Plein Air names competition winners

Ken Spencer, first-place winner of the Spring City Plein Air competition, puts brush to canvas in the great outdoors.

SPRING CITY—Spring City Arts hosted the 15th Annual Plein Air Painting Competition and Artist Studio Tour last week. This is one of Utah’s longest running premier plein air painting events. 

Artists painted from Aug. 28 to Sept. 2 in Sanpete County. All of their artwork must be created during the week of the event. Finished artwork was displayed at an art exhibition on Saturday, Sept. 4. 

Chris Anderson, director of the Spring City Arts, said that the number of 105 registered artists was as high as ever. However, a few had emergencies and didn’t make it to the competition, or didn’t compete with paintings they were happy with, so there was a total of 85 artists with work in the show. 

Anderson said that Saturday’s auction was a highlight this year due to the great auctioneer, Braxton Nielsen.  Nielsen was champion bareback rider who suffered a broken back, went through a long rehabilitation and became a calf roper and an auctioneer. His professional auctioneering voice made a big difference and with record crowd attendance and lively bidding.

robert stevens / messenger photo
David Bean, first-place winner of the Spring City Plein Air Thrive125 category, which was limited to paintings depicting structures that existed at Utah’s statehood in 1896.

Over the years, the participants have gotten to know many of the area’s talented artists, and love seeing them each year and observing the amazing art they produce. 

“We are also one of the few major events that is open to all corners,” said Anderson. “So each year we have artists trying out this kind of painting for the first time, and having a chance to mingle with experienced professionals.” 

This year’s artists were competing for prizes in two categories, general and Thrive125.  The Thrive125 winners were selected from artists depicting structures that existed at the time of Utah’s statehood in 1896, or other subject matter relating to Utah’s statehood. 

Winners of the Thrive125 Category are first place David Dean, second Ken Baxter and third Allen Brockbank. 

General Plein Air Winners were first place Ken Spencer, second Kimball Geisler and third Eileen Guernsey Brown.

Ken Spencer’s painting won first-place in the general category of Spring City’s Plein Air competition.