Joni Jurek with her painting “Candy Kitchen”

This week’s northern flavor continues with some worthy results from the Duluth Paint du Nord — a third annual plein air event along Minnesota’s North Shore of Lake Superior. Who captured the cash?

Thirty-four artists from around Minnesota and the Midwest recently participated in the third annual Duluth Paint du Nord plein air event that witnessed great weather, great fun, and great paintings, of course.

Hosted by the Duluth Art Institute (DAI) between July 12 and 18, the event’s reach has continued to expand beyond the borders of “the Land of 10,000 Lakes.” All of the works completed during the event are featured in an exhibition at Duluth’s Blacklist Artisan Ales through August 27.

On Friday, July 14, a small group distinguished themselves among their peers and were recognized with awards and cash prizes selected by juror Matt Kania. Joni Jurek’s “Candy Kitchen” was the big winner here, grabbing First Place and $300. “Jurek’s First Place-winning work depicts Great Lakes! Candy Kitchen in Knife River,” the DAI reported, “which has been run for 100 years by Canelakes — including, currently, artist Patricia Canelake.”

Lee Englund, “Garden House,” oil on linen panel, 16 x 12 inches; Honorable Mention.
Lisa Stauffer, “Perched for a Chatter,” First Place, Quick Paint. (“The quick paint at the zoo this year was a departure from the pure landscape,” says Stauffer. “I was out looking over the residents and rain was threatening. It had rained several times this week already and I paint in pastel, so I went inside the buildings and found this beautiful double yellow-headed Amazon parrot. We chatted throughout the 90-minute time, and she changed her perch many times to add to the challenge, but we both had a great time — I know we said hi and hello many times and made noises and sang a bit. I am not sure what else we discussed, but I had a friend by the end!”)

The $200 Second Place prize was earned by Angie Malin’s painting “Barefoot in the Sand” while John Sterner’s “Intersection of W. 6th St. & N. 8th Avenue W.” took home the $100 Third Place prize. Honorable Mentions included Doug Malin’s “Hay Barn,” Michelle Wegler’s “A Happy Place,” and Julia Jaakola’s “Duluth Port Storage.”

A $100 award for Best Sense of Place, sponsored by the Outdoor Painters of Minnesota, was given to Allison Eklund for “Surfing After Storm.” Honorable Mentions in this category included Lisa Stauffer’s “Zenith Machine, Canal Park” and Lee Englund’s “Garden House.” As part of the Plein Air Duluth festival, artists also competed in a special Quick Paint event in which they had a mere 90 minutes to complete a painting at the Lake Superior Zoo. This category was judged separately from other festival work. A $100 First Place award was given to Lisa Stauffer’s “Perched for a Chatter.”

Lisa Stauffer, “Zenith Machine.” Honorable Mention, Sense of Place (“I was drawn by the bold abstract formed by the old water towers against the sky set off by the sky reflections in the windows of the old machine shop, and this was an interesting subject to paint with the sharply angled perspective. I also liked the old towers and machine shop lettering and brick contrasted with the new condo windows set in to the old walls.”)

John Sterner, “Intersection of 6th St & 8th Ave.” (Sterner says, “I turned off of Skyline Drive onto 8th Avenue, and [saw] the red house down the street and immediately was struck by the composition of the sky, lake, canal, and the buildings. I knew I wanted the red house in the image and thought, ‘This is Duluth.’ I painted alla prima with oil paints and used an 8” x 10” Gessoed Ampersand panel, in the plein air style.”
Judge Matt Kania had some thoughts about 2017 as well, suggesting, “What’s great about the Duluth Plein Air event is the wide array of subject matter — everything from great coastal scenes with beaches, rock formations, sailboats, ore freighters, and ocean-bound vessels — to outstanding natural areas with waterfalls, vistas, and trails — alongside a visual smorgasbord of rural, cultural, and industrial scenes. A virtual eye candy shop for plein air painters!”

To learn more, visit the Duluth Art Institute.

This article was featured in PleinAir Today, a weekly e-newsletter from PleinAir magazine. To start receiving PleinAir Today for free, click here.

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