Photo Credit: Saunders Fine Arts

The meteoric rise of EnPleinAirTEXAS has been something to behold. 2017 was the event’s fourth year, and it has already become one of the most well-attended and sought-out painting competitions in the United States. Featuring 34 of the nation’s top outdoor painters in 2017 — find out here who rounded up honors and lassoed awards.

Between October 22 and 29, San Angelo, Texas, was undoubtedly the center of the plein air world, hosting 34 of the nation’s best outdoor painters who came in from coast to coast for a fun-filled competition. Whether it be a reprieve from cooling temperatures, the mouth-watering cuisine, a world-class rodeo competition, or the endless possibilities for creative inspiration, EnPleinAirTEXAS (EPAT) certainly ranks among the top plein air events in the United States.

Erik Koeppel, “Head of the River Ranch,” 2017, oil (Grand Prize, winner)
Carl Bretzke, “Boot Store,” 2017, oil (Second Place)
Patrick Saunders, “Oasis,” 2017, oil (Third Place)

Among the participating artists in 2017 were four award winners from 2016: Jason Sacran, Patrick Saunders, Shelby Keefe, and Jill Basham. Others included Zufar Bikbov, Tina Bohlman, David Boyd, Jr., Lon Brauer, Carl Bretzke, John Caggiano, Frances Ellisor, Paul George, Karen Ann Hitt, Francesco Fontana, Carole Gray-Weihman, Kathleen Hudson, Charlie Hunter, Erik Koeppel, Kirk Larsen, John Lasater, Christopher Leeper, Chuck Marshall, K T Morse, Mary Pettis, JoNell Richardson, William Rogers, Mark Shasha, Lauren Sansaricq, Richard Sneary, Gregory Stocks, Gregory Summers, William Suys, Nancy Tankersley, and Sherri Thomas. The awards judge this year was artist Roger Dale Brown.

John Lasater IV, “Draping Landscape,” 2017, oil (Best Architectural)
John Caggiano, “John Deere,” 2017, oil (Texas Ranchland Award)
Bill Farnsworth, “Keep the Change,” 2017, oil (Museum Purchase Award)

New for the EPAT in 2017 was a coordinated effort to capture the San Angelo Roping Fiesta —the world’s most prestigious invitational roping contest. “First, the public was invited Saturday morning, October 28, to wander and watch during an Open Paint-Out on the fairgrounds,” say EPAT organizers. “From 9 to 11:30 a.m., EPAT Competition Artists and any area artist wishing to register and participate completed a painting in that area during the allotted time. Artists choose from the indoor roping competition at the Spur Arena, the Junior Livestock Show with over 400 youth and their animals, or any of the roping fiesta areas with the cowboys and their horses.”

Shelby Keefe, “Ted’s Outback,” 2017, oil (Spirit of San Angelo Award)
Zufar Bikbov, “Rising Sun,” 2017, oil (Texas Precious Water Award)
Jason Sacran, “First Light On the Concho,” 2017, oil (Award of Distinction)
Jill Basham, “Black Jack’s Hills,” 2017, oil (Award of Distinction)

Artist Erik Koeppel won the Grand Prize this year for his amazing painting “Head of the River Ranch”; Koeppel’s body of work also earned him the Artists’ Choice Award. “Boot Store” by Carl Bretzke was the Second Place winner while artist Patrick Saunders was the Third Place winner for his work “Oasis.” Jason Sacran’s “First Light on the Concho” was given an Award of Distinction; Jill Basham also earned an Award of Distinction for “Black Jack’s Hills”; John Lasater IV took home the Best Architectural award for “Draping Landscape”; Bill Farnsworth took the Museum Purchase Award for “Keep the Change”; Shelby Keefe won the Spirit of San Angelo Award for her painting “Ted’s Outback”; John Caggiano was the Texas Ranchland Award winner for his painting “John Deere”; and Zufar Bikbov was the winner of the Texas Precious Water Award for “Rising Sun.”

To learn more, visit EnPleinAirTEXAS.

This article was featured in PleinAir Today, a weekly e-newsletter from PleinAir magazine. To start receiving PleinAir Today for free, click here.

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