By some measurements, Plein Air Easton is the biggest plein air event in the world. It certainly gets the plein air community buzzing. With 11 four-figure cash prizes and plenty of categories, the Maryland event is certainly tantalizing. Who won in 2015?
The Grand Prize, the Timothy Dills Memorial Award, earns an artist $5,000 plus a half-page ad in PleinAir sister publication Fine Art Connoisseur. That prize went to Jason Sacran, who is cleaning up on the plein air circuit this year. He won it with “Beckoning.” Equally rich is the award given by peers — the Artists’ Choice award, which went to Mark Boedges. That earned him $5,000 and a half-page ad in Fine Art Connoisseur as well.

“Beckoning,” by Jason Sacran. Grand Prize winner

Tim Bell won Second Place, worth $2,000, and John Brandon Sills took Third and $1,000.
PleinAir magazine editor M. Stephen Doherty won the Best Composition award. Mark Boedges won Best Marine, while Bob Upton won Best Architectural, Brian Sindler won Best New Artist, Kathie Odom won the Life on the Farm award, Nancie King Mertz won the Artists Connecting with Community award, and Nikolay Mikushkin won the Vanishing Landscape Award.

Bryan Gulielmi tackles a nocturne. Photo by Ted Mueller Photography

Steve Doherty, left, Peter Trippi, and Kip Forbes. Photo by Ted Mueller Photography

Judges’ Choice went to Beth Bathe, while Elise N. Phillips won the Spirit of St. Michaels Award and Jill Basham won Best Painting by a Maryland Artist. Honorable Mention awards were given to Crista Pisano and Valerie Craig.
A Quick Draw competition yielded six winners: Neal Hughes won First Place, worth $1,500, Vladislav Yeliseyev won Second, and Hiu Lai Chong took Third, while David R. Csont, Tim Kelly, and Leonard Mizerek earned Honorable Mention.

Palden Hamilton. Photo by Ted Mueller Photography

Nancie King Mertz. Photo by Ted Mueller Photography

Before the Plein Air Easton event officially began, the Avon Foundation, the event organizer, held two Paint Outs to give traveling artists more options to paint and win. Zufar Bikbov won the Tilghman Island Paint Out’s Artists’ Choice award, worth $1,000, and Paiden Hamilton took home $500 for winning the Cambridge Wet Paint People’s Choice Award.

“Lost in His Work,” by Mark Boedges. Artists’ Choice winner

Plein Air Easton pulled in 58 juried artists, with as many as 200 artists competing in the open Quick Draw. Numbers aren’t in yet from this year’s event, but last year, Plein Air Easton drew more than 6,000 people and boasted $365,000 in sales. Organizers say that in 2014, a painting was sold every 45 seconds during the Collectors’ Preview Party.


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