Show Preview | Plein Air Southwest

Rockport, TX

Rockport Center for the Arts, May 20-June 9

Fran Ellisor, Independence Bound, oil, 14 x 18.

Fran Ellisor, Independence Bound, oil, 14 x 18.

This story was featured in the April 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art May 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

When the Outdoor Painters Society began the search for a new venue to host its Plein Air Southwest Painting Competition and Show, it looked to cities on the coast of Texas. And the event found a home at the Rockport Center for the Arts in Rockport, TX. However, when Hurricane Harvey devastated the town last summer, the status of the venue and the show fell into uncertain terms. The Rockport Center for the Arts had been damaged and many of the areas for paint-outs had been demolished. “But they did not cancel,” says Tina Bohlman, president of the Outdoor Painters Society. “That community may be bruised and knocked around, but they are not down.”

As the Rockport community continues to rebuild, the event brings the opportunity for both celebration and rehabilitation. This year’s event is a departure from the salon-style exhibition format of previous years. Instead, it opens with a six-day paint-out beginning on Monday, May 21, when artists start their work en plein air along the coastline. Artists paint within a set geographical range that includes the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Goose Island State Park, and parts of the nearby town of Port Aransas. Popular subjects include crowded harbors filled with fishing boats and leisure vessels, as well as rural landscapes and farming areas. Artists use a variety of mediums including oils, acrylics, pastels, and watercolors.

This year the show boasts a multitude of works from 53 artists who hail from across the United States and Canada. They include Jason Sacran, Joe Anna Arnett, Beth Bathe, Ted Clemens, Kaye Franklin, and R. Gregory Summers, among others. While each artist may produce a large number of paintings during the event, they submit just two pieces to the competition. Landscape painter Joshua Been is the judge of awards. “The awards we give and the caliber of artists we feature help the show stand shoulder to shoulder with the other top shows in the nation,” Bohlman says.

Artists also participate in a Quick Paint on Saturday, May 26, where attendees and local artists can paint along with them around the marina near the arts center. These paintings are included in the main exhibition, which opens Saturday night with an artists’ reception and awards ceremony beginning at 6 p.m. Because of the limited space in the arts center, participating artists are encouraged to show their other pieces from the paint-out at Windway Studio Gallery, a co-op operated by local artists just across the street from the arts center.

“I feel strongly that we made the right decision not to cancel,” Bohlman says. “We’re going to hold this event not only to showcase our group and its talent, but also to shine a light on the Rockport Center for the Arts and the community.” The exhibition remains on display through June 9, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the venue’s reconstruction. —Mackenzie McCreary

contact information
www.outdoorpainterssociety.com

This story was featured in the April 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art May 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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