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Paint the Cape En Plein Air event under way

By Staff | Jan 5, 2011

Twenty local and national artists are participating in the second annual Paint the Cape En Plein Air event, which kicked off Wednesday morning.
Artists had the opportunity to paint their plein air piece in various locations in downtown Cape Coral, Rotary Park, Eco Park, Yacht Club Community Park and Beach, the Marina at Cape Harbour and the Resort at Marina Village on Wednesday and Thursday.
After artist Erma Jean Woodis found out that Eco Park was among one of the sites where the participants could paint, she knew she wanted to paint the Iwo Jima statue.
“I am a real American,” she explained as why she wanted to paint the statue. “I just love America. I wanted to paint something that represented that. I like to paint what I believe in and I believe in America.”
Event coordinator Shirley Hales explained that at the end of last year’s event, they asked participants to provide their feedback about that first event, which included what they liked and did not like about it.
Based on the responses, a few things changed for this year’s event, which included three new categories for the awards along with a shortened amount of time for the plein air painting from three to two days.
“They made some really nice changes,” said Cape Coral artist Kat Davis, who also participated in the first event. “The second annual Paint the Cape is surely better.”
Woodis said she enjoys the event because she is testing her skills by putting herself in the elements.
“I like to always push myself and learn,” she said.
In addition to last year being Davis’ first painting competition, it was also her first plein air experience. She said that since she enjoyed the experience so much, she wanted to participate again this year because when painting plein air “you can capture a special moment in time.”
“The light changes and changes, so it makes for a good painting,” Davis said.
Once the plein air event is completed today, artists will have the chance of winning an award in six different categories.
Artists will receive $750 for winning first, $500 for second and $250 for third place. The Best of Cape, People’s Choice and Artist’s Choice will also be awarded.
Davis decided to paint Big John Wednesday after she heard about the award, Best of Cape. She said she wanted to paint Big John because when she thinks of Cape Coral she thinks of that statue.
Big John was first brought to Cape Coral in 1966.
Davis arrived at the Big John plaza Wednesday afternoon and began sketching the statue as she sat directly in front of it. She hoped to have the colors painted on her canvas by the end of the day.
“Big John is the coolest, he has such a nice face,” Davis said while sketching him.
Plein air artists are faced with many challenges when they paint outdoors.
Woodis said one of the biggest challenges she is faced with when painting plein air is the constant change in lighting.
“The shadows change so quickly, you never have the same lighting for more than 10 minutes,” she said.
Some of the challenges Davis said she is faced with while painting in a plein air competition is being completely satisfied with her painting within a certain time frame. She explained that putting her signature on the painting in a days time is surely a challenge because she thinks her artwork is never finished.
Although a deadline to complete a painting is a challenge, Davis said it is also good because you do not have enough time to fuss with the painting.
“I think it comes out better in the end,” she said.
The winners of the various awards will be announced on Jan. 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. during a reception, which will have food donated by Rumrunners Restaurant and musical entertainment by Mariner High School students.
Woodis shared that she is looking forward to the reception on Friday because she can mingle with other artists.
Tickets for the reception are $15 and can be purchased by calling the Cape Coral Community Foundation at (239) 542-5594 or the Harbour View Gallery at (239) 540-5789.
The event will benefit the Cape Coral Community Foundation again this year.
An exhibition and sale will be held at Cape Harbour Pavilion from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 8 and 9. The event is free.
Davis said if her painting of Big John does not sell she will find a place on her own wall to hang him until a permanent home is found for him.