Millender Park’s Quickdraw taps the turpentine

 Leon Holmes

Invited plein air artist Leon Holmes took first place at the Quickdraw.

Published: Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 10:39 AM.

Eastpoint’s Millender Park was the scenic ground zero for both budding and seasoned painters Saturday, as the Forgotten Coast’s Great Plein Air Paint-Out held its Quickdraw event.

Once the horn blew at 10 a.m., 70 competitors, 21 of them invited participants from among the visiting plein air artists, busied themselves with capturing everything from the gnarled stumps that line the waterfront to the stately trees that grace the park.

Two hours later on the sunny and dry morning, the horn sounded again, and the painters placed their easels in a circle in the center of the park.

Judge Robert Stenstream, who owns an Ocala gallery specializing in 19th and 20th century American and European art, then slowly circled the drying works to make his choices for First Place Overall, Best Emerging Artist and three Honorable Mentions.

Winning $50 each for being among the Honorable Mentions were three of the invited artists: Lori Putnam, from Charlotte, Tennessee, Luke Buck, from Nineveh, Indiana and Greg LaRock, from Newport Beach, California.

Receiving $75 as Best Emerging Artist, selected from among the ranks of the artists who are not part of the plein air paint-out, was Natalia Andreeva, from Tallahassee, who painted the band that performed under the pavilion, “Up Close and In Person,” featuring KT and Mexico Joe. Andreeva was a participant in the 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Forgotten Coast Great Plein Air Paint-Outs.

Taking home First Place Overall, and $100, was invited artist Leon Holmes, originally from Perth Australia, and now living in Munich, Germany. “It has a very painterly quality to it, with good color harmonies,” said Stenstream. “It sort of pops out.”

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