Elissa Gore painting in watercolors

In its second year, the Bath County Plein Air Festival in Virginia again succeeded in making its participating artists feel extremely welcome and comfortable. How? 

Meg Walsh painting a view of the Bath County Courthouse


The key was in the host families, who were true patrons of the arts, according to a few of the painters. There were awards to keep the competitive juices flowing, too. 

 Left to right: Ed Hatch, Andras Bality, Richard Oversmith, Warm Springs Gallery owner Barbara Buhr, Beth Marchant, and Mark Horton 


“This event was different because it was part invitational and part juried, so the art was very diverse,” reports New York painter Elissa Gore. “There was a broader range of styles than I have seen at the other events I’ve attended. Most of the county was under conservancy easements, so the landscape felt unspoiled. The hospitality was amazing.”

Lauren Andreath painting chickens on Chimney Run Farm 


The event awarded prizes for People’s Choice, Peer Review Best in Show (Artists’ Choice), and a Quick Draw. Two painters tied for top honors in the People’s Choice category — Ed Hatch and Beth Marchant. Mark Horton took Third.

Peer Review Best in Show went to Richard Oversmith.

 William Jamison standing near his paintings


In the Quick Draw, Neal Hughes won First Place, Joey Burrough won Second Place, and Carol Maguire took Third. Honorable Mention awards went to Katherine Galbraith, Ed Hatch, and Kathy Odom. M. Stephen Doherty, the editor of PleinAir magazine, served as judge.


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