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, co-founding the Delaware College of Art & Design and Bach to Rock, a chain of music schools with a curriculum based on the formation of small bands.
Two competition paintings by each artist will remain on display all weekend long. The museum and Waterfowl Building will be open to the public Saturday and Sunday for viewing and purchasing of paintings.
The Quick Draw Competition, 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, is a plein air painting competition, exhibit and sale open to anyone who wishes to participate. Nearly 200 artists, including competition painters, professionals, amateurs and the simply adventurous, will compete. These artists will have only six blocks and two hours to complete their works. See the scenes and how the artists interpret them. Awards will be presented at 1:30 p.m.
At the same time, the Children’s Paint Out will take place at the Academy Art Museum. This paint-out will offer children, ages 5 to 12, an opportunity to showcase their plein air painting skills. Supplies and basic instruction will be provided. This is sponsored by The Country School.
The Plein Air Easton’s Artisans Market will feature a variety of local artisans showcasing art that is not traditionally plein air. Wood sculptures, metals, furniture, jewelry and photography are some of the distinctive art that will be displayed on the corner of South Harrison Street and Glenwood Avenue from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Local Color is juried and judged by winners of the previous year’s Plein Air Easton festival and highlights local artists from the Delmarva Peninsula. The show judge this year is Tim Bell, the Grand Prize-winner of Plein Air Easton 2018. This exhibit and sale will take place all weekend at the Tidewater Inn.
Sunday’s highlights will include the Next Generation Quick Draw from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event is a painting competition for artists 18 and younger. Participants must pay a $10 registration fee and “paint from life” from 10 a.m. to noon. Artists must bring their own supplies or pay additional fees for supplies and framing. All artwork must be framed or matted (artwork created as part of the workshops is eligible as long as it is framed). Registration for the Quick Draw will begin at 9 a.m. on Harrison Street.
Also for kids on Sunday, don’t miss the Plein Air Easton Next Generation art activities from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on South Harrison Street.
Sunday also will feature a talk by Levy, the competition judge, at 2 p.m. at the Waterfowl Festival Building.
Throughout the weekend, the Avalon Theatre will house the Plein Air Easton Information Center. Hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Plein Air Easton is run by the Avalon Foundation.