May-June 2011 | ART AL FRESCO!




“Paint Snow Hill” gives regional plein-art painters a chance to shine

Written By: Nick Brandi | Photographer: Stephen Cherry

Bishop’s Stock Fine Art, Craft & Wine started “Paint Snow Hill” in 2004 as a way to introduce the area as a great venue for painters. For the first five years, they held a
juried show of the paintings at the gallery in early May. Three years ago, they moved the annual event to the third weekend in April and modified the program to make it a wet-paint show followed by a sale on Sunday.

“We wanted to directly involve the artists in the sale of their work,” said Ann Coates, owner of Bishop’s Stock, “and to create excitement about paintings ‘just off the easel.’”
This year’s plein-air outing was held April 15 and 16, with sale of paintings held on Sunday, April 17 at the firehouse on Snow Hill’s Green St, just a few doors down from the Bishop’s Stock Gallery. With participating artists from around the Mid-Atlantic region strewn all over the streets, yards, pastures, woods and riverbanks of Snow Hill, the event was a resounding success to say the least — though not completely without its challenges.

“Friday was a beautiful spring day… sun and clouds, not much wind,” said Coates. “Saturday, however, was a different story! It was gray, windy and threatening rain all day. At the show you could easily tell which paintings were painted on Friday and which were done on Saturday. That’s the beauty of plein-air painting. The artists capture not only time and place but atmospheric conditions as well.”

To corroborate Coates’ claim, you need only inspect the recent work of award-winning Mardela Springs-artist John Eiseman, one of the roughly 60 artists to participate in this year’s “Paint Snow Hill” event. One oil painting in particular tells the story.

“I titled this one ‘80% Chance of Rain’ because that’s what it was on Saturday,” said Eiseman, who’s been painting for 52 of his 60 years. “But that’s okay; capturing the mood of a particular scene is a very big part of what I try to do.” Eiseman — who fittingly doubles as a paint salesman — says he’s inspired by nature more than anything and that his biggest artistic influences are French Impressionist Claude Monet and American painters Winslow Homer and Georgie McNeese.

“You know, the world is finally starting to wake up to the fact that America has produced some of the finest impressionist work and artists ever, both then and now,” asserted Eiseman, whose work currently hangs in the offices of the Harrison Group in Ocean City as well as the governor’s mansion in Annapolis. “And I think it’s about time.”

Also on-hand for the event was artist Carole Peirson of Townsend, VA, whose oil painting “Amazing Marsh” won this year’s Artists’ Choice Award. Though Dutch by birth, Peirson says she loves her adopted country.”

“The people here have been just wonderful to me,” said Peirson, who speaks perfectly accentless American English even though she didn’t come to live in the States until the year 2000. “And not just the people; the scenics and landscapes here are just amazingly beautiful and especially inspiring to anyone who considers themselves a plein-air painter.”

Peirson says she derives her inspiration from light, especially sunlight, and that her chief artistic influences include American painters John Singer Sargent and George Inness.
In all, some 180 works of art were on display at the 2011 “Paint Snow Hill,” including some by such esteemed regional artists as Kirk McBride, Lynne Lockhart and Stan Sperlak. The Sunday gathering at the firehouse saw the sale of many fine works of art, whose prices ranged from $70 to $700.

“It’s very gratifying to have people come and discover the beauty of our architecture and landscapes,” Coates said. “This was a first visit for 15 to 20 artists, and they loved the town and the people! I think ‘Paint Snow Hill’ is really helping to put this little town on the arts-and-entertainment map!”

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