More than $11,000 in prizes was awarded recently at the Solomons Plein Air Festival in Solomons Island, Maryland. How did it go?
Painters descending upon the seaside town had more than 20 awards to chase. In the end, Patrick Lee walked away with Best of Show, which was sponsored by Avian. He won $3,500 for the honor. JoEllen Murphy took Second Place, and John Caggiano won Third. Eileen Eder, Raymond Ewing, Stephan Giannini, Debra Howard, and Carole Peirson earned Honorable Mention. Hiu Lai Chong was the judge.

John Caggiano with one of his pieces. Caggiano won Best of Show in the Paint the Town for a Cause competition, and Third Place in the general competition.

Greg Johannesen won a Juror’s Choice award that netted him a free ad in PleinAir magazine, and Carole Peirson won a similar prize, getting her art featured on

Patrick Lee won the Quick Draw as well as Best of Show.

Neal Hughes won the Luc Herbots Memorial Award, and Mick McAndrews won the Knucklehead Award, which is given to the artist who didn’t submit a potentially award-winning piece (artists could choose only two pieces from their output for judging).

Neal Hughes, who won Second Place in the Quick Draw, Best Auto Painting, and the
Luc Herbots Memorial Award

In the Paint the Town for a Cause competition, judged by Carolyn Egeli, Tim Kelly won the Scenic Solomons award, Juliya Ivanilova won the Generous Spirit award, and Neal Hughes won Best Auto Painting. John Caggiano won Best of Show, Mick McAndrews won Second Place, and Jackie Clark won Third.

Mick McAndrews, Second Place, the Knucklehead Award, and Honorable Mention in the Quick Draw

There was a Quick Draw competition, and Patrick Lee won that as well. He was followed by Neal Hughes (Second Place), Carole Peirson (Third Place), and three Honorable Mention winners (Wesley Drake, Mick McAndrews, and Tara Will).

It was all hands on deck as the artists got busy on a boat.

In the end, the day after the big gala, a group went out for one more painting session. “Most sensible artists were resting and packing, but not this group of mostly first-timers at SPAF,” reports New York City artist Elissa Gore. “There was no plan, but Patrick Lee, Neal Hughes, Jackie Clarke, Stefan Giannini, and I all ended up at the same spot, painting an inlet and the old oyster house building that is part of the Calvert Marine Museum. We had a blast.”


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