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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Paint Berlin back for ninth annual ‘plein air’ event

Alison Leigh Menke of Silver Spring works at the canvas during the 2016 Paint Berlin competition. Menke won second place during the 2017 Paint Berlin contest, as well as first place in the “Artists Paint OC” event held last month.

By Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(Sept. 20, 2018) People in and around the Berlin area are likely to see dozens of plein air painters working in various outdoor locales this weekend, as the ninth annual Paint Berlin event returns.

While registration is full, work produced during the four-day event will be on display during a free public art reception at the Worcester County Arts Council building on 6 Jefferson Street on Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

An awards presentation is scheduled for noon, and people attending the reception will have a chance to meet many of the artists and purchase work, much of it literally fresh from the easel.

Arts Council Executive Director Anna Mullis, during an August interview, said the event had become popular among regional plein air painters, with many returning year after year.

Painting “en plein air,” which roughly translates to “in the open air,” refers to a 19th-century style of painting outdoors popularized by French impressionists.

Paint Berlin participants in recent years have produced work in a variety of styles, from the traditional impressionist approach, to realism, and even contemporary abstract painting.

Artists in the competition are permitted to paint anywhere within a five-mile radius of the arts council building. The area was in recent years expanded to also include Assateague Island, Ayers Creek and St. Martin’s Church. For the first time this year, painters are allowed to work in Ocean Pines as well.

“I think the artists really appreciated [the expanded area], since many of them like to be on the water,” Mullis said. “This is such a wonderful time of the year, when you actually enjoy being outside in September.”

Awards for the competition are $1,000 for first place, $500 for second place, $250 for third place and $100 for honorable mention, artist’s choice, board of director’s choice and the Maryland Legislator’s Award.

Bradley Hudson, University of Maryland Eastern Shore professor and coordinator of sequential arts, will judge the competition.

Additionally, a quick-draw contest will be held for the first time on Friday, Sept. 21 from 9-11 a.m.

“There is a specific area for the artist to paint, so they will be given an area to focus on and it only will take two hours to complete the panting,” Mullis said. “They can use any medium they choose.”

Local artist Doris Glovier will judge the quick draw and the winner will take home $100.

Mullis thanked sponsors the Town of Berlin and the Joan W. Jenkins Foundation.

For more information, call 410-641-0809 or visit