Why would anyone want to make life difficult for the amiable and energetic plein air dynamo George Van Hook? The painters at the recent Lighthouse ArtCenter Plein Air Festival did last week.
Van Hook was charged with choosing the awards at the Tequesta, Florida, event. “There was an extraordinary group of artists there,” Van Hook reports. “Any number of paintings could have won any of the awards at the event. I went to the organizer and I said, ‘I need more — more awards than this. I want 10 honorable mentions. And I want money.’ She said OK, and allowed me to give $100 to each of 10 honorable mentions. And then I messed up and awarded 11! That just shows you how deep the talent was. I refused to make a judgment until I could award that larger group of paintings.”
In the end, Van Hook chose Nancy Tankersley’s “Florida Beach” for the Grand Prize. “It was quite an honor, winning in that crowd!” Tankersley tells us. She won $4,000, a half-page ad in PleinAir magazine, and other prizes.
Robert Simone won First Place with his piece “Ocean Commotion,” and Shelby Keefe earned Second with “After Midnight.” Neal Hughes earned Third Place with “Port Salerno Nocturne.” Carl Bretzke, Michele Byrne, Bill Farnsworth, Charlie Hunter, Andre Lucero, Jim McVicker, Dan Mondloch, Kathie Odom, Jason Sacran, Patrick Saunders, and R. Gregory Summers earned Honorable Mention.
There was also a Quick Draw: Eli Cedrone won First Place, Robin Weiss took Second, and Jeff Markowsky won Third. Charlie Hunter, Jim McVicker, Dan Mondloch, Devin Roberts, and Jason Sacran won Honorable Mention.
More than $18,000 worth of prizes in total was distributed at the event, which focused on sites in Palm Beach County.