Third Place Plein Air Award: NOAPS Show at the Principle Gallery, Alexandria


I was honored to be juried in to  the NOAPS (National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society)“Best of America” exhibit at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA. 

It’s not always possible to attend shows that your art travels to, but in this case, I drove to Alexandria, VA, just outside of Washington, DC, to see this phenomenal exhibit and to paint for 2 days there in Old Town Alexandria.

I had some great friends to see and I also combined this adventure with a workshop. I taught a 3-Day Cold Wax Medium workshop in Vienna, VA. It was a busy week but a great one!

On a hot August day, I stood in the shade to paint the Cafe du Soleil in Old Town Alexandria. What caught my eye was the light hitting part of the building and how the shadows on the road created strong diagonal shapes in the foreground. It was a lovely spot to paint for a few hours. The only downside was that several delivery trucks arrived, parked and blocked my view entirely. That’s when I would  check my emails and hope that they would leave soon. 🙂

After eating lunch at this cafe, I went over to the waterfront area and found a boat to paint with some other friends/painters. It was a simple boat tied to the dock. I don’t know what the story is on this boat, but it was wonderful to just stand by the water and take in the changing colors reflected in the water, the sounds of the water lapping on the dock and the chatter of birds and children playing .

What’s always nice are the folks who stop to speak to you and ask questions. So many people are fascinated by plein air painters. I always enjoy explaining the process to them in hopes that too will find the joy one day of art.

I entered both of these paintings in the “wet paint show” that NOAPS and the Principle Gallery exhibited after the paint-out. My painting of “The Cafe de Soleil” won third place. I was thrilled!  Thanks to all who took part in this. The Principle Gallery in Alexandria has an amazing staff of helpful, lovely people who made my experience there extra special.

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Rachael McCampbell