People quickly think of California, Colorado, and coasts of all kinds when they imagine plein air painting, but the state of Ohio is one of several examples of places beyond those hotspots where the approach is popular, appreciated, and pursued by active artists. The association that has done the most for plein air painting in Ohio, the Ohio Plein Air Society, recently held its annual show and announced winners.
OPAS president Robin Roberts says he was gratified that, true to the society’s philosophy, the competition was an open one, encouraging newcomers as well as veteran artists to participate. “We had 75 artists participating, and a lot were newbies, which I like to see,” says Roberts. “It is good to have an open competition where anybody can come alongside seasoned veterans and paint. Doreen St. John and her team did a great job of organizing this event. Everything from the pot-luck dinner, with wonderful door prizes from our sponsors, to the pre-approved painting locations, and down to the final awards ceremony ran very smoothly.”

The winners at OPAS’s 12th annual show, back row, from left: Carolyn Lewis, Chuck Marshall, Tom Cole, Eileen McConkey, Kathleen Farthing, Mary Holobaugh, Ann Grimaldi, Diane Grguras, Dino Massaroni. Front row, from left: Kari Ganoung Ruiz, Jack Liberman, Joe Lombardo, Nora Daniel, Fran Mangino, Christopher Leeper.

Best in Show was won by Joe Lombardo, with Christopher Leeper taking First, Kathleen Farthing winning Second, and Tom Cole earning Third Place. Kari Ganoung Ruiz won Artists’ Choice. Carolyn Lewis won the Quick Draw competition.

Competition chairperson Doreen St. John, left, with juror Shelby Keefe

Nora Daniel, Diane Grguras, Fran Mangino, Chuck Marshall, and Dino Massaroni earned Honorable Mention.

Fran Mangino, left, sits with Karen Klingbeil LaValley during the presentation.

Five companies sponsored Awards of Excellence. The Gamblin prize went to Ann Grimaldi, the Michael Harding prize to Eileen McConkey, the Judson/Richeson prize to Jack Liberman, the Richeson/Judson prize to Kari Ganoung Ruiz, and the SourceTek prize was won by Mary Holobaugh.

The same two, opposite view. Photo by Debra Joyce Dawson

“We had beautiful weather as compared to the rain, sleet, and snow we dealt with last year,” says Roberts. “And we had some beautiful paintings to show for it. Shelby Keefe was our juror this year and she had a tough job to pick the winners. But she did it and she did it well.”


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