By Rachel Ravina, Staff Writer
(Sept. 19, 2019) Painting is a spectator sport in Berlin this week, especially considering that 41 artists will be competing in the town’s 10th annual plein air event, which began Wednesday.
Hosted by the Worcester County Arts Council, the outdoor affair will run through Saturday, Sept. 21.
Artists are permitted to paint within five miles of the Worcester County Arts Council facility on Jefferson Street in Berlin. Assateague Island, Ayers Creek and the Rackliffe House were among the more rural locations from which painters could choose from.
Plein air, which translates to outdoors, refers to a painting style in 19th century France, where artists would surround themselves in nature and paint what they saw. Anna Mullis, executive director of the Worcester County Arts Council, said the organization brought the plein air movement to Berlin a decade ago after hearing of the event’s success in Ocean City in Snow Hill.
Mullis also said local and regional artists generally participate. Additionally, Mullis said 16 students from Snow Hill High School and several others from Pocomoke High School would also take part in the competition.
She added that the artists were required to register before the event. “Some artists prefer to focus on landscape,” Mullis said in an August interview. “Some artists paint on location where there is a lot going on.”
Spectators may observe the artists as they create in their element.
“A lot of visitors stop by and ask questions,” Mullis said. “Some of them have never seen anything like that.”
Artists will also have the opportunity to participate in a quick draw session on Sept. 20. They have two hours to turn in a framed painting.
“The way they [the artists’] capture the beauty of Berlin is fascinating,” Mullis said.
Paintings are due on Saturday, Sept. 21. Mullis added that while contestants can create as many paintings as desired, only two would be judged.
The event will culminate with a “Wet Paint” exhibition from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Awards will be presented at noon. Those unable to attend the exhibit can view the paintings on display throughout October in the art gallery on the second floor of the Berlin branch of the Worcester County Library on Harrison Avenue.
For more information, call the organization at 410-641-0809 or visit worcestercountyartscouncil.org.