Paint the Town! RiverArts Holds 8th Annual “Plein Air”


Did you notice the artists around Chestertown this weekend? Painters with easels could be seen in the park, down by the river, along High Street, and throughout the Historic District.

They were among nearly 50 artists from around the Mid-Atlantic region who came to Chestertown over the weekend of April 30 to create images of the town. The occasion was the eighth annual “Paint the Town” event organized by RiverArts of Chestertown.

Instead of hotels or motels, many of them stayed with local artists who put up their out-of-town colleagues for the weekend. But most of the artists’ time was spent on the streets of town, doing plein air (outdoor) painting. They gathered at the RiverArts gallery Saturday evening to hang their paintings.

RiverArts “Paint the Town” April 27-23, 2017

Then starting at 5:3o pm, the public got to see three days’ worth of works by the fifty artists who had captured the varied scenes of Kent County. Prior to opening the “Wet Paint Show and Sale” to the public, the artists voted for their favorites.

Wet Paint Sale – Best in Show, Tara Will, Walnut Point Farm (sponsored by Coldwell Banker Chesapeake)

The “Best in Show,” sponsored by Coldwell Banker Chesapeake, went to Tara Will for “Walnut Point Farm.” She also won “Best Body of Work,” supported by Home Mattress Center.

Best Body of Work, Tara Will (sponsored by Home Mattress Center, owner Herm Bloom)

Second Place for “Best in Show,” sponsored by Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff went to Ray Ewing for “Quiet Reflections” who also won Second Place for “Best Body of Work”. “Honorable Mention” for “Best in Show” for “Morning Sun on the Dock” and “Best Body of Work” went to Anne Gibson Snyder. All were oils that had a painterly style, though the subject matter varied a great deal.

2nd Place – Best Body of Work – Ray Ewing

A Quick Draw contest was held on Sunday morning.  The artists had two hours – 8:30-10:30 am – to paint any local subject.  Then they all lined up their easels in Fountain Park on the sidewalk across from Emmanuel Church.  It was amazing what they had produced in just two hours!  There were depictions of the Chester River bridge, the fountain with its statue of Hebe, Stam Hall, and other local landmarks.  The judge had some hard decisions to make. The blue ribbon went to Ronaldo Dorado of Annapolis.  He said that this was his first time at Chestertown’s Plein Air, although he has participated in several others including those in Annapolis and Easton.

The judge for the Quick Draw competition was Sihnja Whiteley of Chestertown.  Sihnja is originally from South Korea where she studied art in private studios and as a member of a prestigious artists’ club. She continued studying at Washington College. Her work is eclectic, ranging from traditional Oriental painting to abstracts. She has taught classes at the Academy of Art in Easton for the past twenty years and has judged many, many shows. In judging plein air works of art she considers the composition, the artist’s personal expression and innovation, and the capture of light.

A number of the paintings created over the past four days have found homes in Kent County. In all, 28 paintings were sold –  including four sales from the Quick Draw. For those of you who missed the chance to purchase a painting of an iconic Chestertown landmark or scenic view, there is always next year!  See more Paint the Town photos below.

“Quick Draw” winner Ronaldo Dorado with his watercolor of Stam Hall.

First Place in the Quick Draw went to Ronaldo Dorado, Second Place went to Bradford Ross, and Third Place, sponsored by Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff, went to Jane Knighton. A People’s Choice Award, supported by the Peoples Bank, went to Thomas Bucci for his painting, Chester Waterfront. Anne Gibson Snyder and Justin Wytowitz received Honorable Mentions.

Quick Draw



Quick Draw Oil of Chester River Bridge by Jim Rehak of Delaware.

Jane Knighton of Glenwood, MD, member of River Hill Arts. Jane stayed with Nancy and Zane Carter. Watching in the background is Caleb Moore, age 4.

“Sultana” painting by Deborah Cole

Debra Howard of Crisfield, was camping at Tuckahoe with her dog, Bear.  Here she’s painting outside the Imperial Hotel.









There were many who helped make this event so successful. Special thanks to the Chestertown Acme for providing the Artists’ luncheon and the Clay Studio which provided host family gifts.

For more information on Paint the Town, programs, and classes, visit or call RiverArts at 410 778 6300.

Chestertown RiverArts is located at 315 High Street, Suite 106, Chestertown, MD 21620 – (in the breezeway behind Dunkin’ Donuts). Gallery hours are Tuesday – Friday, 11 AM to 4 PM, Saturday 10 AM to 4 PM, Sunday 11 AM to 3 PM, and open on First Fridays until 8 PM.





Letters to Editor

  1. This is a wonderful event, made even better by Chestertown hosts. My hosts were great: Marti and Charley Hawkins.

  2. Ronaldo Dorado says:

    Hello editor thank you for featuring me in. This article . I would like to. Have one copy of this newspaper how do I get one ?

    • Peter Heck says:

      You’re welcome! The Spy was pleased to cover RiverArts “Paint the Town”. We can’t send you a paper copy as the Chestertown Spy does not – at least so far! – have a print edition. However, you can send the link to the article to anyone you like. And please feel free to print a copy on your home printer or at a copy shop. Congratulations on your award. May there be many more!

      Jane Jewell for the Chestertown Spy

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