Leon Holmes is a busy man. In addition to making inroads into the American market, he has started a plein air group in his Australian homeland. The organization is at the point where it can hold competitions and award prizes. Here are the winners from the Plein Air Painters of Australia’s July-September contest.
“I started the group a few years back, and now, as a little extra, I acquired a few sponsors,” says Holmes. “Michael Harding Artists Oil Colours, Rosemary & Co brushes, and PleinAir magazine donate prizes for each of our winners. It’s free for our members to enter. The rules are that pieces must be pure plein air — no studio adjustments — and that they must be painted in Australia by an Australian painter.”

“Dam at Mulgoa,” by John Rice. Second Place

And the winners for the latest quarterly competition? Michael Page won First Place with “Old Quippy Dam.” John Rice took Second with “Dam at Mulgoa,” and Peter Champion earned Third Place with “Swanbrook Creek.”

“Swanbrook Creek,” by Peter Champion. Third Place

Holmes and his partner in the group, Dario Falzon, created a judging system for the Plein Air Painters of Australia in which the sponsors and the group principals vote for five pieces, ranking them. “We all vote on our top five with five points for First, down to one point for Fifth,” explains Holmes. “I then tally up all the votes and we get ourselves our winners. Pretty fair for all, I reckon, and it is always a really mixed field. This quarter we had 15 of the works out of the 64 entries gaining votes from one or more of our judges.”


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