OXFORD — Aimee Erickson of Oregon and Zufar Bikbov of Connecticut received awards for their Plein Air artwork Sunday evening at Paint Oxford, an event held by the Oxford Community Center in partnership with the Oxford Business Association.
The Oxford event helped open the Avalon Foundation’s Plein Air Easton, which runs through July 21.
“We’ve had really well attended events so far,” Avalon Foundation President and CEO Al Bond said. “The logistics are smooth. Art sales drive the sustainability of the festival and we hope to keep up the momentum.”
During the fourth annual Paint Oxford Day, hundreds of guests attended the exhibition and sale from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The event featured 46 artists and 24 paintings were sold, with sales reaching just over $31,000, according to Marie Pierre Nuthall, Plein Air Easton coordinator.
Nuthall said the artists selected the winners for two awards.
Erickson won the $1,000 Artists’ Choice award for her piece, “A Day in the Sun.” The painting was completed in several hours that very morning in an empty lot off of Tilghman Avenue. The shady spot lent Erickson “a nice view of the boats as they were getting hit by the sun.”
“It’s a great event, this event blows my mind with how organized they are and how well they run things,” Erickson said. “I am lucky to be in it two years in a row now.”
“It meant so much to me,” Erickson said of the award. “There’s a lot of people here whose work I respect a lot, so many terrific people.”
Speaking to her technique, the artist said she adds color and layers and pushes the color around until she finds a balance.
Meanwhile Bikbov received the WaterWays award, a brand new cash prize sponsored by Attraction Magazine. The award was presented by Ian Fleming, Oxford Business Association president and owner of the Robert Morris Inn.
Liza Ledford, Oxford Community Center executive director, recently wrote that the winning WaterWays painting would best capture the themes of the Smithsonian/Oxford Museum’s WaterWays exhibit, opening the same weekend at St. Paul’s Church in Oxford.
“WaterWays explores the endless motion of the water cycle, its effect on landscape, settlement and migration and its impact on culture and spirituality,” Ledford wrote. “WaterWays is part of the Smithsonian’s water initiative to raise awareness of this critical resource.”
Bikbov, originally from Russia, also created his piece within several hours earlier that morning. “Scheduled Twice an Hour” depicts the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry and dock. This is his seventh year at Plein Air Easton.
Bikbov began studying art in Russia at the age of nine. He says the main focus of his work is landscape as a way to explore the country.
“Not being born here, it helped me to better learn and understand the people and beauty of this country.”
Also present at Paint Oxford were artists Natalia Andreeva of Florida and Qiang Huang of Texas. Also originally from Russia, Andreeva said she was introduced to Plein Air at a young age through her government-funded school’s curriculum. She said Plein Air Easton in particular requires “a lot of endurance.”
Finally, Huang said he was an engineer for 20 years before he discovered his true love for art. He is now a professional artist and offers teaching lessons as well. This is Huang’s third year in a row with Plein Air Easton. He won first place in last year’s quick draw event, thereby securing his spot in 2019 Plein Air Easton.
Plein Air Easton’s quick draw event and exhibition, awards and sales will be held on Saturday, July 20 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m on Harrison Street. Registration is required in order to paint and the cost is $10.