Wekiva Resort owners Bill and Mary Sue Weinaug in front of the wall of paintings from the event. Photo by Jeff Hawkins Photography

Crocuses are pushing up even in the iciest parts of the country, and that means the plein air season is ready to get underway. But in Florida, it never stopped. One of the premier events wrapped up its activities this week with considerable panache: the Wekiva Paint Out

The Hindu Cowboys provided entertainment. Photo by Jeff Hawkins Photography

It was the ninth year for the event, which is held at a resort and marina called Wekiva Island, located about 20 minutes north of Orlando, Florida. Invited artists have all their expenses paid while they are at the event. The Paint Out is part of the efforts of the owners of the resort, Bill and Mary Sue Weinaug, to support initiatives to preserve the Wekiva River.

Catherine Hempel won First Place in the Quick Draw.

Helen Avalon won Second Place in the Quick Draw.

The Paint Out is not so much a competition as it is a fundraiser, and, from the looks of it, a great party. There’s live music every night, and nocturne painting more than once. 

Christophe Cardot won Third Place in the Quick Draw.

Teri Siciliano, left, and Lori Bailey McLennan enjoy the festivities. Photo by Jeff Hawkins Photography

Randy Pitts won Artists’ Choice; he’s pictured here receiving a certificate from Violeta de la Serna of Fine Art Connoisseur and PleinAir magazine.

Still, some awards were doled out in the Quick Draw competition. Catherine Hempel won First Place, Helen Avalon took Second, and Christophe Cardot won Third Place in that event. Randy Pitts was the winner of the Artists’ Choice award, and Vladislav Yeliseyev won People’s Choice.

Vladislav Yeliseyev, winner of the People’s Choice award, poses with Mary Sue Weinaug and Nina Chatham, co-chair of the event.

Vladislav Yeliseyev and Tom Sadler talk shop. Photo by Jeff Hawkins Photography

“We are growing each year, and this year was the best to date,” says Mary Sue Weinaug. “We are planning on a great 10th anniversary of the Wekiva Paint Out. We expect it to be bigger and better than ever.”


  1. Please define a Plein Air painting for me
    I have been with” Plein Aire” painters
    who came to the site took photos went
    home and painted the painting. Is this
    what you consider Plein Aire Painting
    I would appreciate a reply.

  2. Good question, Phyllis……I, too, would like to know if paintings that are being created in artists’ STUDIOS from plein aire sketches are then still being considered as “plein aire” paintings.

  3. Fox: We announce the winners in the e-newsletter and in the printed magazine every two months, and we will announce the final winners at the Las Vegas convention and in the e-newsletter. If you don’t subscribe to the FREE e-newsletter, just put your e-mail address in the space on the home page and click “sign me up.”

    Phillis & Marlene: While making copies of successful paintings has always been a great way to learn, it isn’t plein air painting in the strict sense of that term. Generally speaking, it is a term applied to paintings created PRIMARILY or EXCLUSIVELY outdoors from direct observations of nature. But don’t get hung up on terminology and just keep enjoying the process and learning.


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