Artists ready to Paint the Town

Record Observer - - Arts & Entertainment -

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.chester­town­river­ 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.

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