If you have never been to the Midwest to experience a summer in Door County, WI., then you are in for a wonderful bounty of beauty and warm hearted hospitality. This was my second trip to Door County Plein Air Invitational and it was both challenging and easier than any other event I have participated in. The culture of the area is pretty laid back with plenty of scenery to last a lifetime of paintings, and good down-to-earth people. I feel like everyone is family when I am there.
The event boasts the "Best Artists", but honestly I just feel pretty special being there even if I was just a vacationer This smoothly run Invitational offers collectors and art appreciators several opportunities to mix and mingle with the artists. An artist is required to sign up for 2 or more of the 4 days of pre-determined painting destinations where art appreciators can observe the work being created. They feature the Opening Welcome dinner gathering of artists, an evening paint out on the marina with Jazz and dessert, the highly anticipated Gala on Friday evening, a Saturday Quick Draw and live auction that is both exciting and exhausting, all wrapped up with an Open Door Celebration presented by the Peninsula School of Arts.
A work day can last up to 20 hours, while some days are slower paced. The longest day I experienced was an early 4 am rise to catch a 5:15 sunrise in Bailies Harbor. The day ended at midnight at the local Bowling Alley with those artists who had enough steam to play. Add onto that the the handicap of a Pacific Time zone schedule, I was pretty spent to compete. Regardless, sleep was a privileged commodity and I slept well.
My experience couldn't run more smoothly without the wonderfully generous hosts and sponsors of the event. I was lucky to be able to return to my hosts' home from last year, Ron and Lois, who were so accommodating, more than I have words to describe.
Here are a few photos from the Invitational.
Welcome Dinner and laughable moment.
Pictured lf to rt: Featured Artists Greg LaRock, Charlie Hunter,
Brenda Boylan (me), and Ked DeWaard.
First out of the gate, "Bea's Barn" 14x14" Oil on Panel
Observers Doug and Angie at the Edgewood Orchard Gallery.
My favorite piece, this tractor reminded me of Grandpa's
tractor rides on my family farm in Oregon.
"Blue Cheese 'Brella's" 12x16" Pastel
My finished pieces and me all dressed up for the Gala.
We get to choose 4 pieces for judging, up to 5 pieces if there is enough room.
Celebrating a wonderful event with Carol StrockWasson and esteemed judge Lori Putnam
The closing shot of the crew plus the awesome Peninsula School of Arts staff.
As competitive as plein air events can be, I just go with the expectation to paint my best, enjoy the camaraderie, and make memories full of new adventures. It is always a joy to be "invited" to a big event, sometimes overwhelming, but Door County Invitational sure does it right.