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2nd Annual Paint Laurel Plein Air
More than 25 regional artists to participate in Sussex County’s only plein air painting competition –
Laurel, DE: Laurel, Delaware will be host to the 2nd Annual Paint Laurel Plein Air on Saturday, May 20, 2023 in conjunction with a One Laurel, One Day community celebration. En plein air, a French phrase meaning “in open air,” describes the process of painting a landscape outdoors. Plein air painting can be traced back to Impressionist artists such as Monet, Renoir, and Pissaro – painting outdoors and capturing fleeting moments of light, color, atmosphere, and the mood of a scene, rather than detailed representations. Artists working in oil, acrylic, pastel or watercolor will be setting up their easels in Laurel’s parks, along its streets and throughout the beautiful surrounding farms and natural areas to capture the essence of a spring day in western Sussex County. A number of award-winning landscape artists from throughout the region have registered to participate.
This fun, informal painting event in the morning will be followed by an opportunity for artists, collectors and other visitors to view and purchase the finished pieces during a public art walk and “wet paint sale” starting at 11:30 a.m. in Janosik Park. However, if weather is inclement, artists who still decide to paint will be exhibiting their work in the Mary Wootten Carpenter Community Room at the Laurel Public Library. Last year, more than $3,000 in framed artwork was sold. There is no entrance fee for collectors and other patrons who wish to visit the event.
Tammy Kearney, an artist and one of the founding members of Nanticoke River Arts Council’s Gallery 107 in Seaford, DE, is excited by the opportunity to again participate in Paint Laurel. Kearney said, “Having an event like Paint Laurel demonstrates the growing interest in fine art in western Sussex County. We have a very talented community of artists who truly do some exceptional work. I thought the first-ever Paint Laurel was well-organized and a terrific success and I can’t wait to find my scene to paint on May 20!”
Paint Laurel Plein Air features a total of $1,500 in artist awards representing five distinct categories. Judging is done by a select group of community stakeholders who have a special relationship with each respective award:
1. One Laurel Award ($400 for the painting that best portrays Laurel’s community pride/spirit)
2. Grand Old Laurel Award ($400 for the painting that best depicts Laurel’s rich history and tradition)
3. Great Things Come Naturally Award ($400 for the painting that best features Laurel’s nature-based assets)
4. Artist’s Choice Award ($150)
5. People’s Choice Award ($150)
One unique dynamic of Paint Laurel that is not typical of most plein air events is the involvement of local students. Dana Paternoster, an art teacher in the Laurel School District, not only paints in the event, but she also coordinates participation of those students. According to Paternoster, “Last year, I believe we had just over 10 high school aged artists exhibit their artwork right alongside the established adult artists. For most of the students, this was their first experience painting “en plein air.” While it can be very challenging, they all loved this opportunity to demonstrate their creativity and they produced some really solid artwork. I know a number of students who painted last year that are eager to join the fun again on May 20th!”
Laurel’s annual WaterColors community painting celebration will be held simultaneously on May 20th in Janosik Park. This unique event offers an opportunity for art-lovers of all ages to pick up a brush to help paint one of Laurel’s iconic watermelon harvest buses. To date, ten buses have been painted under the artistic talents and guidance of local artist John Donato.
Paint Laurel Plein Air is co-organized and funded in part by the University of Delaware’s Sustainable Communities Initiative in collaboration with the Laurel Redevelopment Corporation.
Artists wishing to participate in Paint Laurel have until May 13th to register online. Information about Paint Laurel Plein Air, an artist prospectus and an EventBrite registration link for artists can be accessed at www.reimaginelaurel.net/ # # #