Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Notes from Door County Plein Air Festival. July 2011

"Shapes of Door County" 12x16" oil. Frank Gardner © 2011

I was invited to participate in the Door County Plein Air Festival this July in Wisconsin. It was my first time that I've done one of these events where artists are invited to paint for 4 or 5 days then have an exhibit of their best works painted during the week. You must create all of the artwork from life during the indicated days and within Door County, WI.
The event is hosted by the Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek. It is also part of their biggest fundraiser of the year. The staff and volunteers do an exceptional job of planning and organizing the whole thing. I can't convey how smoothly it is run. They also make it exciting for collectors by having certain events each day where people can go to find at least some of the artists painting. It restricts us a bit during the little time that we have to get solid work completed, but it is really a great way to chat with collectors and that is kind of why we are there.

My friends Colin Page and Marc Hanson were invited back this year and it was great to meet all of the other artists involved as well. The artists are provided lodging with host families. I stayed in a little boat house in Sister Bay with Colin, and therefore spent a lot of the time painting with him. It is always inspirational to hang out with other artists that I admire and we definitely pushed ourselves a little harder that week. Not in a competitive way, but just to take advantage of the time we had to concentrate on painting and nothing else. We painted all day, and almost every night until 11pm at least. One night Colin and I painted, chatted and joked about art and prepared frames for our pieces until about 3:30. It's great to paint so much and talk about all kinds of art stuff. I always work out a few issues and grow a little bit after intense painting with friends like this. There are usually some frustrating times when I seem to wipe off everything I start, but that is all just part of pushing myself to create stronger pieces.

The week winds up with a gala event at the school where each artist chooses their best 4 pieces to hang for the show. Special patrons are allowed to preview the works and purchase at 15% premium above the retail price. Then the gallery is closed for about 20 minutes while the sold works are replaced with more pieces that each artist had in reserve. Then the gallery is re-opened again to the collectors who have purchased tickets for the evening's events and the work is sold at silent auction starting at the original retail price. Remember, this is also a fundraising event for the school and there is no shortage of supporters willing to pay a little extra to get first choice for the paintings they like.

About halfway through the night awards are announced by the invited judge. Here are the results as copied from the newsletter sent out by the Peninsula School. I was extremely honored and humbled and more than a bit surprised when Kathy from the school read my name as the winner of the coveted Artist's Choice Award.

"Brian Sindler, of Northbrook, IL, claimed the Best in Show prize at the 2011 Door County Plein Air Festival, hosted by the Peninsula School of Art, 3900 County Road F in Fish Creek, for his oil painting entitled, "Nocturne, Sister Bay." Sindler's painting was chosen from a field of 41 other artists by internationally-recognized artist and judge, Brian Stewart, of Minneapolis, MN, during the festival's Gala held at the School on Friday, July 22. The four top award winners also received cash in recognition of their works.

Other top prize winners include: First Place, "After Hours" by Colin Page of Camden, ME; Second Place, "The American Dream" by James Richards of Athens, GA and Third Place, "Ice Cream and Shade" by Tom Nachreiner of Elm Grove, WI.

The following artists received Honorable Mention and art supplies for their works: Marc Hanson, of Taylor Falls, MN for "Backyard View;" Stuart Fullerton, of Chicago, IL, for "High Summer;" Joshua Been, of Salida, CO, for "Lake Shore Patterns;" Colin Page for "Wednesday Afternoon in the Park" and Mark Boedges of South Burlington, VT for "The Heather J."

Frank Gardner of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico received the prestigious Artists' Choice Award for the body of artwork he created during the Festival. The award winner is selected by a ballot of the participating festival artists."

There is also a quick paint event on Saturday where each artist has just two hours to complete a finished work. The Featured Artists quickly get their pieces down to the tent for a live auction. There are about 40 other artists who compete for people's choice awards and the chance to be invited back for next years event as a featured artist.

Below are the rest of the my pieces that I completed during the event. Unfortunately, in the rush, I didn't snap an image of the quick paint piece.

"The Blue Ox" 16x12" oil. Frank Gardner © 2011

"Horseshoe Bay Farms" 12x16" oil. Frank Gardner © 2011

"View of Ephraim" 9x12" oil. Frank Gardner © 2011

"Model Boat" 8x10" oil. Frank Gardner © 2011
Private Collection

"Ice Cream Factory at Night" 9x12" oil. Frank Gardner © 2011

"Fish Creek Market Nocturne" Frank Gardner © 2011
Private Collection.

"Old Pick-Up in Door County" 8x10" oil. Frank Gardner © 2011

"Land Cruiser" 9x12" oil. Frank Gardner © 2011

"Sit, Stay" 12x9" oil. Frank Gardner © 2011

"The Red Putter" 12x9" oil. Frank Gardner © 2011


Daniel Corey said...

"I drove all the way to Door county to paint with Frank Gardner and all I got was this T shirt." ha! Great collection of work Frank. Easy to see why you won and they are even better in person.

Kathy Cousart said...

Wonderful post and very much enjoyed reading about the event and seeing all of your artwork. Your paintings are beautiful! I am a mentor student of Jim Richards and was so proud of everyone who was there. Great event and congrats to you!

Frank Gardner said...

Thank you Nancy. I appreciate it.

Dan, you got a T Shirt? Thanks man, you win my vote just for driving all the way out there and painting a 20x24 for the Quick Paint. Hard to get people's choice votes when there are local favorites. Hope they still invite you next year anyway.

Thanks Kathy. Jim had some awesome pieces in the show.

Frank Gardner said...

Oh wait, or was that a 24x30" Dan. Even more impressive.

Judie Stang said...

I will forward this post to my friend who vacations in San Miguel. So glad to meet you at the festival. You're work is awesome. See you next year!

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Judie, It was a pleasure to meet you.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

These all have a wonderful glow. Great sense of light. My personal fave..the nocturne. Awesome!