Port Wing, Wisconsin, a town of around 350 people, a place that says on its signs that it’s about “Fishing, Farming, and Forestry,” is located right on Lake Superior, and if all of that doesn’t prick up the ears of plein air painters, read on.
Lead Image: “First Home,” by Kari Hogden. Best in Show
Those ingredients in a locale — trees, farmland, and open water — often add up to a great spot to paint. The town of Port Wing evidently agrees, as it recently hosted the 6th Annual Port Wing Plein Air Painting Festival, handing out prizes to a select few of the 27 artists attending.
Kari Hogden won Best in Show with her painting “First Home.” “I loved this teepee when I first saw it. The whole setting brought my feelings to the surface,” says Hogden of the subject matter of the prize winner. “I headed out bright and early the next day, but the light didn’t give me the same feeling about it. I checked it again in the afternoon and decided I liked the sunshine and shadows that gave the teepee its spacious form that made me feel like I wanted to go in there. That was what I was after. The water changed color about four times, and when that teal blue showed up, I considered it a gift and I grabbed it!”
Lisa Stauffer took Second with “Nearly Noon.” Stauffer says the subject matter for her piece grabbed her from afar and pulled her in. “I saw the dramatic arched shadow on this barn from a distance, and it got more interesting to me as I approached the building,” says the artist. “I used the light/shadow, warm/cool contrasts to help create an intriguing asymmetry out of the balanced peak of the barn. The pigeon peeked out as I worked, so I added that touch of life to the barn portrait.”
Dianne Lewis won Third Place with “Welcome to My Pad.” The Historical Award went to Cindy Martin for “Orienta Power Dam,” and Gale Berndt won People’s Choice with “Twin Falls.” Peter Spooner, past curator at the Tweed Museum at the University of Minnesota, in Duluth, served as judge.
The event also included a Quick Draw competition. Lee Englund won that with “The Beach House.” “I chose the beach house because I was drawn in by the white picket fence, directing my eye through the scene,” says Englund. “I felt energized and chose a toned 16”-x-20” canvas. The time restraint of 90 minutes for the competition brought about jazz-like, gestured, and active brushstrokes. I worked intuitively, feeling the intensity of the moment.”