Plein Air Painting Events > Something magical happened when 31 award-winning artists rode in from 16 states and saddled-up with their easels to paint on 14 private ranches in West Texas.
BY BARBARA RALLO
One hundred years ago, artists and teachers from as far away as the Chicago Art Institute found their way to the tiny community of Christoval, just south of San Angelo, Texas, where the emerald spring waters of the South Concho River were calling them to come paint outdoors. EnPleinAirTEXAS 2021 acknowledged those long-ago painters with a week like no other in the United States and added the allure of authentic working ranches.
Something magical happens when you have 31 award-winning artists ride in from 16 states and saddle-up with their easels to paint on 14 private ranches in West Texas. Add a week of perfect fall sunny weather and 400 paintings later, you have one of the most successful years yet in the 8-year history of EnPleinAirTEXAS!
Over half of the artists arrived early to spend two nights hosted on ranches to paint and warm up to the Texas scenery. Even though these were non-competition paintings, they were hard to resist and resulted in many pre-event sales. During the week, all the artists were welcomed on 7 more ranches closer to town and were able to spend 5 days total on those ranches. Scenery ranged from dry creek beds to a high vista of the Edwards Plateau divide.
A new event for 2021, “Field Ranch Experience with the Artists,” brought ticket holders in from all over Texas to spend the day “Artist-hopping” on ranch vehicles to watch the EPAT artists paint. A mid-afternoon reception showcased the day’s works with a ‘Field Ranch Favorite’ People’s Choice Award sponsored by Western Art Collector Magazine. Painting sales were brisk, but only after the ranchers selected their favorites to purchase!
The week’s highlight was the ‘Art Collectors STAMPEDE’ Awards Party & Sale at The Stables Building on Fort Concho, a National Historic Landmark. Awards Judge Tim Newton awarded over $35,000 in cash and magazine ad prizes. PleinAir Magazine is a major awards sponsor for EnPleinAirTEXAS. Michael Obermeyer of Laguna Beach, California was juror for this year’s artists and will be the 2022 Awards Judge.
2021 EnPleinAirTEXAS Winners:
Grand Prize – The Elta Joyce Murphey Award – Christine Lashley
Best Body of Work Award – Richard Sneary
Artist Choice Award – Mat Barber Kennedy
2nd Place Award – Bill Farnsworth
3rd Place Award – Spencer Meagher
Museum Purchase Award – Mark Shasha
Judge’s Award of Distinction – Christopher Leeper
Texas Ranchland Award – John Caggiano
Texas Precious Water Award – Suzie Baker
Spirit of San Angelo Award – Brienne Brown
Ken Landon Waterlily Award – Olena Babak
Best Architectural Award – Mat Barber Kennedy
Texas Artists Camp Award – Gary Tucker
Field Ranch Favorite Award – Nancy Tankersley
Mini-Pearls of the Conchos – 4 Judge’s Choice Awards –
Artists spent final morning of the event painting at the 68th San Angelo Roping Fiesta – an iconic West Texas tradition. Action-filled Roping Painting awards are:
Roping Paint-Out – 4 Judge’s Choice Awards –
Yong Hong Zhong
Roping Paint-Out Open Category – 3 Judge’s Choice Awards –
Roping Paint-Out – Best San Angelo Artist Award –
The artists donate a portion of every painting sale to event host, the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, directly supporting their children’s education outreach programs that touch over 35,000 youth annually. They also found time to visit all 17 elementary schools in San Angelo and paint in the International Waterlily Gardens as art classes from area high schools and private schools came to watch and meet them.
A total of 197 paintings were sold through the week by the 31 artists and final tabulations of sales are expected to be the best year in the history of EnPleinAirTEXAS. One of the premier plein air competitions in the country, the event is known for its hospitality and art sales averaging over $200,000 annually.
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– Online art conferences such as Plein Air Live
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– Educational and fun art conventions, and much more.