In Fort Myers Beach, the 7th annual Paint the Beach event got an important assist from the weather. The seventh time was a charm for the competition, as pleasant, sunny days made artists and patrons happy. Who won?
“As all plein air artists know, the weather is a big factor for any event,” says Michele Buelow, co-chair of the event. “Having absolutely perfect weather really impacted the artists, as they were able to paint as much as they wanted at any time of the day. Last year the high temperatures forced many artists to paint very early or in the evening hours, and rain made it difficult as well as humid. Pure Florida sunshine and temperate heat level made it outstanding this time around.”
The top winner at Paint the Beach was David Belling, who won the Juried Division with “Shrimp Shop.” Second Place went to Neil Walling for “Solitude,” and Kathy Taylor won Third Place with “Bowditch.” John Sanchez’s “Vacation Home” won a Merit Award, and Michele Barron Buelow, Fran Mangino, Julie Nusbaum, and Barb Valentine won Honorable Mention. Larry Moore served as judge.
In the Emerging Artist Division, Sherry Collier took First Place with “Sunrise St. Carlos Island,” Lynne Wesolowski won Second Place with “Junkanoos Blues,” and Patricia St. Onge took Third with “Alley in Ft. Myers Beach.” Keith Johnson’s “Early Morning Walk” won Most Representative of the Beach. Kelli Mason won a Merit Award, and Tom Crosby, Mary Klunk, Floyd Lawrence, and Sharon Yarbough earned Honorable Mention.
In the Quick Draw, John Sanchez won First Place with “Pete’s Time Out.” Sanchez won the Quick Draw in his first appearance at a plein air event. “It was exciting! The pressure of a time limit both terrified and comforted me in that I knew I was just going to focus on a little area and let it grow out of it, and where I would finish was anyone’s guess,” says Sanchez. “I was worried about the final composition. Normally I would sketch that out first. This painting was a pleasant surprise. So much so that when I returned to my home later that evening, I tried another one.”
Neil Walling won Second Place in the Quick Draw, Linda Richichi won Third, and Sheila Wissner earned Honorable Mention.
The “Sundowner” event on the beach itself was judged by Sue Pink. She chose Crista Friedl’s piece for First Place, with Second going to Sheila Wissner and Third earned by John Sanchez.
“The evening was perfect and the sunset colorful,” comments Buelow. “About 40 artists participated in the Sundowner event, with many visitors and art lovers watching and mingling with them as they painted. Sue Pink did an excellent job of picking the winners with thought and attention.”