2019 Plein Air artist winners announced

PHILIPPI — After an early spring Art Stroll that broke 10-year attendance records, Main Street of Philippi is happy to announce the winner of this year’s Plein Air Project.

Taking top honors from among the four entries was Philippi artist Sarah Ferguson. Ferguson has painted for most of her life and has shared her joy of capturing life on canvas with numerous students. Her entry into the Plein Air Project showed downtown Philippi on a rainy day as she saw it from the south yard of the Barbour County Courthouse.

In her winning painting, viewers see rain puddles on the road and sidewalk and a passing car with windshield wipers clearing off its front window.

The anonymous judge who selected Ferguson’s painting as the year’s winning entry noted the painting “has a calming atmospheric perspective and extreme accuracy.” As the winner of the Project, Ferguson will have her painting spotlighted on the front of next year’s rack card advertising the 2020 Art Stroll. She also received a gift card to an area art store.

Gracie Bowen, one of Ferguson’s students, was named the “People’s Choice” winner for this year’s Plein Air Project. Bowen won this distinction from a penny vote cast by viewers who saw all the paintings exhibited in Philippi’s three banks over a three-week period of time. Bowen’s painting, a series of four small scenes from downtown Philippi. For her work of art, Bowen won a gift card to an area art stroll.

Area art strollers had been requesting a repeat of the Plein Air Project after the highly successful initial event two years ago. “En Plein Air” is a French expression meaning “in the open air” and refers to the act of painting outdoors with the artist’s subject in full view. The artist reproduces the actual visual conditions seen at the time of painting. Philippi’s artist entries all showed a self-selected area in downtown Philippi between sun rise and sun set on the day of the Art Stroll.

Philippi Main Street always welcomes volunteers to join in its efforts to bring business to downtown Philippi. Anyone interested in wanting to help with the work of Main Street should contact its director, Tammy Stemple at 304-457-3700.