PIQUA — Piqua Arts Council’s Plein Air event as part of the Piqua Arts and Ale Festival on Sept. 21 drew on artists from three states. With artists registered from Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, the competition is one of the best plein air competitions in the state.
What is a plein air competition? En plein air is French for outdoors and is the act of painting outdoors. This method contrasts with studio painting or academic rules that might create predetermined looks.
“One of the biggest challenges of painting en plein air vs studio painting is that the light changes,” said Piqua Arts Council Executive Director Jordan Knepper. “This means that the artist has to paint fast to block in the shapes and get the values where they want them before the sunlight changes and what they’re looking at for reference is completely different than when they started. Studio paintings don’t have this issue because the artist is working from a sketch or a photograph.”
The Piqua Arts and Ale Festival has a substantial prize pool for artists, which is one of the reasons they attract nearly 30 artists every year for the eight-hour competition. The first place winner will get $1000, second place will earn $500, third place will earn $300,and there will be two honorable mentions of $100 each.
This year, award winning artist Dan Knepper was the juror for the competition. Dan has won nearly every local and regional award, and has been a finalist for many major national competitions including the Daniel Smith Watercolor Competition and the Richeson 75. His work is available through galleries across the United States and resides in private collections throughout the United States.
Winners for the Plein Air Competition were: honorable mention Justin Collamore from Columbus for his painting of the Main Street Bridge, honorable mention Nancy Thompson from Milford Center with her painting of Swift Run Lake, Beth Ramsey of Glenford took home third place with her painting of Main Street Bridge, second place went to Rajat Shanbag from Greensburg, Ky. for his painting of Forest Hill Cemetary, and first place went to Ann Grimaldi of Cincinnati for her painting of George’s Dairy Barn.
“We’re extremely happy with the involvement for our Plein Air Competition,” continued Knepper. “We had a wide range of styles and even had several kids participate in the event. Overall we consider it a great success.”
Knepper wanted to thank the sponsors of the Piqua Arts and Ale Festival that made it possible to have a great competition as part of it. City of Piqua, Winans Coffee and Chocolates, Ohio Arts Council, Premier Health, Hartzell Industries and the Miami County Visitors and Convention Bureau were all substantial contributors in making the event a successful one.
More photographs from the Piqua Arts and Ale Festival can be found on the Piqua Arts Council’s Facebook Page.