The Augusta Plein Air Art Festival wrapped up last week, with dozens of winners, including an interesting choice for Best of Show. 

The event, which is held in the wine country of the Missouri River Valley, provides 14 purchase prizes for participating artists, which suggests the strong synergy between the plein air event and local businesses. In addition, Augusta Plein Air has awards in several media.


Michele Wells won the People’s Choice award at Augusta Plein Air. 

If one person enjoyed the event more than most, it was Patrick Saunders. He won Best of Show, First Place in the Oil division, and Artists’ Choice for “Stones, Femme Osage,” a view of a cemetery. “It was the pattern of the headstones and their shadows that struck me as interesting,” says Saunders. “I struggled with making it about the stones, as I felt that it was a bit of a dark theme, and I even considered scraping it out and painting over it. As I worked, the house in the background became the focal point and the stones stood as the design pattern that I had originally intended. I believe the judges were drawn to the fact that the subject matter was very different from the majority of the work. The Augusta area is incredibly picturesque, and the vistas stand out. My goal was to focus on some of the more intimate historical details.”


From left, Cindy Kedroski; the winner of First Place in Pastels, Donna Shortt; and Kathy Kessler

Michele Wells won the People’s Choice award at Augusta Plein Air. In the media divisions, Donna Shortt won First Place in Pastels with “Good Morning, Augusta,” Michele Wells won Second Place with “Sunrise Over Katy Trail,” Lisa Crisman took Third Place in Pastels with “Vineyard Hill Hay Bales,” and Honorable Mention went to Deborah Williams for “Defiant Barn.”


From left, Cindy Kedroski; the winner of First Place in Watercolor, Spencer Meagher; and Kathy Kessler

In the Watercolor division, Spencer Meagher won First Place with “Beautiful Day,” Jim Peters earned Second Place for “Taking a Break,” Marcia Willman won Third with “Field Trip,” and Gary Beazley got Honorable Mention for “Augusta Wine Hall.” 


From left, Cindy Kedroski; the winner of First Place in Acrylic, Rebecca McGuire; and Kathy Kessler

In Acrylic, Rebecca McGuire won First Place with “Barn Swallows,” Craig Thomas took Second with “Chimney,” Melissa Zunia won Third Place with “Window on Augusta,” and Honorable Mention went to John Van Fange for “View to Washington.”


From left, Cindy Kedroski; the winner of First Place in Mixed Media, Linda Green-Metzler; and Kathy Kessler

Aside from Saunders’ previously mentioned First Place win, the Oil category shook out as follows: Paul Schaefer won Second Place with “Sunset Balducci’s,” Julie Weigand won Third with “Luscious Bales,” and Chris Sheppard earned Honorable Mention for “Judgment Tree Bales.”


From left, Cindy Kedroski; the winner of First Place in Oil, Patrick Saunders; and Kathy Kessler

“High Post Road View,” by Linda Green-Metzler, won First Place in the Mixed Media category. “End of a Good Day” by Spencer Meagher won Second. Third Place went to Michele Wells for “Over the Railings,” and Barbara Ferrari earned Honorable Mention in Mixed Media for “Messenger.”

More than $10,000 in prizes was awarded at the event.

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