This July, 58 of the best Plein Air Artists in the world will descend on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with brushes in hand, ready to paint and compete for thousands of dollars in prizes at the 18th Annual Plein Air Easton Arts Festival and Competition

Join us (and them) as they set up their easels and paint outdoor scenes right where they find inspiration — on roadsides, in cornfields, at water’s edge. Plein air painting is a terrific spectator sport. Not only are you welcome to observe and engage competition artists as they work, you can also experience first-hand the places that inspire such creativity.

Save the dates, use our Insider’s Guide below to plan your trip.

What is plein air?

Artists have always found inspiration here, creating fresh paintings in the open air, interpreting subjects from the iconic to the mundane, and enabling the passerby a deeper experience of place. Now you can find inspiration (and great art for your home) here, too.

Plein air means simply, painting in the open air and refers to a type of outdoor impressionistic painting that became popular in 19th century France. The practice of painting from life quickly took root in America and is central to much of American art history from the Pennsylvania impressionists, the Hudson Valley School to California impressionists.

Plein air painting has seen a resurgence in recent times, in part because of Plein Air EastonSome of the nation’s top plein air artists will use this scenic byway and their paint brushes to tell the story of the Eastern Shore through their art – on routes that lead you to points of interest, from historic sites through acres of farmland to waterfront vistas.

Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll experience at Plein Air Easton in 2022!

Buy Art in One of America’s Best Art Towns

Over the course of Plein Air Easton, hundreds of freshly painted oil, watercolor, and pastel paintings are created that capture the beauty of the moment and of the Eastern Shore. Freshen your walls or expand your fine art collection. Plein Air Easton’s Collectors Party should not be missed, but that is not the only opportunity to take a new painting home. Search the Insider’s Guide for all exhibitions, galleries & sales

Learn From The Best. Art demonstrations, lectures, workshops and spirited conversations about art abound on the streets and an at the Plein Air Easton Headquarters by the best Plein Air artists in America.  Come without a schedule, come without plans and soak in a professional’s ideas and technique in one of our many scheduled demos. 

Taking the Studio Outside. Easton’s Quick Draw Competition is the biggest in the nation, drawing hundreds of artists (yes you can come and paint too) and thousands of visitors watching and buying paintings as they come to life and go on sale in a matter of hours. 

See Talbot County. With events scheduled picturesque Oxford, St. Michaels, and on Tilghman Island, Plein Air Easton’s events and painting opportunities extend far beyond the county seat in Easton. 

Hands on Painting Fun for Young Artists. Plein Air Easton Festival is for everyone and includes weekend make and take art activities built for your kids.  Children even have the opportunity to participate in their own Plein Air Painting Competition to win prizes and sell their artwork at the Plein Air kid’s corner.

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