2017 Plein Air Festival, Marquette, MI

On June 30, I took a day off of my “real” job so I could go outside and paint.

The Fresh Coast Plein Air Festival was part of the Art Week in Marquette, MI.

I haven’t painted outside in a long time, so I was a little nervous. Days before, I anxiously watched the weather forecasts. It looked like it was going to be cloudy. Blah. I’d rather it be rainy, or foggy, than just plain cloudy. Fog can be interesting, leading to some mystic toned landscapes. If it was raining, I could capture some cool reflections in a street scene. But cloudy? Boring, gray, flat.

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I decided to go to “the cove”, a slice through some high rocks at Presque Isle, a small peninsula and city park in Marquette. Once I got there, I saw some the clouds opening and letting a ribbon of sky show through. So I scampered up to the top of a cliff. The clouds were moving fast, so I snapped a quick reference photo and got to work. I was even surprised by a bit of sunshine, bedazzling the water!

above the cove plein air 2017.jpg

After about an hour and a half, I had completed this 9”w X12”h painting, which I call simple “Above the Cove”

After my first painting was done, I drove home, and ran some errands with my wife. Later in the afternoon, she joined me for my second painting, and took some great photos while I worked.

I had already decided that if it was going to be cloudy, I’d go to the harbor, where a bunch of boats were docked. They had colorful hulls that would be a nice “pop” on this gray day.



boats of color, plein aire 2017.jpg

And after a couple of hours, I’d finished this 9X12 painting, “Color in the Harbor”

I even made the local news! A TV6 reporter stopped by. My camera-shy wife ran away, but I kept painting.

Here’s the link to the news article with video!


At 4:00, all the art had to be in the Iron Bay restaurant for judging, followed by a reception.

I didn’t win any awards, and I’m OK with that. The winners deserved their awards. Awards don’t pay the bills, unless you win the $1000 grand prize! I had fun, I created two great paintings, I met people, and I took part in a real cool community event.

I was sure to let passers by that I was going to be at Art on the Rocks on July 30!


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