Sunday, 15 June 2014

Paint Annapolis USA 2014

 Update.. I was very happy to return home with two awards from this great event. Third place in both the "Nocturne", and "Quick-draw" events :) 


                                      Paint Annapolis 2014

                  Presented by the Maryland Federation of Art
                                         June 23-29

I am  honored to be one of thirty artists taking part in Paint Annapolis 2014.Working very hard  in developing my work, I made the decision early in the year to be open to any opportunity that arises, which will help me develop as an artist. As a result, when I saw at the last minute, a call for entries to the Paint Annapolis Event, I applied.

My brother JimWexford Injury Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre ) always says work hard and be prepared ,as you never know when an opportunity will arise. He coached me in my sporting years, and is a great coach also in life. It helps also, that he can fix my back when it "screams" after along  painting spree ;)

Often (and I'm sure it's the case for many artists) we get caught up in the process of making, and are happiest painting, creating, and developing work. However it is very easy to get lost in the process, and we can  forget the benefits to be had, by stepping beyond our environs. New experiences, help us to develop as human beings and as artists. 

Annapolis is the Capitol of Maryland with a population of  about 36,000 in comparisons to Wexfords' 19,000.Perhaps one of our biggest connections is Commodore John Barry , founder of The American Navy. 
Annapolis is also a Maritime City, the United States Naval Academy was founded in 1845 on the site of Fort Severnand now occupies an area of land reclaimed from the Severn River next to the Chesapeake Bay.

 I was barely aware of Annapolis, and Wexford's connection to it, until the organizers of Art In The Open , (Wexford's Outdoor painting Festival), encouraged the relationship between the two . As a result, over the years A.I.O has had artists from Annapolis, and further afield participating in the event, Lynn Mehta, Ardis and David Diaz, who has made the journey for five consecutive years, and has been a great ambassador  for the city.

"Paint Annapolis is a four-day juried plein air painting competition held June 23-29, 2014, that brings to Annapolis plein air painters from across the United States. For 12 years it has been a premier event, bringing artists and patrons of the arts together to share in the spirit of the energy and vibrancy of outdoor painting. The event is designed to explore in paint the special colonial architecture, marine atmosphere and overall energy of Maryland’s capital city - home to families, business, colleges, and maritime activities."

It  promises to be a great experience, painting inside and outside the environs of the city, with a quick draw and Nocturne Event also in the schedule.

Preparing for a week of serious painting, I enjoy the pressure that competitions bring ,as I feel being challenged, always helps to progress my skill level. At the same time I never regard it as a win or loose situation. Much like in my sporting life in the past, competition is only ever with yourself, in a drive to keep improving...and achievement is in the eye of the beholder. Long term your own judgement is what matters, and a continuous movement forward with honesty to our own creative vision and response.

Look who's coming to Paint Annapolis 2014

Paint Annapolis Website

My Website :

My Painting of eighty year old Gerd Hinrichsen , during Plein Air berlin - brandenburg Event 2014

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Plein Air berlin-brandenburg May 26th - June 2nd 2014 @ Altthymus haus

Every so often in life, a series of events happen, that make you think, that something, more than co-incidence has occurred.This is the lasting impression I left Berlin-Schönefeld Airport, with, last Monday evening.
I met Marko Fenske during Art In the Open Festival 2013. Traveling from Berlin he was one of a small number of German participants to take part in AIO, and he certainly left an impression. Wearing his heart on his sleeve, I think I can say with confidence that he endeared himself to all who met him.

In January 2014 after talking about the possibility of such an event, "Plein Air berlin-brandenburg",  was formed, and artists were invited to take part. With the help of Plein Eire  our Irish Plein Air Networking site, a group discussion began, and  dates, times and schedules were arranged. Finally by around March a group of 5 Irish Participants had their tickets booked for the Event.

Leaving at 3am on the morning of  May 26th, our conversation in the car went from nervous excitement to an unsettling fear of the unknown. With only some idea of what to expect, (as artists, our imaginations can get the better of us) a list of "what could happen" was slowly being added to, in our day long travels....all in good humor.

Our group was greeted at the airport by Nikoli Kraneis and Lynne Hynnes, who accompanied us on the remainder of our journey. Arriving at  Altthymus Haus by around 5pm, we  met Angela Voigt, who was to be our "Mother" for the week, and feed us so wonderfully.

I could write 40 pages on our experiences, but I feel, some things live stronger in memory. The wonderful welcome we received, the beautiful unspoiled surroundings, the deep history within the area, the great connection each of the participants had with each other and a series of impromptu events, made it a very special, fun filled and productive week, on many levels.

I can't help but think how lucky, artists, particularly Plein Air Artists are, to have that deep shared appreciation for their environment. It's a common appreciation, which connects us the world over.

No amount of imaginings could have prepared us for our actual experience. We are so often sheltered from the natural rhythms of life, and desensitized to our environment, that what is natural, becomes unnatural.....the unnatural becomes norm..

What was more than co-incidence, was the open hearts each brought to the week, a shared love of our craft, a work ethic, and lightheartedness, respect for all and a common will for a successful week. Testimony to the respect we had for the work Marko, and Nikoli did, in preparing the Event, and making us feel so welcome

Special thanks to :  Marko Fenske, Nikoli Kraneis,, Angela Voigt, Lydia Fenske, Ingrid and Gerd, Felix  Hinrichsen, Manfred Saborowski, and Gerhard Max Meyer.
And fellow Participants :

Plein Air berlin-brandenburg
Ravensbruck memorial Site
Facebook - Pleinair berlin-brandenburg

My three exhibition paintings which earned me Second Place in the Event :

An Impromptu Portrait Session with Gerd Ingrid and Felix Hinrichsen ,owners of Altthymus Haus

My Portrait of Gerd

Marko's Artpiece - The Alttymus Haus "Home Oak" - illuminated

“Not all those who wander are lost.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

“Not all those who wander are lost.” 
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

I walked the Camino a number of years ago(an 800 km walk /pilgrimage across the top of Spain from St Jean Piet de Port, in southern France, to Santiago de Compestella in West of Spain), and the experience  left a lasting  impact on me. I can't say I'm religious, but there is a deep experience to be had in taking "time out " to reflect on life and gain new experiences and perspectives.
Time moves so fast,.much faster than any previous generation has witnessed, and combined with the advancement of technology, events positive and negative, personal to global are being presented on a daily basis to our doorstep.

“There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.” 
― Mahatma Gandhi

I believe Plein Air Painting can be  a type of meditation. An opportunity to exist in the now, and to appreciate our present. A scene can be noted with a quick glance, but by stopping, observing, and using each brushstroke to express the feeling that moment gives you, is a very special thing. As artists by opening our hearts to an experience, I believe we also open that experience to the viewers of our work.

“The degree of slowness is directionally proportional to the intensity of memory. The degree of speed is directionally proportional to the intensity of forgetting.” 
― Milan KunderaSlowness

Tonight I begin priming new boards in preparation for the next journey, excited by the prospect, that each will be filled with  new observations , experiences and memories from life....