The entry jurist and awards judge have been named for the 5th Annual Plein Air–Easton! Competition & Arts Festival, which takes place July 20-26, 2009. Deadline for entries in the national competition, which draws artists from across the country, is March 6, 2009. Competition artists will be announced March 27, 2009.
The jurist is Jean Stern, a recognized authority on California Impressionism. Mr. Stern has extensive experience as an author, curator, lecturer, and teacher. He has been the executive director of the Irvine Museum in Irvine, California since its inception in January, 1993, and has produced a number of traveling exhibitions of plein air and impressionists artwork. He further established a national presence for the museum in the field of California Impressionism through a noteworthy international series of books, exhibitions, articles, video documentaries, and national and international lectures and exhibitions.
Stern is the author of numerous books and articles on California Impressionism, including monographs on important artists such Franz A. Bischoff, Alson S. Clark, Sam Hyde Harris, and Elsie Palmer Payne. Stern has contributed to several books on California art and written essays for numerous books and museum catalogs. Stern and Joan Irvine Smith co-authored California: This Golden Land of Promise (Chapman University Press and the Irvine Museum, 2001), a highly acclaimed history of California, illustrated with hundreds of important historical paintings.
In the another book, Native Grandeur: Preserving California’s Vanishing Landscapes, Stern writes, “When America emerged on the world stage in the mid-nineteenth century, it was with an art tradition that reflected what was paramount to American society: its people and its land. The desire for realistic portrayal of forms has continually been a forceful characteristic of American art.”
During Plein Air–Easton!, Stern brings his expertise about American art to the East Coast. Al Bond, Executive Director of the Avalon Foundation, says, “To have an authority of this caliber as jurist is further evidence that we have established Plein Air–Easton! as a major event in the country.”
Returning in 2009, after serving as the jurist in 2008, is awards judge Brian Stewart (www.stew-art.com ). Stewart is a member of the Classical Realism Society, Oil Painters of America, and California Art Club. He is a Signature Member of Plein-Air Painters of America, an organization he calls “the grand daddy of all plein air groups.”
Stewart received his early training at The Art Center in Los Angeles and later at Atlier LeSuer in Minneapolis, where he learned the classic, academic fundamentals as they were taught in Paris a century ago. He enjoys sharing and passing on these fundamentals through teaching workshops.
Stewart has received many awards for his plein air work, most recently an Art Renewal Center (ARC) International Salon award. A visual raconteur, he’s known and collected for paintings he describes as, “funk, junk and antiquity.” Some of his many fascinating subjects include life and landscapes along the banks of the Mississippi, naive architecture (built purely for function), and trailer parks. His work has been featured in Fine Art Connoisseur, Southwest Art, and The Artist’s Magazine, among others.
A native Californian, Stewart now makes his home in Minnesota, where he can be found playing the banjo when not painting. In the late 1980s, Stewart left a successful career in advertising to become a painter. He says he’s never looked back. “The journey has given me a lifetime of experiences, travels and memories,” he says.
Plein Air–Easton! is presented by Easton Main Street in partnership with the Avalon Foundation and hosted by the Academy Art Museum, which provides an accredited museum venue for the competition exhibit. The Avalon Foundation maintains communications with artists and the general public. Donations from Friends of Plein Air–Easton! support the event while promoting conservation and tourism through the arts and a strong sense of place. For more information, judge’s bios, galleries, itineraries, and artists’ prospectus, visit www.pleinaireaston.com or call 410-822-7297.