All award winners with Abigail McBride. From left to right (Top): Donna Long, Joanna Barnum, Debra Howard, Abigail McBride, Andreé Tullier, Stephen Wysocki. Bottom: Greg Johannesen and Jim Rehak. Photo by Fred Brundick, Fred’s Photography

The Maryland Center for the Arts recently wrapped up its third annual Harford Plein Air Festival, a week-long outdoor painting competition held at several locations throughout Harford County. Find out here which of the 30 juried artists reigned supreme amidst their colleagues and the marvelous fall colors.

A special art collectors’ preview party, award ceremony, and public gallery sale made the perfect culmination for a week-long plein air festival in Harford County, Maryland last week. Hosted by the Maryland Center for the Arts from October 8-15, the Harford Plein Air Festival is — now having completed its third annual event —quickly rising in the ranks of great outdoor painting competitions.

Close up of Deb Howard’s Main St. Nocturne
Artists Discussing Paintings
Stacy Rogers painting tank

For the 2017 event, 46 artists applied, with 30 officially receiving the invite to participate from art juror Crystal Moll, urban landscape painter and owner of Crystal Moll Fine Art Gallery in Baltimore. Fourteen of the accepted artists this year traveled from outside Maryland, hailing from Pennsylvania; New Jersey; New York; Delaware; Virginia; North Carolina; Connecticut; Ohio; Washington, D.C.; and Wisconsin.

Quick Draw non juried adult artist award winners. From left to right: Justin Woytowitz, Carol Cowie, Robert Bohné, and Ronaldo Dorado. Photo by Fred Brundick, Fred’s Photography.
Youth Artist Quick Draw Award Winners (some not pictured)
Mick McAndrews painting Bel Air Farmer’s Market in Quick Draw
Mick McAndrews Winning Painting

During the festival week, artists ventured into Harford Bounty to paint a range of subjects that included landscape, seascape, wildlife, figurative, and architectural, to name a few. All told, over 180 paintings were created throughout the week, many of which found happy homes with collectors. Artist Abigail McBride, impressionist painter and founder of the Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association and Paint Annapolis, was the award judge this year —,and she certainly had her work cut out.

Stephen painting Top of the Bay
Lena painting Docks

First Place this year went to artist Debra Howard for her amazing nocturne titled “Main Street Nocturne.” Second Place was taken by Joanna Barnum for “Blue Bus, Grey Day,” while Third Place went to Donna Long’s “Symphony.” Honorable Mentions included Greg Johannesen’s “Beleaguerment,” Stephen Wysocki’s “John Deere + Sunflowers,” and Andreé Tullier’s “Through the Light.” An Award of Merit was earned by Jim Rehak’s “Susquehanna Rain.”

Twenty-six of the 30 artists also participated in a Quick Draw Competition on Saturday, October 14, at the Bel Air Farmer’s Market, South Main Street, Courtland Street, and Office Street. Also, 13 non-juried adult and nine youth artists participated. The Quick Draw was judged by Robert Bohné. Well-known artist Mick McAndrews took First Place, Debra Howard took Second, and Joanna Barnum Third. Among the non-juried winners, Ronaldo Dorado took First, Justin Woytowitz Second, and Carol Cowie Third. Youth winners included Griffin Harrington in First Place, Adriana Valentin Second Place, and Samuel Musser in Third Place. Three youths also received Honorable Mentions: Alexis Leder, Emma Sewell, and Tommy Barrow.

The next Harford Plein Air Festival is already set for October 8-14, 2018. To learn more, visit the Maryland Center for the Arts.

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


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here