Easton! The word brings joy to the heart of any plein air painter…especially those who have been juried into the event as I was fortunate enough to be for my 3rd consecutive year. Plein Air Easton takes place every year around the 3rd week in July in Easton, MD which is about halfway down the Delmarva Peninsula. A combination of fabulous coastal views, rolling farmland and a lovely historic and picturesque village ensures plenty of painting possibilities. It is also the best run event that I know of from the organizers of The Avalon Foundation, the entire community and a small army of very dedicated volunteers who all work very hard to make things run smoothly and with incredible efficiency.
For those of you who might not read this entire post I will get to the big news right at the outset…I won an award! “The Utrecht Award of Excellence for Best Use of Light.” Trust me when I tell you that winning an award in Easton is no easy task and, considering the extremely high level of competition, is something for which I am very honored, proud and humbled. I did not get a good photo of the winner but do have the following shot of it hanging on the wall in the awards room.
"Moored at Dawn" 8 x 10 o/c Sold
The competition was extended by an extra day this year and 2 “pre-paint outs” were added as well so I was on the road for 11 days. This is made much easier by the availability of “host families”, people in the community who are generous enough to open their doors to the artists for the duration of the event. I stayed with a lovely couple just south of downtown Easton and they were most accommodating with the crimp that I’m sure my schedule put in their usual routine.
The Eastern Shore of Maryland in July means heat and while the heat was not as bad as in years past we still had a couple of blistering days in the middle days of competition. Most of us try to get out for the early light, crash at the host’s house in the midday and then head out again in the late afternoon to take advantage of the late day/evening light.
One nice surprise was an offer to 3 competition artists to paint Billy Bragg while he performed at The Avalon Theater in downtown Easton on Sunday night. I was one of the 3 artists chosen and set up my easel against the wall to the left of the stage. Bragg split his set into two parts; the first had him sitting and playing his tribute to the music of Woody Guthrie on an acoustic guitar and the second set featured him standing and playing his own music on electric guitar. I chose to paint him during the first set, when he would be reasonably inactive. This set only lasted about 50 minutes but I worked like mad to get the following piece done. It is by no means finished but it had an energy that I liked…and Billy Bragg got himself a new fan in me!
"Billy Bragg" 11 x 14 o/c I'll probably clean this up a bit but liked the "roughness" of it.
Aside from a couple of quick notes there is no need to talk about each of the following paintings. They are all typical of the area and represent about half of my output for the week. I have not worked out a good way to get good photos of my work while out on the road so that the following are all I have to share with you. In all I produced 11 paintings and sold 6… it was a good week for me!
"Cooke's Hope Pine" 11 x 14 o/c Painted not far from my host family's house just after sunrise.
"Evening Shadows at the River House" 8 x 10 o/c. My first painting of the week at welcoming dinner held at The River House on the grounds of The Easton Club.
"Pentaquad's dawn" 12 x 12 o/c. My last painting of the competition painted at dawn on Thursday morning. This rather idyllic scene was painted on the shoulder of an overpass on a very busy road! The title refers to one of the characters in Michener's "Chesapeake".
"Sunflowers and Cumulus" 11 x 14 o/c Sold
"The Robert Morris Inn" 12 x 16 o/c. A rare time where I didn't finish during the first session and returned the next evening. The Inn sits just across the street from one of the oldest running, private ferrys in the country. I think the Inn was built in 1710.
"Tilghman Morning Light" 11 x 14 o/c. Painted out at the very picturesque sea side village of Tilghman Island.
I leave in a couple of days for an invitational event in New Hope, PA. More on that after I return.
Note that all of these small sketches are available for sale directly from me via this website. Simply click on the link under each image to view purchasing details. The price includes shipping costs.