WindMark Beach, Fla. - The rural stretch of Florida known as “The Forgotten Coast,” will be celebrating 10 years of documenting the natural resources, the culture and the history through a process called plein air painting, or painting in the moment in the open air, this coming May 1-11th, 2015.
Twenty-one invited artists will travel from as far as Australia to participate in the internationally recognized event.
Two artists have participated in all 10 years of the event, Charles Dickinson of St. Augustine and Mary Erickson of North Carolina. Together with returning Winter Park artist, Larry Moore, the three will reflect on the event founder’s original vision in a presentation titled, Remembering Richard’s Vision, in Presentation Hall at 51 Good Morning Street in WindMark Village Center from 1-3pm on May 3rd.
Eight year event veterans, Lori Putnam from Tennessee, Tracey Frugoli from Illinois, and James Hempel from Wisconsin, will return as long time favorites. A master of color, Putnam will present a hands on exercise, titled The Color Palette, at the Mexico Beach Welcome Center, 102 Canal Parkway, Mexico Beach, from 4-6 pm (Eastern) on May 7th. Known for their nocturne painting, Frugoli and Hempel will showcase their night painting passions at the Full Moon Paint outs. Frugoli will be in Apalachicola at Riverfront Park and Hempel at the Cape San Blas Lighthouse in Port St. Joe, both from 8-10 pm on Monday, May 4th.
James Richards from Georgia and Luke Buck from Indiana will be returning for their 7th year. Richards holds the record as a four time Artists’ Choice Award winner which he will discuss on Sunday morning May 10th in Presentation Hall. Buck will lead a discussion titled Exploring Watercolor, at Rio Carrabelle, 102 St. James in Carrabelle from 4-6 pm on May 5th.
Four artists are returning for their sixth year, Greg Barnes from North Carolina, Ken DeWaard from Wisconsin, Morgan Samuel Price from Altamonte Springs, and Hodges Soileau from Venice. Barnes will demonstrate his pastel expertise at Lynn’s Quality Oysters on Sunday May 3rd, beginning at 2pm, and for Art in the Afternoon starting at noon in the courtyard at WindMark Village Center. DeWaard will team with artist Greg LaRock for a Dueling Demos presentation at 9am in Riverfront Park, Apalachicola. Price has served as the juror for the Florida’s Finest en Plein Air exhibition and will present a Lunch and Learn series with Mary Erickson titled, Documenting a Painting’s Pedigree, for the Plein Air Cafe, 51 Good Morning Street, WindMark Village Center, on May 7th from 1-2 pm. Soileau has volunteered to juror the Quickdraw exhibition which will hang on the second floor of the Apalachicola Center for History, Culture and Art beginning May 2nd.
Pastelist Nancie King Mertz and oil painter Gene Costanza will both be participating for their fourth year. Costanza was the winner of the first Artist Choice Award in 2008 and will discuss how he transferred the discipline he learned in law enforcement to his career as a plein air artist at a presentation at Salinas Park on May 4th, beginning at 4pm. Mertz will showcase her pastel talents in demonstrations on May 3rd at Plein Church, a blessing of the easels, at Riverfront Park, from 9-11 am and with Barnes at Lynn’s Quality Oysters at 2pm that afternoon.
The third year will “be a charm” for artist Shelby Keefe from Wisconsin and Greg LaRock from California. Keefe will present a Lunch and Learn session titled Art in Motion, combining music, movement, and artistic expertise in one entertaining presentation at the Plein Air Cafe in WindMark Village Center at 11 am on May 5th. LaRock will join DeWaard for the Dueling Demo on May 8th in Riverfront Park, Apalachicola.
David Boyd Jr. from Georgia and Leon Holmes from Australia will return for their second year co-presenting Quickdraw Quandaries, a practical discussion balancing the difficulties and the benefits of the two hour challenge, at the Apalachicola Center for History, Culture and Art, on May 1st from 1-2 pm.
Three first time Forgotten Coast artists have been invited for 2015, Michele Byrne from Pennsylvania, Mark Fehlman from California, and Charlie Hunter from Vermont. Byrne will present a Lunch and Learn Session titled The Art of Conversation, Michele Byrne discussing the benefits and the process of capturing figures in the plein air composition at the Plein Air Cafe in Presentation Hall, WindMark Village Center, on May 8th at 12 noon. Fehlman will present Inspired Architecture, about architecture in the plein air process at Shimmering Sands Realty, 123 East Gulf Beach Drive on St. George Island from 4-6 pm. Hunter will demonstrate the process of encaustics and plein air work at a Lunch and Learn presentation in the courtyard at WindMark Village Center from 11-1pm on May 4th.
Dawn Whitelaw from Tennessee and Hiu Lai Chong from Maryland are featured as Plein Air Portrait artists for the anniversary celebration. Collectors can schedule to have a custom plein air portrait completed by one of these accomplished figurative and portrait painters. Their work can be seen in the Plein Air Marketplace. Portrait sessions are reserved on the event website.
Six of Florida’s outstanding plein air talents are recognized as the Florida’s Finest en Plein Air Ambassadors: Natalia Andreeva from Tallahassee, Bill Farnsworth from Venice, Katie Dobson Cundiff from Bradenton, Mary Garrish from Merritt Island, Cynthia Edmonds from Winter Park, and Mitch Kolbe from Palm Harbor. Their work is showcased in the Florida’s Finest en Plein Air exhibition at the Apalachicola Center for History, Culture and Art. As a special feature of this year’s event, first time painters can register online for a session at one of the six Painting Stations scheduled throughout the 10 day event. For a modest fee of $25, aspiring artists can spend two hours with a professional instructor and compete their own plein air painting. All supplies are included thanks to Blick/Utrecht Art Materials.
Traveling from Maine for his fourth year to support the event, Donald Demers will serve as the Master Artist for the Plein Air Academy. Demers, will lead a group of professional artists in a mentorship initiative aimed to enhance the growth of seasoned plein air artists. Demers will engage participants for three mornings of mentorship, four afternoons of field painting, a customized individual development strategy, and a private consultation.
Jean Stern, accompanied by his wife Linda, will join the event from California where Stern is the Executive Director of the Irvine Museum. A noted art historian and expert on the plein air movement, Stern will be highlighted in five special presentations. He will be featured at a book signing, Collecting the Plein Air Landscape, where a special selection of Irvine Museum publications will be available for purchase on Wednesday, May 6th at Shimmering Sands Realty starting at 6:00 pm. On Thursday, May 7th, Stern will present a lecture focusing on 100 years of plein air history in Presentation Hall in WindMark Village starting at 7:30pm. Stern will moderate the Art as a Window artists’ roundtable discussion on May 8th at 2pm, also in Presentation Hall. On Saturday, May 9th, Stern will be available in the Wetroom beginning at 11am to discuss the qualities of the paintings produced during the week, and again at the Collector’s Gala and Artists’ Choice award presentation.
Joshua Rose, editor of American Art Collector magazine will travel from Arizona to be the honored Judge for the Quickdraw Competition on Saturday morning, May 2 in Riverfront Park. The judging will begin at noon and winners will be announced around 1 pm. After the winners are announced, Rose will present The Savy Collector, a discussion with advice and guidance on selecting work from upcoming new artists. Later that evening, Rose will deliver the keynote address at the Florida’s Finest en Plein Air and Quickdraw Opening Reception from 6-8pm at the Apalachicola Center for History, Culture and Art.
Special guests will include Krystal Allen from California representing Plein Air Magazine which is generously sponsoring the Plein Air Marketplace and Violeta DeLa Serna from Miami who is representing Fine Art Connoisseur, the featured sponsor of the Collector’s Forum. DeLa Serna will present a lunch and Learn presentation titled Building Your Art Collection With Your Heart and Your Head at the Plein Air Cafe’ in Presentation Hall from 12-1 pm on May 7th.
Guest artist Molly Schmid from Tallahassee will provide a demonstration titled Painting Alla Prima on May 7th from 9-11 am in the courtyard at WindMark Village Center, as well as a Lunch and Learn Session, Discovering the Inner Artist, on May 9th in the Plein Air Cafe at 12 noon.
Fine art brushmaker, Symi Jackson, will travel from Great Britain to represent Rosemary and Company’s Fine Art Brushes. Jackson will open each day of the Marketplace with a brush making and usage demonstration at 11am. Then she will be available in the Marketplace for brush sales until 5 pm.
Plein air artist and product manager Scott Gellatly will travel from Washington State to represent Gamblin Artist Oils. Gellatly will be a guest artist at Student Art Day on St. George Island where Gamblin has generously sponsored the youth painting event by providing paint kits to each student. He will also provide painting demonstrations at the Marketplace at 3pm on Monday, May 4th, Tuesday May 5th and Friday May 8th,
Utrecht resident artist and brand manager, Joseph Gyurcsak from New Jersey will be on hand representing Blick/Utrecht Art Materials who has generously sponsored the Painting Stations for 2015. Gyurcsak will hold painting demonstrations in the courtyard at WindMark Village Center on Tuesday May 5th at 9am, on Thursday, May 7th at 2 pm and on Saturday May 9th at 2pm.
Hosting these artists and guest speakers is possible because of the communities’ gracious home hosts, area businesses, and the generous support of the Duke Energy Foundation.