D.K. Palecek won the top prize at the popular Plein Air Cedarburg event, but the journey her painting took on the way to the awards presentation was nearly unbelievable.
For the Quick Paint competition, Palecek had decided to paint Fiddleheads coffee shop, one of her favorite stops in town and something of a destination for visitors to Cedarburg, Wisconsin. She set up there to practice the scene. “I like to work out some of the measuring when I know I’m going to paint a building,” she says. “Buildings are not the best Quick Paint subject.” The artist came back to Fiddleheads for the Quick Paint, but her piece didn’t win. Near the end of the Cedarburg event, Palecek gathered up her paintings from the past week — and discovered that she couldn’t find her practice painting of Fiddleheads.
“I was trying to see what to pick to turn in and noticed it was missing,” recalls Palecek. “I called Wendie Thompson, who is on the board at Cedarburg, and asked if anyone had found a painting. I called my aunt, who I stayed with during the week — no. I found it six hours later on a shelf — I had painted it on Masonite and laid it flat at eye level, so I didn’t see it.”

“Nocturne Port Washington,” by Brian Sindler, 2016, oil. Second Place

The painting won Best of Show and the Sandra McCutcheon Pape Best of Cedarburg award. “My friends said I looked a deer in the headlights on the stage,” says Palecek. “I kept wondering if they had made a mistake and meant to give it to some other D.K. Palecek or something.”

“Fiddleheads Terrace,” by Jan Schmuckal, 2016, oil on panel, 20 x 16 in. Third Place

Palecek is somewhat mystified that her practice painting, which was so neglected that it once was lost, was found to be the best at the whole event. “Who knows? I don’t,” she says. “Maybe it won because my idea was a bit fresher when I painted the first painting at Fiddleheads. Maybe it’s because I had a little bit more time than the version I did for the Quick Paint. I usually go back to paintings to see if something needs softening or touching up, but I found that painting at the very last minute — I didn’t even touch it.”

“Anne’s Peonies,” by R.L. Weber. Quick Paint winner

Bill Suys and Dawn Whitelaw served as awards judges. Elsewhere in the overall competition, Brian Sindler won Second Place with “Nocturne Port Washington,” Jan Schmuckal took Third with “Fiddleheads Terrace,” and Paul Berquist won Fourth Place for “Giants of the Earth.” Bob Beck, Shar Coulson, Derek Davis, Julie Jilek, Matt Barber Kennedy, Tom Nachreiner, Lee Radtke, Pamela Ruschman, and Kathie Wheeler won Honorable Mention.
Paul Berquist won the Artist’s Choice Award, with James Hempel earning Second Place and Jan Schmuckal winning Third. Second Place in the Sandra McCutcheon Pape Award was won by Matt Barber Kennedy.
In the Quick Paint event, R.L. Weber won First Place with “Anne’s Peonies,” Marc Anderson won Second with “Cold Beer in the Summer Shade,” and Lori Beringer won Third Place for “Relax.” Kyle Martin, Bradley Parrish, and Jason Prigge won Judge’s Recognition awards.
Organizers estimate that about 700 paintings were turned in by the participating artists.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here