Scenes from Downtown Havana painted en Plein Air

For a third year, the Havana Mainstreet’s Plein Air Painting “Painting in the Shade” event was a resounding success.

The event took place last weekend, May 18-20.

From the Quick Draw to the Gala, Florida painters from across the state reconvened around the town for a contest: an appreciation of art, and a test of their skills.

The term ‘plein-air’ is derived from French for painting ‘in the plain air’ after the manner of impressionists; throughout the town square during the festival, one could beautifully observe a number of contestants in the town belaboring to ingeniously recreate scenes of Havana life.

For Mark Georgiades, a Havana resident, the Festival was one of connection and support.

“I think it is a good opportunity to meet people in the city. I learned a lot about painting – especially painting with other painters,” Basil Blake, also a local Panhandle artist, described similar feelings of community. “I really like this city. Havana is very beautiful.” 

Blake said it is a great time to wander, look around, and draw.

“I have been plein air painting for fifteen years; there isn’t much of a transfer from my pastels to plein-air, as it is simply using pastels outside,” Orit Ruebin, an expert pastel painter, shared. “I love the event, I love the small-town feel, and the interconnectedness that comes with the location. This is my third year of being at the Plein Air Festival, yet I always find new places to paint and even rediscover places anew despite already having seen them. It is even more wonderful to be a highlighted artist, and fun to meet people from previous years and I know I have maintained those artists as friends, again.” 

For the Gala, the beverages and hors d’oeuvres were accompanied by the sweet jazz of the Reese Cloud Quartet. 

The results of the judging, done by retired Professor of Art Julie Bowland are as follows:

Plain Air Winners:

First Place – Shery Whitney, for “Trees on the Bank”

Second Place – Debbie Gaedtke, for “A Dash of Spring”

Third Place – Mark Georgiades, for “Tobacco Barn, Salem Rd.”

Quick Draw Paint Out:

First Place – Jennifer Lange, for “Under the Oaks”

Second Place – Tony Barnham, for “Weezies”

Third Place – Basil Blake, for “Tobacco Museum”


Janelle Murraine – Oaks at Woodberry Farms

D. Arthur McBride – Garden Solitude

Rubén Darío Uribe – Gadsden County News Service

An artist focuses on a tree as she paints during Havana Main Street’s Plein Air
An artist begins painting after sketching her design.
An artist paints outside the Shade Tobacco Museum.
An artist uses his cell phone to take a photograph after painting the railroad tracks behind The
Planter’s Exchange Art Trail Studios/Shoppes.
While some opt for chairs with umbrellas, others keep it simple and sit on a picnic blanket in
the grass while painting.
The railroad tracks that run through Downtown Havana are a popular scene for painters during
Havana Main Street’s Plein Air “Painting in the Shade” event.


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