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Letter to the Editor: Art in the Garden and Plein Aire Competition a Great Success

eville-art-show-By Todd Plough

Darlene Allen has done it again with the help of the Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Charlie Coolidge and the talent of dozens of artists from far and near.

The Art in the Garden tour and the first annual Plein Aire competition were a resounding success. About 400–500 people graced the usually tranquil backyard garden setting of Allen’s home Friday evening for the candlelight preview and Saturday for the main event. The Creator smiled on us with beautiful summer weather and there were even a couple little entrepreneurs selling their classic lemonade on the sidewalk.

The event was organized by Darlene to honor some of the very best in local talent in this invitation-only show, and if you attended, you’ll have noticed that the wares were uncommonly good, in fact exceptional. Not only did Ms. Allen organize  the Art in the Garden event but she also participated with some of her extraordinary photography. Recently, her work was even juried into the prestigious Southern Tier Biennial and will be touring New York State. She may even end up with a solo show if the judges recognize her brilliant eye for photography.

The Plein Aire event showcased artists who paint on the spot and what is in front of them. Plein Aire is a French term for “ open air or full air” and the look of the works is often quite a bit more spontaneous than normal studio painting or drawings.

At Ms. Allen’s garden, there were actually four competitors working during the course of Saturday’s painting session. All of the artists were required to submit two completed artworks between Friday and Sunday morning so the pressure was on. There were some really wonderful and surprising gems that turned up Sunday morning.

The front lawn of the 1887 Building hosted the event, where artists set up their easels for a People’s Choice judging competition and the masses cast their ballots. When the votes were tallied by some great volunteers, Ms. Allen grabbed the microphone and shared the results.

Third Place and Second Place favorite both went to Mikel Wintermantel’s paintings pictured here, “Country Road” and “Four.” The People’s Choice Winner for the event went to Todd Plough for his oil painting, “ The Water Garden.” The subject for the painting is located in the backyard of Darlene Allen’s amazing space — funny how things come full circle.

Many thanks to everyone who volunteered with the events and all the great artists who were the core of this celebration of life.

Watch out for the dates of Darlene’s next 2013 Fall Fest events and another Plein Aire competition. Artists for the next Plein Aire event are required to bring an additional painter, the suggestion of one of the participants so this is going to get big fast.

Look for both these events at Fall Fest 2013 and keep up to date on all the happenings at www.ellicottvilleny.com. For more of Todd Plough’s works, you can visit www.americanimpressionism.net, and to see Mikel Wintermantel’s talents, go to www.mikelwintermantel.com.

If you are impressed, be aware that both Mikel and Todd teach art classes for those who have the spirit to learn.  Maybe you’ll be the next People’s Choice!

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