I’m writing this as I look out above the Gloucester harbor from the large windows of the Drift Cafe. The view before me is one I painted last week at the 3rd Annual Cape Ann Plein Air event. I caught a glimpse of this harbor scene one morning as I was driving by on my way to another painting location. A lot of moisture still hung in the air and infused the scene with atmosphere and bright early morning sunlight. It was an ‘aha’ moment and I jumped out of my car and set up my gear as quickly as I could.

The work came easily, as the paint seemed to glide off the brush. All painters live for moments like this and are all too aware that these moments are far and few between. It’s a combination of feeling greatly inspired by the subject and being mentally prepared for the painting session.

The painting titled ‘Good Morning Gloucester’ 10x12, was awarded the ‘Working Waterfront’ ribbon by juror Don Demers at the Saturday night gala. I feel honored to win this award among my peers who are some of the very best painters in the country.

This annual event is in its third year and is fast becoming a top plein air event. The paintings that were done during the six days by the other 39 juried artists were just amazing. As one of the oldest artist colonies in America and still very much a place filled with working harbors and stunningly beautiful scenery everywhere, Cape Ann is a win win for an event such as this. The dedication by the organizers of the event in making the artists’ time here special along with the camaraderie of all the artists makes for another win win situation. Forty painters are essentially competing against each other for prizes and yet there isn’t one bit of a competitive feel among the artists. We all just want to paint our best and are inspired and motivated throughout the week by the endless array of subject matter and also by each other.

It's also not hard to wander and paint throughout Cape Ann and feel the presence of the past Cape Ann greats. Emile Gruppe, Aldro Hibbard, Anthony Thieme, Carl Peters, Edward Potthast, John Sloan, Edward Hopper, Harry Vincent and Jonas Lie still have a voice here. The list of past greats that lived and worked here could go on and on. Their legacies and the timelessness of their work, will forever be an inspiration to artists everywhere.

Robert Henri summed up the camaraderie felt between artists in his book ‘The Art Spirit’ when he said; and I’m paraphrasing a bit here. “Through art mysterious bonds of understanding and of knowledge are established among artists. They are the bonds of a great brotherhood and sisterhood. Those who are a part of it know each other and time and space cannot separate them. The brotherhood and sisterhood is powerful. It has many members. They are of all places and of all times. It goes steadily on. It is the evolution of man. Let the surface destroy itself, the brotherhood and sisterhood will start it again. For in all cases, no matter how strong the surface institutions become, no matter what laws may be laid down, what patches may be made, all change that is real is due to the brotherhood/sisterhood.

A week before the Cape Ann event, Pam was busy painting in a five day plein air event in Quechee Vermont for the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS). She was awarded 1st place in the Quick Draw part of this event.This award, plus my award at Cape Ann, literally made the month of October a win-win for us :)