I spent 11 days in late April through early May at the Augusta Plein Air Art Festival in Augusta, MO. Over 100 plein air artists competed daily, sometimes twice daily for cash purchase awards for the selected daily painting. Last year was my first foray into regional plein air events where I met and became friends with dozens of artists from across the midwest. It is like old, home-week meeting up with artist friends at the various events throughout the season.
It’s more fun when you paint with a buddy!
Patrick Saunders won oodles of awards at Augusta including Best of Show. He is an amazing oil painter poised for the big league. He welcomed my basic questions when I was desperate. He gave me composition and perspective tips when I was having trouble looking down from a hill on a barn in the woods. We also share a past connection to punk music which is another bond unto itself!
I had the good fortune to meet Spencer Meagher at the 2014 Augusta Plein Air Festival the night he won the purchase prize at the two-hour quick paint at Noboleis Vineyard. He won the purchase prize at Noboleis again this year! He is a fabulous watercolor artist who was willing to share his expert advice as we painted together almost daily around Augusta. As a result, my watercolor paintings en plein air are steadily improving. I appreciate Spencer’s friendship and coaching!
I finished the event with a cadre of seven decent paintings and only a handful for the circle file. My odds are improving with the new plein air season.
To my surprise, I took third place in watercolors at the final awards ceremony in Augusta (Spencer took first). It certainly helps to learn from the best!
Even better than winning an award, I sold three paintings!
Please check out the “Paintings – Plein Air” tab to view my latest paintings from the Augusta Plein Air Art Festival.
Next week is the Penn Valley Conservancy Plein Air Fest here in Kansas City. Some of the plein air gang from around the midwest will be coming to town for the event, including Spencer. I can’t wait for the fun (and hopefully more mentoring) to begin. I know I will learn and grow with each new painting. For this and all my plein air friends, I am extremely grateful!