Class of 2020/2021

More than 75 artists from across the United States entered to be part of the Class of 2020, but only thirty were selected. Congratulations to those who will be joining us for the 11th Annual Competition, not taking place June 14-19, 2021.

Natalia Andreeva – Tallahassee, FL

Natalia Andreeva emerged as an artist from the rich and fertile artistic climate of Novosibirsk, in Siberia after graduating from it’s most prestigious art college. During her classical education in the canons of European art she was greatly influenced by eastern philosophy. Consequentially, Natalia’s work is a harmonious marriage between spontaneous expressions and classical realism. Among Natalia’s favorite themes are exquisite landscapes, depicting the subtlety of nature, still life, where vibrant shapes and internal dynamics are shown in contrast to the commonplace subjects, and finally, figures and portraits brimming with humanity, and giving testament to the beauty and harmony of the human condition.

Jill Banks – Fairfax, VA

Jill Banks’ award-winning Impressionist paintings range in subject from portraiture to cityscapes, interiors, animals and still lifes. Jill’s work has earned her signature status in American Women Artists and Women Artists of the West, an Artist to Watch by Southwest Art and Best in Show among 1400+ entries in a BoldBrush competition. She has been juried into many of the country’s top plein air competitions including Telluride where she was the 2018 #1 top seller/quick draw winner and will be returning this July (assuming the event is a go). Under normal circumstances, when not on a painting adventure elsewhere, she may be found at her studio in Great Falls, Virginia. She’s so looking forward to returning to Cumberland for Mountain Maryland Plein Air 2021!

Lon Brauer – Granite City, IL

Lon Brauer is an American artist known for his work in figure and plein air landscape.  Born in 1955 and coming of age in the seventies, he has roots in the abstract expressionist movement.  His work is a mix of the abstract and representational bringing an impressionistic use of paint and materials to create images that challenge the viewer with new perspectives on the landscape genre. Lon shows his work nationally. He presents numerous workshops on painting techniques and alternative methods. He lives and works with his partner, quillwork artist Djuana Tucker, and owns Lon Brauer Studios in Granite City, Illinois.

Thomas Bucci – Washington, D.C.

Thomas BUCCI is an award-winning watercolorist with a Bachelors Degree in Graphic Design and a Masters of Architecture. After 8 years working as an architect, he began working full-time as a printmaker and painter. He is currently focused on watercolor plein air and studio painting. He is a Signature Member of the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society, the Philadelphia Watercolor Society, and an Artist Member of the Salmagundi Club of NY. He is also a member of Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association. For the last two years he has exhibited with a group representing the USA at Fabriano In Acquarello, an annual international watercolor exhibition in Italy.

Amy Collins – Birmingham, AL

Amy P. Collins has worked as a full time artist since1982. She received her BFA at the University of Virginia, followed by a MS in Medical Illustration from the Medical College of Georgia. Amy began her professional career in Birmingham, Alabama, providing illustration services for clients in the healthcare industry. For over 30 years she incorporated her artistic skills into a career as a medical illustrator, but has since concentrated her career on oil painting. Much of Amy’s time is spent painting en plein air. Her paintings encompass a variety of subjects – landscapes, cityscapes, figures, still lifes. Her goal is to paint quickly and expressively in order to capture changing color shifts, scenarios and expressions that she can share with the viewer. Amy believes that growing as an artist is a lifelong process, and she continues to take workshops and paint whenever possible. She also teaches weekly classes and workshops. 

John Eiseman – Hebron, MD

My paintings are surely representational and narrative, but they are not about the pictorial. I use the subject matter-whether it be a farmhouse, tree, cloud-as elements of design in order to capture natural phenomena, and mood of “event.” Painting is not just the celebration of vision but, rather a quest for experience. It is the process of interpreting a fleeting muse. This process is in a constant state of emergency. This is why painting “en plein air” is so attractive to me—change is always in process, the light is fleeting. I hold suspicious a painting that is resolved easily. “Pushing and Pulling” an image, adding and subtracting values, adjusting color is what brings a painting together. I rarely draw on the canvas, preferring to immediately paint—allowing the “drawing” to sculpt itself. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1981 and have been painting, teaching and exhibiting ever since. My work has been accepted into and awarded in many regional and national juried exhibitions including Plein Air Easton, Paint Annapolis, Plein Air New Bern, Paint Snow Hill, Salmagundi Club-my paintings are honored to be in many private and public collections.

Raymond Ewing – Lewes, DE

Raymond Ewing grew up in the scenic mountains of Western Maryland. The landscape of the Mid- Atlantic coast now serves as inspiration for many of his paintings. For the past ten years, Ray has taken his painting outdoors. His interest in painting “en plein air” has coincided with the revival of the movement. He has been juried into prestigious events along the east coast and has earned several awards. Ray has been an art instructor, an active juror and a guest lecturer in the Washington, D.C. area for over thirty years. He has been featured in solo and group shows throughout the Mid-Atlantic region as well as in New England. He has participated in the Department of State Art in Embassies Program and his work in included in private and corporate collections in the U.S. and abroad. He is a member of the Mid Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association, the Maryland Pastel Society, the Baltimore Watercolor Society and the Delaware Watercolor Society.

Kathleen Gray Farthing – Alliance, OH

Gravitating to art at an early age, Kathleen’s formal art education began in high school, and she went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Art from Carnegie Mellon University. For many years, she ran her own graphic design business, but eventually she felt it was time to get back to fine art. She heard about the process of painting landscapes on location, or “en plein air,” One taste of painting outside was all it took for her passion to ignite. Since then, Kathleen was awarded an Artist Residency in the Olympic Peninsula, completed a plein air trip to Cuba, participated in dozens of prestigious group exhibitions and juried plein air painting events, such as the Plein Air Convention and Expo, Finger Lakes Plein Air Competition, Parrsboro International Plein Air Competition, Paint it, Annapolis where she has won some significant awards. Kathleen is a member of the American Impressionist Society, and the Ohio Plein Air Society. When she’s not on the road or out painting on location, Kathleen spends her time with her family in northeast Ohio.

Ray Hassard – Cincinnati, OH

Ray Hassard was born in Freeport NY in 1949. In 1987 he became co‑owner, publisher, and art director of American Record Guide, a bi‑monthly magazine reviewing classical music CDs. He and his husband have lived in Cincinnati, OH since 1985. Ray is a Signature member of the Cincinnati Art Club, National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society (NOAPS), and the Pastel Society of America; MidAmerica Pastel Society has designated him Master Pastelist. He is a charter member of the Ohio Plein Air Society. In 2019 he was named Eminent Pastellist by the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS). Ray has been included in the Taft Art Museum=s program Artists Reaching Classrooms in Cincinnati for over 5 years. He is moderator of  the Signature Critique Group at the Cincinnati Art Club and has been chairperson for the Ohio Plein Air Society annual competition for the past two years. Most recently he painted in Cuba in January 2020 for the second time. For the past 10 years he has participated in many plein air competitions around the country such as Easton MD (5 times), Cumberland MD, San Angelo TX (3 times), Richmond VA, Niagara Falls, ON (2 times), Maui HI, and Eureka Springs AK. He won top awards at San Angelo, Richmond, and New Harmony IN and was award judge at the first Cape Ann Plein Air event. This year Ray is acceptance judge for the Harford County MD plein air event scheduled for October.

Stephen Haynes – Irwin, PA

Stephen Haynes is a self-taught painter currently living in the greater Pittsburgh area. A lifelong artist, Stephen spent his formative school years among the beaches of southern California, and summers in the mountains of West Virginia. This divided time gave him a diverse outlook and an immense love of the outdoors. Showing his work publicly for over 20 years, Haynes has tried his hand at most artforms at one time or another. In his current work, the artist uses vibrant oil colors, mixed on the canvas, to convey light, shadow and form through thick impasto brushwork, evoking movement and abstract qualities. His artistic influences are as plentiful as they are diverse, taking inspiration from old masters, impressionists, illustrators, architects and comic book artists. Stephen graduated with an Associates Degree in visual communications from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 2001. He lives with his wife, their two children and two dogs in a faded blue house with a large garden.

Stephen Henry – Ogden, UT

I am a Texas native, and grew up in the rural environment.  My heritage is that of hard-working ranch and farm families, and therefore this is the connection that I am able to most easily make with my imagery.  I enjoy painting farm and ranch scenes, horses, cows and the like, but I also enjoy painting the outdoors in general.  This is in no small part due to my love affair with the mountains in which I now live: the Rocky Mountains of Northern Utah.  This area is a perfect combination of both rural and alpine environments, and it has developed my imagery to what it is this day!

Patricia Hilton – Cumberland, MD

For many years, Patricia Hilton has enjoyed plein air painting—the challenge of it, and the presence it requires. In an environment where winds quickly emerge and disperse, and patterns and colors expand and contract at a dizzying speed, she endeavors to depict a moment that describes why one might pay attention. She often paints outdoors, yet also enjoys figurative work. “Whatever elements initially strike me become the focus of a painting, as I explore various methods to create textures or colors. I strive to keep my work fresh and lively; to remain present to opportunity; and to engage viewers in creating their own narratives.” Patricia has participated in Mountain Maryland Plein Air, Cumberland, Maryland; and won a third place award in 2018. She is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association and the Pastel Society of America.

Fred Jackson – King of Prussia, PA

As a plein air painter and Landscape Architect, I am most inspired by landscape and the natural world as they energize my focus and accelerate my responses. My quest is to express the freshness and energy of a moment in time. I prefer to work intuitively and improvisational with no predetermined result in mind. The struggle of searching for that elusive balance between observation, perception and design as it keeps me engaged and challenged. Often it is the paintings which I have battled the hardest, destroyed and resurrected that become the most interesting. Paintings which do not make muster provide me with warmth and light in my campfires.

Russell Jewell – Easley, SC

Russell Jewell is an internationally recognized plein air painter with signature memberships in the National Watercolor Society and The Transparent Watercolor Society of America. Jewell’s accomplishments include a doctorate in Art Education with a Fulbright Memorial fund scholarship to Japan.Jewell’s most recent awards include Plein Air Easton 2019 Best Watercolor, 2019 South Carolina Watermedia Society National Exhibition Second Place, 2019 Transparent Watercolor Society Indira Das Memorial Award, 2017 Plein Air Easton Tilghman Island Paint Out Artists’ Choice Award. Russell Jewell’s work was published August, 2019 Watercolor Artist Magazine and a feature article “Freezing the Sun” January 2020 was published in Plein Air Magazine.

Greg Johannesen – Port Republic, MD

Greg was born and raised in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. His formal training is in graphic design and illustration—working as a freelancer for the past 15 years from his home studio. The freedom to be on his own has allowed him to flourish as a plein air artist, using the Chesapeake Bay area as his inspiration. Greg is an award-winning pastel artist holding signature memberships with the Maryland Pastel Society and the Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association, and an associate membership with the Pastel Society of America. He lives in Southern Maryland with his wife, a master public school art teacher, and their two amazingly creative children.

Wyatt LeGrand – Bloomfield, IN

Wyatt LeGrand is partly a painter from Bloomfield, Indiana. He currently works from his hometown studio and teaches grades 7-12 at Bloomfield Jr/Sr High School. While attending the same school as a student, Wyatt was acknowledged by the community for his skills as an artist. After graduating high school in 2005, Wyatt made the short journey to Indiana University, where he attained a degree in visual arts education four years later. Wyatt created his very first painting as a college student in 2008. Shortly thereafter, Wyatt discovered plein air painting, had his first solo exhibition, and found good luck participating in several art competitions. In the summer of 2009, Wyatt returned to his hometown and opened LeGrand Art Studio and Gallery. Since his homecoming, Wyatt has dedicated himself to creating artwork in the place he grew up, sharing experiences with his students and members of the community. In addition to teaching and working from his Bloomfield studio, LeGrand regularly travels to paint on location, including annual plein air excursions to the western states. LeGrand’s work has been regularly exhibited across the country, recognized by the Oil Painters of America, American Impressionist Society, and in September 2016, acknowledged by Southwest Art Magazine in their annual “21 Under 31” feature.

Tami Louco – Morris Plains, NJ

Tami Louco was introduced to plein air painting in high school, painting garages in an alley behind her art teacher’s house in western Pennsylvania. She continued practicing art making at Geneva College and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in both Studio Art and English Literature. While working in many different fields (interior designer, high school English teacher, stay at home mother, designer and project manager of home additions) she began exhibiting her work while living in Massachusetts. After moving back to Pittsburgh, Tami transitioned from being a mural/faux finish painter to painting things which hang (fine art). She works primarily in oil, painting landscapes, portraits and the figure, preferring to paint from life. In recent years Tami has participated in many plein air events, allowing intense focus on and appreciation of unique American landscapes.

Duane Lutsko – Woodstock, MD

Duane Lutsko has a BA in Fine Arts from UCLA. He earned an MFA from Brooklyn College in painting. Lutsko has received numerous grants and fellowships including: a Fulbright Fellowship to Italy, a Residency Grant at the Vermont Studio Center, Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Grant, and a Prince Georges County Council Individual Artists Grant. Lutsko has taught at Maryland Institute College of Art, Open Studies, since 2001 and has also taught at Anne Arundel Community College. Duane was Art Department Chair for 11 years during his 25 years teaching in Baltimore County Public Schools. Duane currently lives in western Baltimore county, in the woods, with his wife Amy and their dog Puck. He is a certified FAA pilot and is dedicated to the agents of Gestalt, psychology, neuroscience, and all things Italian.

Laura Martinez-Bianco – Marlboro, NY

Laura Martinez-Bianco has lived her entire life in the Hudson Valley and has always appreciated and valued the beauty of its landscape. Her paintings are inspired by her surroundings, at home and abroad.  Her work has spanned a variety of medium including pastel, oils, watercolors and printmaking while focusing on capturing the ever changing landscape. As a plein air painter she has studied the landscape and the changes that light and atmosphere play in the images she creates. 

Lynn Mehta – Fairfax, VA

Recognized for loose impressionistic paintings abundant with color and paint, Lynn Mehta is an award-winning artist living in Alexandria, Virginia. An artist since childhood, Mehta grew up along the Southern California coast, earned her B.A. in Art from San Diego State University, and has studied with internationally acclaimed artists in the US and abroad.Mehta holds Signature Membership Status in the Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association and the American Society of Marine Artists. She is a Juried Artist Member of the Salmagundi Club, the Washington Society of Landscape Painters, Oil Painters of America, and is an Associate Member of the American Impressionist Society. Artwork by Mehta can be found internationally in public and private collections, multiple galleries, magazines, and books. 

Craig Reynolds – Gulf Shores, AL

Craig Reynolds was born in Gadsden, Alabama and was taught by his father at an early age to draw and paint. As a young man, Craig learned a deep appreciation for the outdoors, old farms, and barnacle laden harbors with their history told by the well-worn scars and patina earned by years of hard work. His father taught him to use his talents to record these memories. Craig began painting professionally in 1984 while also maintaining his career in the Steel Industry. He began his full-time professional art business in 2005. Craig’s style is representational impressionism leaning towards abstract expressionism at times.

Robin Roberts – Ashland, OH

Painting is my way to be with God and His creation. I want to soak it in, understand it as well as I can, and then capture the special beauty of life as light and shadow fill the scene. I love being outside and interacting with others and of course, painting, which is why I really enjoy plein air painting. Nature never fails to reward and challenge me as an artist with its constantly changing colors, light, and atmosphere. I see every painting as a journey of new opportunity and growth.

J. Stacy Rogers – Lewes, DE

Stacy Rogers is a graduate of Philadelphia College of Art (now The University of the Arts), a member of the Rehoboth Art League and the Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association with gallery representation at the Peninsula Gallery in Lewes, DE and Canal Gallery, in Washington Crossing, PA. In 2010 Rogers established a Bucks County, PA plein air painting group that has grown to fifty members. Rogers, now a Lewes, DE resident, paints competitively in nearly all of the major plein air festivals along the East Coast from Virginia to upstate New York. These are juried events selecting the very best plein air painters from across the country.

Kari Ganoung Ruiz – Interlaken, NY

Kari Ganoung Ruiz was raised at the edge of The Finger Lakes National Forest in Central New York State, which set the stage for her deep connection to the natural landscape. After receiving her BS in Fine Art Painting from Ashland University in Ohio, Kari and her husband Photographer Diego Ruiz opened a picture framing studio and Gallery featuring fine art. An encouraging response to her work prompted more space at the boutique to be used to display paintings, and eventually the move to a much larger location. Due to the increased visibility of the new gallery, the draw on their time became much greater and began to cut into studio hours. At this time, Kari began to focus on plein air work; feeling the need to learn about light and shadow directly from the natural world. In 2014, the couple moved the gallery online in order to allow both of them to travel and move forward with their artistic careers. Kari and Diego now travel the US, capturing the landscape as they experience it. Awards include Best in show Finger Lakes Plein Air Festival in New York 2017, First Place Quick Draw at Lighthouse Plein Air Festival in Florida 2018, and Grand Prize Two Rivers Plein Air Festival in Texas 2019. Kari’s work is held in public and private collections across the United States and Canada, most recently added to the collection of the Bureau of Land Management in Colorado.

Richard Sneary – Kansas City, MO

A resident of Kansas City, Missouri, Richard Sneary started painting as a watercolorist, primarily en plein air in 2011, after 40 years as an Architect, architectural illustrator, and educator. He is a signature member of the American Watercolor Society, National Wa- tercolor Society, and Missouri Watercolor Society, Outdoor Painters Society, and Presi- dent Emeritus of The American Society of Architectural Illustrators. He has been fea- tured in Plein Air Magazine, Watercolor Artist Magazine, The Art of Architectural Illustra- tion, The Art of Architectural Drawing, and many other publications. He is an award winning artist having participated in numerous plein air events and exhibitions across the country.

Richie Vios – Victoria, TX

Born and raised in Cebu City, Philippines, Richie N. Vios hails from an artistic family. Studying architecture, in 1995 he graduated with a bachelor’s architecture degree and faculty member. In 2004, he left the Philippines in hopes of a better future in America. For the next five years, he worked closely as an architectural designer at a local architectural firm in Clearwater, Florida until his family decided to move to again to Baltimore, Maryland. In 2011 Richie returned to the Philippines by himself to share, develop, and construct many of the things he had learned from America. During the next five years there, in his spare time he refined and honed a unique mastery of watercolor painting evident in all of his art to this day. In 2017 Richie and his family moved back down to Victoria, Texas. that’s where he knew he could passionately chase the American dream again not as an architect but a watercolor impressionist and plein air artist. Currently a resident artist in Victoria Art league, he conducts watercolor classes and workshops from Galveston, Houston, Victoria, Rockport, and Corpus Christi

Jill Stefani Wagner – Saline, MI

Whatever she paints, Wagner’s focus is always “the light” and how it affects the landscape or cityscape scene she’s trying to capture. Working in pastel and oil, she approaches her paintings as a sculptor would, carving out nuances of light and shadow.A devoted plein air artist, Jill paints yearly in Europe and U.S. plein air festivals. She has been designated a Master Pastelist in Pastel Society of America and Master Circle in International Association of Pastel Societies and belongs to Oil Painters of America, American Impressionist Society, Degas Pastel Society and Great Lakes Pastel Society. Her work has been published in Pastel Journal, Fine Art Connoisseur and Plein Air Magazine, which recently featured her painting on its cover. She’s loves to teach was Plein Air Convention Faculty in 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020. Jill is represented by four fine art galleries in the mid-west. A graduate of University of Michigan School of Art, Wagner owned an award-winning advertising agency in Ann Arbor, MI before “seeing the light” and becoming a full-time artist.

DP Warner – Meadville, PA

Born in New Haven, Connecticut, “DP” Warner, has since lived in over a dozen states from east to west.  He went to Roanoke College wanting to study music but instead, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in the Visual Arts.  He spent the next decade working in several art galleries and a few years as the resident artist/designer for a large greenhouse, nursery and landscaping company.  During this period, DP maintained a studio, exhibited paintings and played drums in different bands (something he continues to do to this day.)  He spent the next decade working in several art galleries and a few years as the resident artist/designer for a large greenhouse, nursery and landscaping company.  During this period, DP maintained a studio, exhibited paintings and played drums in different bands (something he continues to do to this day.) 

Durre Waseem – Corona, CA

I grew up in a large family that loved to draw and color, with some taking art as a career. My formal art training started when I took Art in college then earned a Masters degree from Punjab university where I taught painting and art history for next seven years and later three at a girls college. It was during my teaching years that I explored myself as an artist with better understanding of seeing and omitting. I enjoy the process of painting in several mediums like oil, water and pastels etc. Like the preferred medium my choice of subject matter also has a wide range. I have always been a plein air painter but now I enjoy studio work as well.

Jeff Williams – Stillwater, OK

Jeff Williams is a retired professor of architecture from Oklahoma. While working on his master’s degree he won numerous major design competitions that provided an opportunity to spend extensive time traveling through Europe allowing him both to experience various cultures and develop his drawing skills. Upon returning to the USA he practiced architecture in Minneapolis, prior to relocating to Oklahoma to begin his teaching career with a focus on design. Williams simultaneously maintained an award winning architectural design consulting practice which included commercial, public and private projects. In 2017 he retired from teaching to pursue two of his passions, watercolor painting and travel. Inspired and encouraged by workshop leaders Tony Van Hasselt, Thomas Schaller and most notably, Joseph Zbukvic, Williams is currently creating paintings both in studio and “en plein air,” where he has won numerous awards in a variety of juried plein air events.