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Plein Air Paint: Outdoor art showcased with awards

November 13, 2013
By BOB PETCHER ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Artists from as far as Ecuador were applauded for their creative work in a short time frame at the fourth annual "Paint the Beach...Sandcastles to Shrimpboats" Collectors Preview Gala in the festival tent at Santini Marina Plaza last Friday evening.

Ribbons and prizes were handed out to the top three judged paintings as well as honorable mentions, merit awards and a "Most representative of the beach" special award for three days of work. More than 50 artists set up easels to paint beach views, historic buildings, beach businesses and marine subjects at various spots along Estero Island and San Carlos Island Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The week-long plein air festival, which also held a quick draw event on Saturday, continued to display such paintings and more (Beach Elementary had displayed art) through Sunday.

The Gala for Paint the Beach, which was sponsored by Fort Myers Beach Art Association, Santini Marina Plaza, Fish-Tale Marina, the Greater Fort Myers Beach Friends of the Arts and the Town of Fort Myers Beach, also featured hors d'oeuvres provided by Santini restaurants, live Jazz entertainment and a live auction.

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Neil Walling of Bonita Springs captured first place with 'Reflections.'

"We started this party to promote the Arts on Fort Myers Beach," said Al Durrett. "The Beach Art Association has done such a tremendous job. Out of that we organized the Friends of the Arts. We are trying to create an atmosphere on Fort Myers Beach that maybe wasn't here for a while."

Durrett, co-owner of Fish Tale Marina and manager of the plaza, sponsored "A Seahorse Dream" statue (fundraiser for the Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida) and enlisted Beach school students to paint it. The statue was unveiled Friday evening. Raffles, auctions and donations also went out to worthy causes.

At the Gala, Neil Walling's "Reflections" captured first place, followed by David Belling's "Day Two" in second and Jeannette Chupak's "The Cottages" in third. The awards were judged by John C. Terelak.

Fact Box

Award winners:

1. Neil Walling (Bonita Springs) "Reflections"

2. David Belling (Cape Coral) "Day Two"

3. Jeannette Chupak (Cape Coral) "The Cottages"

- Special award "Most representative of the beach" - Ken Marshall (Westlake, Ohio) "Shadows on the Dunes"

- Merit award: Julie Nusbaum (Fort Myers Beach) "A Hazing Grace"

- Merit award: Michele Buelow (Fort Myers) "Sandy Vista"

- Honorable mentions: Susan Armstrong (Concord, Mass.) "I Love This Tree"; Milly Pereria (Madison, N.H.) "FMB A day in paradise"; Carol Gray (Newark, Del.) "Path to the Beach"; Joanne Shamp (Fort Myers Beach) "Keepin' it Funky on Old San Carlos"; Debbie Summers (Fort Myers Beach) "Beach Floral".

- Quick Draw: 1) Sal Sidner (Miami) "Time Square"; 2) Gail Trent Risner (Naples) "Tropical Glow"; 3) Joan Roberts (Cape Coral) "Cafe".

The Quick Draw competition restricted roughly 35 participating artists to two hours of painting from Times Square to the bay front of Old San Carlos Boulevard. It was sponsored by Edward Jones and judged by local FMBAA members. Sal Sidner's "Time Square" took top honors, while Gail Trent Risner's "Tropical Glow" and Joan Roberts' "Cafe" followed in second and third respectively.

All paintings were for sale at the tent during the festival. For those who picked up a brochure at the Gala, the prices for the paintings were listed and possibly could still be sold by contacting FMBAA at 463-3909.

Michele Buelow, the 2013 Paint the Beach chairperson and FMBAA member, thanked everyone involved to make the festival a success for the fourth year in a row. (Read her letter on page 4 for the complete lineup)

"All this support continues to allow the Fort Myers Beach Art Association to encourage and support the visual arts in the Town of Fort Myers Beach, and we truly thank all who join with us in doing so," she said.



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