Tim Tyler, “Rubescence,” 2017, oil on canvas (Best of Show)

It was a proud moment for 10 painters as they took home a collective 14 prizes this spring in Arkansas during this second annual plein air event. Don’t blink, this could be the next big plein air competition!

Although the Eureka Springs ESPAfest recently concluded its second year, the Arkansas event is seeing rapid growth and new sponsors — including PleinAir. It’s a collaborative event hosted by the Eureka Springs School of the Arts and the Plein Air Painters of Eureka Springs, and 2017 witnessed more than 50 participating artists, 10 of whom took prizes in 14 different categories.

Patrick Saunders, “Castle Rogues Manor,” 2017, oil on canvas (People’s Choice Award)

Tim Tyler was judged Best of Show with his painting titled “Rubescence,” which earned the artist a 1/4-page ad in PleinAir magazine and $500 cash. Tyler’s painting “Kent, Romancing the Stone” garnered the $1000 Purchase Prize as well. Nyle Gordon won two $1,000 Purchase Prizes for his paintings “Bridge Closed” and “Flat Iron Flat,” while Carol Dickie took the fourth $1,000 Purchase Prize with “Not So Blue Spring.”

Nyle Gordon, “Flat Iron Flat,” 2017, oil on canvas ($1,000 Purchase Award)

There were also $500 Purchase Prizes, which were taken by “Basin Park Hotel View” — another painting by Nyle Gordon — “Onyx” by Kent Landrum, and “Leatherwood Creek” by Tim Breaux. Patrick Saunders went home with the People’s Choice Award for his painting “Castle Rogue’s Manor.”

Marty Benson, winner of the Brand New Talent Award, with her watercolor painting “High View”

Well-known watercolorist Richard Stephens received a Blue Ribbon $500 Award in addition to a one-year subscription to PleinAir for his magnetic painting “Beavertown Store Display Window.” Tim Tyler and Nyle Gordon weren’t the only artists taking multiple awards, as Carol Dickie earned a Red Ribbon $200 Award for “Forrest Patterns.” Dickie’s Red Ribbon also came with a one-year PleinAir subscription. A Yellow Ribbon $100 Award and PleinAir subscription were given to Julie Kahn Valentine for her piece titled “New Delhi.” Terry Shoffner was an Honorable Mention for “Sun on Main,” and last, but certainly not least, Marty Benson took home the first ever Brand New Talent Award for “High View,” which earned the artist a set of brushes.

To learn more, visit the Eureka Springs School of the Arts.

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