Expanded categories, an hours-long jurying process, and 14 winners. Get the scoop below. 


“Bourton on the Hill,” by John McCartin, oil, 26 3/8 x 40 3/8 in. First Place

Shirley Hutchins, gallery director at the Bennington Center for the Arts in Bennington, Vermont, and Elizabeth Small, the Bennington’s curator, served as judges for the August-September contest in the PleinAir Salon. “Elizabeth and I really enjoyed jurying the show,” says Hutchins, “but we had a very hard time selecting just 11 to be recognized. Oftentimes there were a number of equally deserving pieces in a category, so, as you can imagine, it was very difficult to select just one. We did try to take into consideration originality and how well the pieces fit the categories into which they were submitted.”

For the second contest in a row, John McCartin won top honors: His oil painting “Bourton on the Hill” won First Place. McCartin previously won the June-July contest.


“Wings,” by Francesco Fontana, oil, 6 x 9 in. Second Place

“Moonlight & Shadows,” by Rod Lawrence, acrylic, 18 x 27 in. Third Place

Francesco Fontana’s oil painting “Wings” won Second Place, and Rod Lawrence won Third Place with his acrylic painting “Moonlight & Shadows.”

The winner of the Plein Air category was Wayne Mckenzie, with his oil “Spinning.”


“The Coming Rain,” by Dave Santillanes, oil, 32 x 24 in. Best Landscape

“The Softness of Winter,” by Dave Santillanes, oil, 18 x 36 in. Best Water

Dave Santillanes won two categories; his oil painting “The Coming Rain” won in the Landscapes category, and his piece “The Softness of Winter” took the Water category.


“Midnight in Paris,” by Lori Putnam, oil, 18 x 24 in. Best Nocturne

“Chasing Shadows,” by John Buxton, oil, 22 x 40 in. Best Figure in the Landscape

“City Night,” by Bryan Mark Taylor, oil, 24 x 30 in. Best Buildings

John Buxton won the Figure in the Landscape category for “Chasing Shadows.” In Buildings, Bryan Mark Taylor took the prize for “City Night.” The winner in Nocturnes was Lori Putnam with “Midnight in Paris,” and Best Floral was won by Kerri Weller with “Parrot Tulips.” Ann Kraft Walker won the Still Life division with “Dawn’s Gift.”


“Parrot Tulips,” by Kerri Weller, oil, 13 x 18 in. Best Floral

“Dawn’s Gift,” by Ann Kraft Walker, oil, 22 x 14 in. Best Still Life

The PleinAir Salon introduced three new awards this time: Best Oil, Best Pastel, and Best Watercolor. Best Oil was won by John McCartin for “The Restless Tide.” Best Pastel went to Cindy House for “Early June Marsh,” and Best Watercolor was won by Barbara Simmons for “Fleeting Light.”


“The Restless Tide,” by John McCartin, oil, 27 1/2 x 47 1/4 in. Best Oil

“Early June Marsh,” by Cindy House, pastel, 12 x 16 in. Best Pastel

“Fleeting Light,” by Barbara Simmons, watercolor, 30 x 22 in. Best Watercolor

The October-November contest will see the introduction of two new categories: Best Overall Acrylic, and Best Artist Under 30, recognizing the best painting of any medium done by an artist when he or she is under 30 years of age.

Joe McGurl will jury the next contest; entries are being accepted now at the Salon’s website.


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