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Paint It Orange event features paintings of Orange County landscapes

Artists and viewers admire paintings submitted to the 5th Annual Paint It Orange competition at the Eno Arts Mill in Hillsborough on Nov. 5.

Artists from as far as Connecticut traveled to Hillsborough to display artwork depicting landscapes and landmarks in Orange County for the fifth annual Paint it Orange Plein Air Paint-Out and Wet Paint Sale, which was held from Nov. 3 to Nov. 5.

Three winners were chosen, with the first-place winner earning a $750 prize, the second-place winner earning $500 and the third-place winner earning $250.

The works of art were also made available for purchase during the Wet Paint Sale on the final day of the event. The first-place painting was on sale for $500, the second-place painting for $450 and the third-place painting for $350. 

The winner of the contest was Max Dowdle from Hillsborough, whose painting was titled "Eno Autumn: Cathedral of Fire." In second place was Nerys Levy from Carrboro, whose painting was named "Morgan Glen #1, Carrboro." Third place went to Mateus Costa from Cheltenham, Penn., with his painting "1:15pm Departure from Carrboro."

UNC first-year Mason Chapman participated in the event last week. He primarily creates landscape pieces and wanted to try plein air painting, which involves painting landscapes outdoors rather than in a studio.

“I had never done plein air painting before and I guess I already have an appreciation for the natural world, so I thought it would be a fun experience,” Chapman said. 

James Keul, an artist from Durham who participated in the event, said he has been a part of contests across the state in the past and enjoys the communal aspect of displaying art together.

“It’s great to network with other artists, meet new people, and it’s always fun to have a competition element that ups the stakes a bit,” Keul said.

He said many of his works are large-scale figurative paintings based on environmental themes such as climate change. He also spends time working on plein air painting.

“I care a lot about the environment — it’s connected to plein air painting," Keul said. "I sort of feel like that’s the realm in which I would like to be known amongst my contemporary artists, as someone who’s engaging with contemporary issues."

Katie Ziglar, director of the Ackland Art Museum, was the juror for the paint-out. She was responsible for assessing approximately 150 works of art from participating artists and deciding on first-, second- and third-place pieces.

“Having winners and honorable mentions makes it more interesting for people to come and look and enhance the chances of selling things,” Ziglar said.

Chapman said it is important for students to get involved with the arts on campus.

“I would recommend the UNC Arts Everywhere program,” Chapman said. “There’s also an art studio at Morrison and you can kind of just go there and do whatever you want. There’s a lot of things that you can do to get involved in the arts if you look hard enough."

For those interested in creating art, Kim Craige, an artist from Chapel Hill who participated in the event, encouraged people to express what they feel and to avoid overthinking their work.

“It’s a challenge to be brave enough to show (your work) and say, ‘This is all I’ve got. This is the best I’ve got today, and I’m gonna put it on the wall and let everyone see it,'” Craige said. “Tomorrow may be different, but one thing’s for sure, it won’t be different if I don’t try. So I’ve got to keep making things and seeing what I have inside of me that I can share.”

The artwork from the Paint It Orange Plein Air Paint-Out and Wet Paint Sale event will be on display until Nov. 28 at the Eno Arts Mill Gallery. There will be another People's Choice award of $100, which will be voted on throughout this month.


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