The historic beauty of St. Augustine was the inspiration for 70 plein air artists from across the country whose works are featured at the St. Augustine Art Association through May 27. Artistic Excellence awards for the juried exhibition “Where Art Meets History” were handed out during the May 4, opening reception, which culminated in a guest appearance by the First Coast Opera.
Elbert Shubert, of Jacksonville, won the $1,000 Best in Show prize for his oil painting, “Wisteria House,” described as “poetic and understated” by the judge, Lily Kuoenen, Jacksonville University Art Professor. The weathered Victorian house on Grenada Street was recently rescued through a community preservation effort. Antwan Ramar, Orlando, earned the First Place award for “Lightner Light,” a sun-saturated landscape of Flagler’s Spanish-inspired turn-of-the-century hotel towers. Roger Bansemer, host of the PBS “Painting and Travel” television series received Second Place for “Riberia Boat Yard,” a large-scale acrylic maritime painting of St. Augustine’s old Shrimp boat harbor. Orit Reuben of Orlando won Third Place for her pastel “Lightner Rooftop,” a courtyard view of the former Alcazar Hotel. Robert Leedy of Jacksonville was given Fourth Place for his watercolor “Villa Zorayda,” the iconic museum designed after the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain.
The “Excellence in Originality” award went to Paul Ladnier, Professor Emeritus of the University of North Florida, Jacksonville, for his oil painting “Bikes in Wait,” and two Honorable Mentions were presented to Gail Beveridge of Jacksonville, and Xi Guo, an internationally acclaimed watercolorist recently chosen for the American Watercolor Society International exhibition.
“The response to these plein air gems has been tremendous, and sales have been brisk,” said Elyse Brady, Executive Director of the St. Augustine Art Association. “Folks who encountered the artists working at their easels during the recent Plein Air Paint Out have flocked to the exhibit to see the finished works and to take home a piece of artistic history.”
The 2nd Annual St. Augustine Plein Air Paint Out was sponsored in part through a grant from the Community Foundation of Northeast Florida and supported by numerous civic and business partners, including the City of St. Augustine, Castillo de San Marcos, Flagler College, Lightner Museum, St. Augustine Lighthouse, Tolomato Cemetery, First Coast Opera and many others.
For more information on the St. Augustine Art Association, visit www.staaa.org. Award-winning artists in featured image (l to r): Antwan Ramar, Xi Guo, Paul Ladnier, Elbert Shubert, Robert Leedy, Orit Reuben, Roger Bansemer (Gail Beveridge not shown).
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