With more than $10,000 in prize money and good Florida weather, the participants in the Forgotten Coast en Plein Air event emerged from 10 days of painting and camaraderie with glowing reports.
An Australian swooped in and took First Place in the Professional category — the inimitable Leon Holmes. He won $1,000 and an ad in Fine Art Connoisseur.

Taylor, First Place winner in the Open category Lydia Ellis, and Stern

Second Place in the Professional category went to David Boyd, Jr., and Third Place was won by Lori Putnam. James Richards won Honorable Mention, and Nancie King Mertz took People’s Choice.

Leon Holmes offers instruction.

In the Open category, Lydia Ellis was the big winner. In getting First Place, Ellis took home $1,000 in cash and will receive an ad in PleinAir magazine. Marie Miller won Second Place, and Jeff Markowsky won Third, as well as People’s Choice. Tony Bareham won Honorable Mention, and Lori Putnam won Artists’ Choice.
In a plein air circuit with an increasing number of competitions, why is Forgotten Coast en Plein Air one of the events that stands out?

Artists’ Choice winner Lori Putnam, Taylor, and board member Susan Bassett

“I think there are several factors involved,” says David Boyd. “I think the first is that the people who put on the event know how to treat artists. They don’t limit us by geographical boundaries or subject matter. They want us to paint what we love because they know that that’s how to get the best work from us. A big part of what we do here is documenting this way of life that is disappearing, and I think we all feel a kinship with that idea. Not to mention it’s the most beautiful area, full of interesting, curious, and wonderful things to paint! Joe Taylor and his group who put this thing on also run defense for us, clearing a path that allows us to work from sunup through sunset with very few interruptions — with the exception of one of our favorite days, student art day, where we work with a local high school art student.”

Artists at the 2016 Forgotten Coast en Plein Air event

The event had a special theme this year: land conservation, habitat restoration, and environmental stewardship. Special lectures and demos highlighted this topic during the Forgotten Coast en Plein Air event.
Boyd summed it all up thusly, “Two weeks down here has been the best learning experience I’ve had in years.”


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