Artists ready to Paint the Town
CHESTERTOWN — If you love art and enjoy watching the creative process unfold, if you enjoy spending time in Chestertown and the surrounding Kent County countr yside and if you love being outdoors in the spring, then be sure to come to RiverArts’ Seventh Annual Paint the Town, a four-day pleinair festival scheduled from April 28 through May 1.
Artists will paint the local scenery for three days, then make their paintings available to the public at the Wet Paint Reception and Sale from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at the RiverArts gallery, 315 High St.
On Sunday, there is a two-hour quick draw; the resultant paintings are then shown in Fountain Park from 11 a.m. to noon. These works are also for sale and the public gets to vote for the “People’s Choice Award.” In addition, Mary Pritchard, founder of Paint the Town and award-winning pastel artist, will judge these paintings for first-, second- and third-place awards.
The 50 slots allotted for the 2016 Paint the Town weekend filled quickly. Almost all the artists are from out of town, from Washington D.C. to New York City, and many are new this year. The artists enjoy coming here and their hosts love having them.
Alison Menke, who won “Best in Show” last year, will be returning for the third time. She considers plein air painting challenging. “You have to paint quickly to capture moving light. I love the outdoors and find the spontaneity of something catching my eye very inspiring. I seldom know what I’m going to paint until I see it.”
Ray Ewing, who won “Best Body of Work” last year, is also returning. Ewing enjoys painting in Chestertown because it of fers a wide variety of places to paint within a comfortable walking or driving area. “Fields and farms are on every turn in the road. Nautical views, both open water and quiet lagoons, make for great compositions. Boat yards, train tracks, downtown and side streets add to the painting menu.”
The public also enjoys the plein-air event. Members of the community love going through town and seeing the easels set up on the sidewalks or out in the fields, capturing different views of Kent County as depicted by each artist. Local enthusiasts enjoy seeing how the artists look at Chestertown with a fresh eye, seeing light they see every day in a fresh way.
Visitors may want to remain in Fountain Park on May 1. Just after the Quick Draw results are announced, the Tenth Annual Taste of the Town will open at noon and run until 3 p.m. In addition to a broad range of dishes to sample, there will be local beers and wines. In the demo booth, chefs will create dishes from a mystery basket of local foods.
To learn more about Paint the Town, go to www.chestertownriverarts.org or call 410-778-6300.
A recent Jen Wagner work in progress at Queen Anne’s County Arts Council.
Alison Leigh Menke of Silver Spring paints a scene along High Street on the first day of Paint the Town 2015.