Tim Kelly, "The Queen of Easton," 2017, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 inches (Winner of Artists' Choice, Third Place Overall, Best Architectural, and Best Painting by a Maryland Artist)

One of the nation’s premier painting events, Plein Air Easton, witnessed another fantastic week of camaraderie, warm weather, and stacks of brilliant paintings. Both established and up-and-coming names filled the winners list. Take a look!

Hosted July 17-23 in Easton, Maryland, Plein Air Easton — now in its 13th year in 2017 — has definitely emerged as one of the largest and most prestigious juried plein air painting competitions in the United States. More than 58 world-class artists from around the country descended upon Talbot County last week to compete for over $30,000 in cash prizes.

Joseph Gyurcsak, “Garage Port Glory,” 2017, acrylic on canvas, 20 x 20 inches (Grand Prize, Winner)
Hai-Ou Hou, “Self-Reflection: Evening at Maritime Museum,” 2017, oil on canvas, 24 x 24 inches (Second Place)

Although sales are still being totaled for 2017, last year’s event topped $384,000, with 334 paintings sold in just under three days. Early indications suggest 2017 was just as successful, if not setting new records. In addition to daily paint-outs, events include a Collectors’ Preview Party, an extremely popular Quick Draw (which is open for any artist with $10), and a host of coordinated events with local shops, galleries, restaurants, and more.

Patrick Saunders, “Like Stained Glass,” 2017, oil on canvas, 19 x 28 inches (Winner, Imagine Two Futures)
Nancy Tankersley, “Farm Shapes,” 2017, oil on canvas, 12 x 24 inches (Winner, Life on the Farm)
Hiu Lai Chong, “Scottish Highland Creamery,” 2017, oil on canvas, 15 x 30 inches (Winner, Best Hospitality)
Jim McVicker, “Cutts and Case Boat Yard,” 2017, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches (Best Painting by a West Coast Artist)
Greg LaRock, “The Wife and the Mistress,” 2017, oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches (Best Marine)

What have you been waiting patiently for? Ah, yes — the winners! A stunning acrylic by Joseph Gyurcsak, titled “Garage Port Glory,” was the big Grand Prize winner this year, earning the artist a $5,000 cash prize and a half-page ad in Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. Tim Kelly — an artist’s name you’ll be seeing a lot — was the winner of the coveted Artists’ Choice award for his painting “The Queen of Easton”; that award came with a $6,650 cash prize and half-page ad in PleinAir. Well known artist Hai-Ou Hou took home the $2,000 Second Place prize for “Self-Reflection: Evening at Maritime Museum,” and Tim Kelly earned the $1,000 Third Place prize as well for “The Queen of Easton.”

Jim McVicker, “Oxford Water Tower,” 2017, oil on canvas, 12 x 16 inches (Best New Artist to Plein Air Easton; Best Composition)
Richard R. Sneary, “Russell’s Bike,” 2017, watercolor on paper, 10 x 14 inches (Best Use of Light)

Patrick Saunders’ “Like Stained Glass” took the Imagine Two Futures award — a $2,000 prize — and Nancy Tankersley won $1,500 via the Life on the Farm award for “Farm Shapes.” The $1,500 Best Hospitality award was taken by artist Hiu Lai Chong for “Scottish Highland Creamery,” while Jim McVicker’s “Cutts and Case Boat Yard” was a $1,000 winner for Best Painting by a West Coast Artist. Greg LaRock was the winner of a $1,000 prize for Best Marine for “The Wife and the Mistress,” and Tim Kelly’s “The Queen of Easton” also took the $1,000 prize for Best Architectural painting and the $500 award for Best Painting by a Maryland Artist — the painting’s third and fourth awards at Easton in 2017.

Jason Sacran, “St Michaels Fury,” 2017, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches (Honorable Mention)

Jim McVicker was also deemed the Best New Artist to Plein Air Easton, a $1,000 prize, for his painting “Oxford Water Tower.” McVicker’s “Oxford Tower” also won a $500 prize as Best Composition. The familiar artist Richard Sneary also took home an award, worth $500, for Best Use of Light in his painting “Russell’s Bike.”  Sneary also earned a $150 Honorable Mention for “White Station Wagon.” Jason Sacran rounds out the juried winners of Plein Air Easton, taking a $150 Honorable Mention as well for “St Michaels Fury.”

Richard R. Sneary, “White Station Wagon,” 2017, watercolor on paper, 10 x 14 inches (Honorable Mention)

Now on to the Small Painting Sunday competition. Sara Linda Poly took home First Place for “In a Blaze of Glory”; Valerie Craig’s “Early Bird” earned the $750 Second Place prize; Tim Kelly’s “The Hill” won $500 for Third Place; and Jim McVicker’s “Oxford Harbor” took a $100 Honorable Mention along with Camille Przewodek’s “Cloud Formations.”

Next was the Quick Draw competition, which was attended by thousands, with more than 200 artist’s vying for the $1,500 top prize. First place was taken by Joe Guernsey, Tim Kelly took Second, and Jim McVicker Third. Honorable Mentions went to Elise Phillips, Jason Sacran, and Matteo Caloiaro.

To learn more, visit Plein Air Easton.

This article was featured in PleinAir Today, a weekly e-newsletter from PleinAir magazine. To start receiving PleinAir Today for free, click here.

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