Cape Ann Plein Air Closes Out Its 7th Annual Festival and Sale


For the last week nearly 40 juried artists from across the country have been painting the corners of Cape Ann and on Saturday the group unveiled more than 185 paintings as part of the Cape Ann Plein Air (CAPA) finale.

Stephen Griffin took first place with his painting, “Schooners in the Harbor.”  In second place was “The Tide Will Turn,” a painting of the marshes behind Black Beach in Manchester by Pennsylvania artist Beth Bathe.  Third place was “Dancing on Bass Rocks,” by Illinois painter Lon Brauer.  Winning paintings celebrated many areas of Rockport, Gloucester, Essex, and Manchester and focused on traditional land and seascape scenes of plein air painting as well as non-traditional ones, such as indoor scenes, restaurant life, people at work and play.  Styles in paintings also ranged from realism to highly abstract or gestural techniques in both watercolor and oil.

More than $120,000 in sales also came in, which benefits both the artists themselves who make a living from their artwork, as well as the Cape Ann Plein Air organization itself, a nonprofit that organizes the competition.  This year, CAPA donated proceeds to Cape Ann Art Haven, a Gloucester based non-profit started in 2012 to bring art classes, workshops and art therapy to local children.

The paintings were judged by Tim Newton, a noted art collector and expert of the “en plein air” style of painting.  He’d flown in from Cody, Wyoming.  Newton hosted a talk the day after the CAPA gala to review the winning paintings and his process and judging standard for each, which competed in categories that included “Best Architectural Painting,” “Best Americana,” “Best Seascape,” “Best Nocturne,” “Edward Hopper Style,” among others.  In all, more than $20,000 in prize money was awarded in the competition, making it the fifth largest regional plein air competition in the US.

Art Haven’s Traci Thayne Corbett spoke compellingly Saturday to gala guests about her organization’s history and the value that CAPA funds brings to kids who would never otherwise be exposed to making art.

The CAPA artists spent the week doing their thing, while CAPA organized events that encouraged the public to see up close what they do and how they do it.   There were daily artists' demonstrations, a fast-paced “Quick Draw” event that brought an additional 100 painters for a two-hour paint-out on Columbus Day at Maritime Gloucester and “Palate to Palette” dinners at local restaurants like Shea’s in Essex and 35 Beach in Manchester.  There was also a “Meet the Artists” night at the Beauport Hotel, a nocturne painting night on Bearskin Neck in Rockport showcasing CAPA artists creating paintings in the enchanting evening hours, and more.  

Onto next year!