Plein Air Easton Awards are Outpouring of Community Support


Plein Air Easton, the largest and most prestigious plein air festival in the nation, just completed its most successful year since its inception 14 years ago. It is widely recognized that a huge part of that success is a result of strong community support for the event and remarkably diverse partnerships among the event’s producer, the Avalon Foundation, Friends of Plein Air and a myriad of local organizations. This support, rooted in a deep sense of place, has enabled the event to continue to grow and expand year after year.

The week kicked off with a Pre-Competition Paint Out in Tilghman on July 12; Patrick Saunders took home the $1,000 Artists Choice Award, sponsored by Tilghman Watermen’s Museum. The exhibit, display and sale of the day’s works was hosted by Wylder Hotel that same evening.

The following Saturday, competition artists could be found at the party of the summer known as the Meet the Artists Party. Art was celebrated in grand style while artists spent the afternoon painting on the private estate of Dr. Wayne Hockmeyer in Talbot County. Art collectors were escorted throughout the waterfront property to peruse the canvases in progress. The evening culminated in a gourmet farm-to-table dinner and an exhibit and sale of the day’s work.

Paint Oxford was the next event on the schedule and took place on Sunday, July 15. This popular event, which is free and open to the public, hosts the competition artists throughout the day in Oxford and finishes in an exhibit, sale and its own $1,000 Artists’ Choice Award presented by the Oxford Community Center in partnership with the Oxford Business Association. Patrick Lee was the Paint Oxford Artists’ Choice winner. The competition artists handed in their collected works on July 19, when judge Jill Carver set to selecting this year’s roster of winning paintings. For the first time, Plein Air Easton’s Collector’s Party, July 20, was live streamed and will remain available for viewing: As well, the Judge’s Talk, July 22, when Jill Carver explained her choices in depth as well as bestowed the awards for Small Painting Sunday can also be viewed:

The final weekend, July 21 and 22 bustled with excitement in addition to heavy rain during the Quick Draw Competition. The Tidewater Inn saved the day with the use of their Gold Room for the exhibit and sale of well over 150 paintings that were painted just two hours prior.

Tim Bell accepts the award for Grand Prize. Pictured L-R: Jill Carver, Ellen Vatne, Tim Bell, Al Bond

Quick Draw Awards

First Place
Plus an invitation to compete in PAE2019
$1,500 Qiang Huang, “Easton Rain”

Second Place
$750 Georganna Lenssen “Where is James”

Third Place
$500 Debra Huse “Skipjack Bar”

Honorable Mention (1 of 3)
$100 Jay Brooks

Honorable Mention (2 of 3)
$100 Zufar Bikbov “Yellow Umbrella”

Honorable Mention (3 of 3)
$100 Ronaldo Dorado “Avalon Rain”

Plein Air Easton is a juried competition; however, winning First, Second and Third Places, Artists’ Choice, and First Place Quick Draw also comes with the honor of an invitation to the 15th Plein Air Easton competition which is scheduled for July 14-21, 2019.

Donations from Friends of Plein Air Easton support the event while promoting conservation and tourism through the arts. Plein Air Easton is the work of the Avalon Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide diversified arts and educational programs that improve the quality of life in the Mid-Shore region. Support for Plein Air Easton is provided through various corporate, media, and community sponsors, including the Maryland State Arts Council, Talbot County Arts Council, in addition to those listed above. Visit for details, upcoming events, videos and galleries of competition images.

Mark Shasha accept the award for Artists’ Choice. Pictured L-R: Jill Carver, Mark Shasha, Scott Asplundh, Hali Asplundh, Al Bond

Plein Air Easton Awards 2018

Grand Prize: Timothy Dills Memorial Award
Sponsored by Ellen Vatne
Tim Bell
“Buy Boats”

Artists’ Choice
Sponsored by Hali & Scott Asplundh
Mark Shasha
“Bell, Bell, Beam”

2nd Place
Sponsored by the Academy Art Museum
Aimee Erickson
“Sunpennies, Oxford Harbor”

3rd Place
Sponsored by Ben Franklin Crafts Crafts & Framing Center
Zufar Bikbov
“Bon Voyage!”

Life on the Farm
Sponsored by the Tidewater Farm Club & Talbot County Farm Bureau
Suzie Baker
“A Day in the Life”

Best Hospitality
Sponsored by Quality Inn, Easton & Holiday Inn Express, Cambridge owned and managed by JR Management
Ken DeWaard
“Beautiful Morning on the Eastern Shore”

Best Figurative Painting in a Landscape
Sponsored by Margaret Wrightson & David Bellis
Patrick J. Lee
“What I’ve Seen”

Frederick Douglass 200th Birthday
Sponsored by the September First Partners
Tina Bohlman
“Sunday Afternoon”

Best Marine
Sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
Patrick Saunders
“Back on the Choptank”

Best Architectural
Sponsored by the Historical Society of Talbot County
Nancy Tankersley
“King of the Hill”

Best New Artist to Plein Air Easton
Sponsored by Wye Financial Trust
Aimee Erickson
“Sunpennies, Oxford Harbor”

Best Nocturne
Sponsored by Eric Timsak & Leslie Lobell
Tim Kelly
“A Comfortable Night”

Best Watercolor
Sponsored by The Trippe Gallery
Thomas Bucci
“For Clarence”

Best Painting by a Maryland Artist
Sponsored by Kate Quinn
Hiu Lai Chong
“Oxford Lights”

Best Use of Light
Sponsored by Betty Huang at Studio B Gallery
Debra Huse
“After the Squall”

Honorable Mention (1 of 2)
Lon Brauer

Honorable Mention (2 of 2)
Mark Shasha
“Bow, Bell and Beam”

Plein Air Easton is the work of The Avalon Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission  is to foster a strong community on the Eastern Shore by creating accessible, uplifting arts, education, and cultural experiences that appeal to the interests of a diverse population and to ensure the long term viability of the historic Avalon Theatre.. This event is supported by Talbot County Arts Council, various corporate, media, and private donations from Friends of Plein Air Easton, strong community support and sponsorships that have helped make Plein Air Easton the premier plein air art festival in the country. Email us to more about how you can support Plein Air Easton.

Write a Letter to the Editor on this Article

We encourage readers to offer their point of view on this article by submitting the following form. Editing is sometimes necessary and is done at the discretion of the editorial staff.
We're glad you're enjoying The Talbot Spy.

Sign up for the the free email blast to see what's new in the Spy. It's delivered right to your inbox at 3PM sharp.

Sign up here.