Tribute to the Plein Air Artists


The Eureka Springs Plein Air Art Festival has come to a close. Before clearing the premises, I want to convey the remarks that I tried to share in public last night when I was introduced before the gathering of artists and guests. What follows is not exactly what came out of my mouth, but is what was in my heart and I tried to express publicly:

The Romantic painter Eugene Delacroix said the best thing a painter could do is cleanse the eye. There are two ways to do that: change the venue, or look at the work of other painters. This past week I had the privilege of doing both. I strolled the streets of Eureka Springs, a city I have come to love intimately, and I got to look over the shoulders of painters at their easels, watching each one create a world through his or her own eyes, and translate it to a two-dimensional surface. Judges usually do not like the work of judging, because of the pressure of separating out a few winners from a large, magnificent body of work. But I am happy to do it, because I am given two hours alone with the art to breathe the sweetness of its atmosphere. “Eureka” is Greek for discovery, and I am confident that all of you this week have experienced epiphany. I am glad to know that your renewed vision will continue to put the art out there, and make our good world even better. For that I thank you.

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