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Plein Mountain Air Winners Announced by Blue Ridge ArtSpace

First Place winner Cathy Futral with guest artist and judge Bob Nulf.

The Blue Ridge ArtSpace has dedicated its Open Door Gallery to a new venture in the world of Plein Air Painting and is showing off the results. On Thursday, July 11, a collection of ten artists gathered to have their blank painting surfaces stamped and dated and to discuss and explore upcoming opportunities for painting in the great outdoors. Fortunately, the weather help as they gathered in the Daniel Boone Gardens the next morning for a demonstration of plein air techniques given by noted Charlotte Plein Air artist, Bob Nulf.

Second Place winner Lauren Waterworth with guest artist and judge Bob Nulf.

The the painters gathered their supplies and departed, each pursing their own plans for setting up their easels around the High Country to spend the day painting. Some like Cathy Futral and Laurel Waterworth dodged pedestrians in downtown Boone as they painted King Street, the Jones House, and the infamous Doc Watson statue at the corner of King Street and Depot Street. Others traveled out into nature itself with Colette Shomaker painting her secret fishing hole on the Linville River, Earl Davis painting the peaceful scenery surrounding Bass Lake, Alice Zaharian painting views of Beech Mountain and John Audish choosing to paint a log cabin and an idyllic foggy mountain scene, while Jennifer Garonzik painted her hayfield and chicken barn. Susan Payne found a village café to paint, as well as a mountain scene with large billowing clouds while Ginger Bryant chose to focus on the sky entirely and filled her canvas with clouds.

Third Place winner Colette Shomaker with guest artist and judge Bob Nulf.

The painters had to work very quickly, not only because the lighting was continually changing on their subject, but also because they had to return their finished works of art to the Blue Ridge ArtSpace at mid-day on Saturday. The still-wet paintings were carefully hung on the walls of the Open Door Gallery and judged by guest artist, Bob Nulf.

Winning artists were announced at the 2nd Saturday Celebration of the Arts, an event filled with celebrating new exhibits in four galleries, five artists demonstrations which included everything from authors signing books to painting demonstrations to live music. First Place went to Cathy Futral for her painting of the Jones House. Lauren Waterworth took Second Place for her painting, “Downtown on Friday Afternoon.” Third Place went to Colette Shomaker for “Linville River Trout Hole.” Honorable Mention was awarded to Kay Herndon for “Cabin Life, Not for Me.” Gift Certificates donated by Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff were awarded to the winning artist.

Kay Herndon received an honorable mention for her painting, “Cabin Life, Not for Me.”

At this same event, two more special announcements were made. The Watauga County Arts Council drew prizes in their Membership Drive Campaign. Marsha Holmes was the first winner and selected the prize of Four Tickets to Tweetsie Railroad. Jennifer Quint’s name was drawn next, and she selected the prize of A Day of Golfing at Blowing Rock Country Club for Four. Tonya Bottomly then won a gift certificate for Brunch for Four at Blowing Rock Country Club.

But the big announcement of the evening was the news that the Watauga County Arts Council will now be using the name Blue Ridge ArtSpace for all their programming and events. A brand new sign painted by art teacher, Katherine Marx, with the Blue Ridge ArtStory logo was then unveiled by members of the Board of Directors.

If you would like to check out the winning artwork from the Plein Art exhibit, shop in the Gift Shop, or enjoy the other galleries of the Blue Ridge ArtSpace you may do so during the hours of Wednesday-Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at their location at 337 Shadowline Drive in Boone. Just look for “the building with the little blue people” on the porch.