Rain threatened but didn’t deter the Sunflower Days Plein Air painting event in Clarksville on Saturday and Sunday, July 25-26.
“We were very concerned but the weather broke,” said event organizer Jack Bishop. “It’s nice to see people in town. Clarksville needs everything it can get.”
One of 20 painters participating was first-place winner Jeff Holman of Woodbridge, Va. Holman was born in Bowling Green and was in the area taking care of a family member. He decided to paint the sunflowers behind the Clarksville sign at the riverfront.
“I drive a truck for a living and this keeps me sane,” Holman said.
Holman won $500 in the event co-sponsored by the Clarksville Community Chamber of Commerce and the Raintree Arts Council.
Pat Kerns of Hannibal won $150 for second place. Beb Myers of Ewing won $75 for third place. Ethan Helkey of Louisiana won $75 for winning the students’ category.
Honorable mentions went to Carol Oldani of Louisiana, Daniel Fishback of Florissant, Cindy Logan of Louisiana and Mike Seat of Columbia.
Corrine Williams of Fulton did not win any prizes, but she was thoroughly enjoying herself while painting a river scene under the shelter of the gazebo in Riverfront Park. Williams was attracted to the Clarksville event by a brochure advertising it that she saw last spring at a plein aire outdoor painting event in her town.
“I’m learning to paint quickly because of the changes in lighting and clouds,” she said.
Patrick Henning of St. Louis was also painting a river scene from the gazebo.
The former illustrator said he was about to retire from the marketing and communication business.
“I’m hoping to make this pay as a second income but it’s really about getting back to painting and drawing,” Henning said. “Plein Aire is like playing live music, it’s in real time and like a musician, if you hit a bad note, you can’t go back.
Leslie McCullough-Payne of Fulton was also painting a view of the river looking south.
She used acrylic paint with medium extender and water and blended it on canvass that she laid flat.
“I spread it with a pallet knife, I’m trying to not use my brush,” she said. “I only use red, white, blue and yellow but that doesn’t limit me because I mix them in different layers and get different colors,” of the spectrum.
McCullough-Payne started Plein Aire painting just this year after many years writing and illustrating children’s books.
“It pulls your brain in a different way than the studio work does and one thing builds on another,” she said.
“This is a beautiful town,” McCullough-Payne said. “I love old river towns, the smells and the breezes.”