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Plein air festival brings buzz of activity to Parrsboro

Susan Paterson of Dartmouth was one of 35 artists taking part in the second annual Parrsboro International Plein Air Festival on June 14-17. She was found painting this scene in Fox River on Friday morning.
Susan Paterson of Dartmouth was one of 35 artists taking part in the second annual Parrsboro International Plein Air Festival on June 14-17. She was found painting this scene in Fox River on Friday morning. - Andrew Wagstaff

Thirty-five artists visit from across continent

PARRSBORO, N.S. – Thirty-five artists spent the past weekend here, putting on canvas some of the many local landscapes during the second annual Parrsboro International Plein Air Festival.

Many of the artists travel to these festivals all around the continent, while Susan Paterson of Dartmouth has one festival to her credit – Parrsboro.

“This is the only one I’ve done, and I did it last year too,” said Paterson, who was painting a scene at the Fox River salt marsh on Friday morning.

“I enjoyed last year, and the camaraderie of meeting all the other artists too,” she added. “That’s kind of the best part of it.”

Paterson was able to complete a couple of paintings on Thursday, despite some challenging wet weather, and was enjoying sunshine and more favourable conditions on Saturday.

She was on her way to Cape d’Or when the Fox River location caught her eye.

“I like the distance there, of this river leading up into the whole position,” she said. “The position of the sun makes a difference too. Here there are nice darks on one side, then lights on this side, and more darks in here. So, I’m hoping it doesn’t change too much before I finish.”

She spent Friday painting in her truck, while others did their best to work in the rain. One had a minivan, and worked underneath the opened hatch in the back.

Many artists arrived on Wednesday evening, and painted right through to Sunday, with visitors coming in from around the immediate area, places such as Moncton, Sackville and Tatamagouche, and from further regions such as Cape Breton, Halifax and the Annapolis Valley.

The paintings also sold well, according to Parrsboro Creative executive director Robert More, who described Saturday’s Collector’s Preview and Awards Night as a “joyous celebration of things creative” and an evening to remember. Judge Richard Sneary announced the winning artists, with the grand prize going Nancy Tankersley of Easton, Maryland, U.S.A., widely considered to be one of the best plein air artists on the continent.

Saturday and Sunday both featured beautiful weather, tremendous buzz and activity around Parrsboro and area, and more sales.

Plans are already being made for the 2019 festival, according to More.

“The Parrsboro International Plein Air Festival is now drawing top quality artists from across the continent,” he said. “The future looks bright for cultural tourism in Parrsboro and Cumberland County.

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