Art in the Open

"Clonegal" (watercolor on paper)

“I just returned from 10 days of intense painting and fun in Ireland, having the honor of being one of the invited guest artists in the 11th Art in the Open. This international plein air painting event was held in Wexford in Ireland’s Southeast region and has grown into the largest of its kind in Europe.

“Wexford Harbour” (watercolor on paper)

“Together with other guest artists and 200 participants from 14 countries, I painted city scenes, charming villages, castles, harbors, beaches, animals on a farm, and the typical Irish rural landscape, every day, from morning till night. I also taught two workshops.

“The organizers took us by bus to different locations every morning, offering us a really nice mix of subject matter — there was always something for everyone.  After a long day of painting outdoors, some of us still painted at night, participated in the evening programs, or went to a local pub that some of the regular participants called “the office” for Irish food and music.

“Wexford” (watercolor on paper)

“According to Tony Robinson, the organizer of the event, particularly notable in this year’s event were the nocturnes, the screening of “Loving Vincent” with a talk by Sandra Hickey who worked on paintings for the movie, a bonus train trip to Dublin for the Roderic O’Conor exhibition and the paint-out in Merrion Square.  He also said, the event’s partnership with the National Gallery of Ireland (NGI) has been growing for the last couple of years.  As a result, this year, the NGI provided a talk on the exhibition (“Roderic O’Conor: Paris to Pont-Aven) in Wexford and a children’t workshop during the festival.

Stewart White (another U.S. artist), Keiko Tanabe, and Tony Robinson (the event organizer)

“At the end of the festival, there was an exhibition in a local gallery and a farewell dinner at a riverside hotel in Wexford.  The participating artists were given an opportunity to show the best pieces from the painting days for awards and sale.  The total amount given as awards was €5000 in addition to Artists’ Choice, People’s Choice, and Quick Draw awards. I was stunned to find out one of my pieces, Duncannon Beach IV, received a Silver Award (sponsored by PleinAir Magazine) and three out of the four paintings I put in the show sold.

“Duncannon” (watercolor on paper)

“The friendly and hard-working organizers and volunteers took very good care of us artists, and the camaraderie quickly developed among us from painting together and sharing bus rides, meals, and laughter. It’s an experience I know I will cherish for a long time.”

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