Newburgh, New York is often overlooked when the Hudson River School is discussed, but a new plein air festival is looking to change that — and it’s involving the area’s finest plein air painters to do so. Who won at the inaugural Hudson Valley Plein Air Festival?
Jim Laurino won Best in Show for his oil painting “Shawangunk Farm.” Laurino says it wasn’t a breeze. “The painting did take some amount of determination to complete,” says the artist. “I was looking for a view of ‘The Gunks,’ and this farm location was perfect — afternoon light only. The farm owner was open to the idea of letting me paint there, but he was mildly discouraging as he had some tenants who were guarded with respect to privacy. He would need a two-hour lead time. When I called, he advised that the lawn crew would be out in full force that afternoon, and they were. No problem, I can work around them.

“Tivoli Marshes,” by Tarryl Gabel, oil. Second Place

“Hint of Fall, Bascobel,” by Daisy de Puthod, oil. Third Place

“Then I thought I had lost my glasses en route to the farm, but rather than head back and search for them, I decided to stick to schedule and paint without the distraction of detail. The glasses were found well under the front seat after I completed this painting … It all worked out. But as I was cleaning my brush, satisfied with the completed painting, a breeze (the only breeze that afternoon) kicked in. Should have had that canvas secured —my bad. I caught the painting where the mountain range meets the utility pole, cursed at the two inches of smear, and picked the brush back up to fix the damage.”

Robert Eckes (right) accepts his ribbon for Best Oil from judge Bob Bahr.

Pieces were on display at the Angry Orchard cider farm, in Walden, NY

Tarryl Gabel won Second Place with “Tivoli Marshes.” Daisy de Puthod won Third Place with “Hint of Fall, Bascobel.”
Best Oil was won by Robert Eckes and his piece “Morning Light From Olana.” Vaune Sherin won Best Pastel with “Scheuermann Farms,” and Best Local Artist went to Joseph Sundwall for his piece “Gatehouse.” Jinsheng Song won two awards: Best Agricultural Painting, and People’s Choice. Bruce Thorne’s “Early Morning” won Best Painting of a Palisades Conservatory Park, and Kari Ganoung Ruiz won Best Emerging Artist with “Mystic Warrior.” Eb Froehlich, Nancy Reed Jones, and John McNally won Honorable Mention. PleinAir Today editor Bob Bahr served as judge.

“Gatehouse,” by Joseph Sundwall. Best Local Artist

Kari Ganoung Ruiz accepts her ribbon for Best Emerging Artist from judge Bob Bahr.

In the Quick Draw, Keith Gunderson won First Place, Janet Howard-Fatta took Second, and Jinsheng Song won Third. Ben Pahucki won in the Kids division.

The Quick Draw attracted a crowd to Newburgh’s waterfront.

Jim Laurino (right) accepts his ribbon for Best in Show from judge Bob Bahr.

The festival was organized by the Wallkill River School of Art, a non-profit organization that links artists in Orange County, New York, with local farms, combining plein air with land conservation and locavore ideals. The school also runs a gallery that features 40 area artists.


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