The 2019 Ohio Plein Air Society award winners
The 2019 Ohio Plein Air Society award winners

The Ohio Plein Air Society Hosts Its 16th Annual Plein Air Competition

With three days to paint anywhere in Hamilton County, Ohio, where would you set up your easel? That was the question facing the 55 artists who registered for the 16th annual Ohio Plein Air Society Competition held Sept. 26–29, 2019.

More from the Organizers:

The Ohio Plein Air Society (OPAS) hosts an annual competition with a different judge each year. Unlike other competitions, ours is a “movable feast” — it takes place in a different Ohio county every two years. In 2018 and 2019 it was Hamilton County’s turn to shine! The event was based at the Barn in Mariemont, Ohio. Many participants stayed in that area to paint, but others ventured out, from the town of Milford all the way over to the Indiana border. Scenes of downtown Cincinnati, farms in the area, Sharon Woods, and more featured in the display of paintings.

This year Tim Horn, originally from Yellow Springs, Ohio, was our juror. The top four awards this year went to Cody Heichel, best of show, Christopher Leeper first, Mark Gingerich second, and Wendy Fleury third.

In addition to the cash awards ($1000, $750, $500, and $350) there were many merchandise awards. Certificates for $250 worth of Blue Ridge Oil Colors, Vasari Oil Paints, Michael Harding Oils, a frame from JFM Frames, and SourceTek panels were just some of the 10 products generously donated and handed out as awards of excellence. Finally, five honorable mentions of $150 each were also awarded.

Next year, Franklin County will be our competition location, rich with great urban scenes and also plenty of beautiful metro parks, river scenes, farms, historical locations, and college campuses. The event will be hosted at the Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD), where we are excited about the possibility of collaboration with CCAD, mentoring opportunities, and student inclusion.

Chuck Marshall and Christopher Leeper painting during the OPAS event

Full list of winners:
Best of Show: Cody Heichel
First: Christopher Leeper
Second: Mark Gingerich
Third: Wendy Fleury

Best of Show: a landscape painting by Cody Heichel

Artists Choice: Christopher Leeper
Quick Draw: Nicole Maye Luga

Awards of Excellence:
• Susan Bunce Ritter
• Monica Achberger
• Jeff Stahler
• Chuck Marshall
• Rajat Shanbhag
• Joe Lombardo
• Robin Roberts
• Nicole Maye Luga
• Kathleen Gray Farthing
• Georgetta Darr

Honorable Mentions:
• Susi Havens-Bezaire
• Mary Jane Ward
• Justin Collamore
• Jill Stefani Wagner
• Ivonyna Lempitskiy
Judges Award: Tonya Ramsey

The competition is open to all, not just members of Ohio Plein Air Society. For more information as the year progresses, check the OPAS website:

The Ohio Plein Air Society, founded in 2002, is a collection of artists and art lovers sharing a common interest in outdoor painting. We are proud to be at the forefront of the plein air movement in the United States. Our members now come from nearly every county in Ohio, and from each of the surrounding states. While we recognize that all art is important, as a group we focus on painting, drawing, and other art forms completed on-site, outdoors, and from direct observation.

Our admiration for the world around us gives us reason to explore through art the diversity and uniqueness of Ohio’s landscapes, cityscapes, lakes, rivers, streams, and beyond. As a nonprofit organization, OPAS welcomes and supports artists, patrons, educators, and enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels, backgrounds, and interests. We come together to paint and learn, to work in a supportive atmosphere, and to encourage each other by scheduling paintouts, workshops, competitions, critiques, and group exhibitions.

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