The Brigham City Museum of Art & History is pleased to announce the winners of its 2022 Plein Air Competition, and extend an invitation to attend the Awards Ceremony on Saturday, February 12 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM to congratulate the winners and celebrate all who entered. The ceremony will be live streamed to the Museum’s Facebook Page. Sean Wallis’ Along the Trail to White Pine took first place, followed by Steve Stauffer’s Eddington’s Homes in second place, and Linda Christensen’s Kaleidoscope Rails taking third place. Merit awards were given to Jane Finalyson’s Christmas Sunset, Brad Williams’ Red Barn and Kraig Jardine’s Snow Clouds Darken Box Elder Mountains. Allen Brockbank, widely renowned and well awarded plein air artist, served as jurist.
A wintertime setting adds another layer of adventure to the spirit of plein air painting and this year’s artists painted on some of the coldest and snowiest days so far this winter. Their entries celebrate Utah in a season rarely captured through other plein air competitions. “We love the wintertime plein air, and I think this is the strongest one yet. Many of our artists enjoy the challenge, but many also tell us they would prefer a warmer challenge,” laughed Alana Blumenthal, Museum Director. “So we will rotate. The next few years will be early spring, then back to winter for a few years, to make sure everyone can participate as we celebrate the varied beauty of Utah’s landscapes”
Allen Brockbank has won many plein air competitions, is collected throughout the country, and was recently listed as one of Plein Air Magazine’s 10 Rising Artists. His enthusiasm for plein air painting informed how he reviewed this year’s entries. “The work in this show is as varied as the wonderful winter palette,” said Brockbank. “Though the theme and subject matter can be very similar, it never ceases to surprise me to see such variety when viewing the landscape through other artists’ eyes. Some show a familiarity and intimate knowledge brought on by experienced observation. Some show a struggle in capturing the amazing, dimensional beauty of light and landscape and trying to represent that on a two-dimensional surface with non-illuminated pigments. Some show an emotional response to winter’s touch and some show a primitive reaction to what they see. However, the artist chooses to express themselves, we all benefit from seeing what they see as evidence on the canvas”.
Sean Wallis trained under his father, renowned impressionist Kent R. Wallis, and teaches art at The Center for Creativity, Innovation and Discovery in Cache Valley. Painted at the light of dawn, Wallis fought against the wind and snow to capture his first place award winning Along the Trail to White Pine is another stellar expression of his love for Logan Canyon. “First, I’m so honored to have won first prize this year”, said Wallis. “It is my third year entering the competition and every year I’m amazed at the incredible pieces of art that are created. Plein air is my passion, so to be recognized for it humbles me and will only feed that passion. Often, my scene looks very different when I’m done with the painting, but if I put in the aspects that are important to what I’m trying to create early, then the scene can change, but it won’t affect my statement. For example, on this piece, the sunlight was fleeting. So I painted in the shadow areas and waited for the sun to hit where I wanted. When it did, I painted as fast as I could to record the light.” The Museum will purchase this award-winning piece to add to its permanent collection.
Plein Air competitions are community challenges for artists of any level to celebrate the beauty and wonder of the natural world. The spirit of plein air requires artists to paint their entries entirely “out in the open air” and have only a brief time in which to paint, frame, and submit their entries. The competition was open to artists of all ages, backgrounds, skills, and experience.
The Brigham City Museum of Art & History is northern Utah’s cultural hub, offering temporary exhibitions on art (contemporary and historical) and history. The museum’s mission is to collect, preserve, and interpret art and materials that tell stories of human experiences and of the land.
The museum is a department of Brigham City Corporation and receives added support from the Box Elder Museum Foundation. It is located at 24 North 300 West. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Guided tours are available by appointment. Admission is free. Visit brighamcitymuseum.org for more information.