Showcase Your State: Massachusetts Winners

This month Massachusetts is the featured state for our national Plein Air: Showcase Your State competition. Massachusetts is a popular destination and residence for artists, with its many charming harbor towns, picturesque landscapes close to the Berkshire Mountains, and historic communities with rich artistic legacies. Plein air painters in particular often travel to Massachusetts to paint in Provincetown—where Henry Hensche’s Cape School of Art originated—try their hand at the famous Motif # 1 of Rockport, or marvel at the nautical and natural beauty on Cape Cod and Nantucket.

Entries came from both residents and frequent visitors to the state, and their paintings were all fine examples of not only some of the more popular and well-known motifs of Massachusetts but also some of the hidden gems of the area. Our editors have reviewed the entries, and we have selected the following three landscape paintings as Showcase Your State: Massachusetts finalists. Thank you to all who submitted for sharing your interpretations of and stories from this favorite landscape-painting destination.

* If you would like to submit an entry for any of the 50 states for the Showcase Your State competition (with the exception of New Jersey and Massachusetts, which have already been decided), please send a low-res (72 dpi) JPEG or TIFF to, and please include a brief description of the subject as well as caption information for each of your entries (title, year, medium, dimensions, collection). No more than two entries per artist, please. For full contest rules, see below.

FINALIST #1: JEANNE PIERCE (from Townsend, Massachusetts)
 Summer Day, Plum Island by Jeanne Pierce, 2008, oil, 12 x 16.
Summer Day, Plum Island
by Jeanne Pierce, 2008, oil, 12 x 16.

In the Words of the Artist: “Plum Island’s Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, in Newburyport, Massachusetts, has been a favorite painting spot of mine for many years. Dunes, beaches, salt marshes, and meadows provide habitat for many resident and migratory birds, and it is a favorite place for bird watchers, artists, bikers, and runners. On a hot July day at the height of greenhead fly season, I was captivated by this view. Puffy clouds filled the sky, and cloud shadows swept over the meadow. The shrubs standing watch in the middle distance are known to locals as ‘the pea and the bean’ and have had that distinctive shape for as long as I can remember. I began this painting with the sky, as I was anxious to capture the feeling of the clouds. Next I massed in the distant hill, the shadow shapes in the trees and tall grasses, and the cloud shadow on the meadow. Then the light areas were added and color applied to indicate the masses of wildflowers in the meadow.”


FINALIST #2: MARY ERICKSON (from Marshville, North Carolina)


Essex Marsh
By Mary Erickson, 2008, oil, 8 x 10.

In the Words of the Artist: “In September I made a plein air painting trip from Newport, Rhode Island, to Boothbay, Maine, stopping in Boston to visit my good friends Gary and Cindy Davis.  We spent a day looking at paintings in Gloucester and then painted this scene in Essex. Plein air painting is all about capturing the essence of a scene—the light, emotion, and atmosphere—and a sense of place on a two-dimensional surface. The challenges of weather, bugs, and time constraints can be easily overlooked once you get into the moment. For me, this painting is a momentary memory captured on canvas.”


FINALIST # 3: J. RICHARDS, JR. (from Williamstown, Massachusetts)
Berkshire Morning
by J. Richards, Jr., 2008, oil, 24 x 30.

In the Words of the Artist: “This painting is a scene from the west side of Mount Greylock, in Williamstown, Massachusetts, overlooking Williamstown and the Taconic mountain range. In this studio painting done from on-site sketches and historical references, I tried to capture the plumes of fog rising off the stream as the morning sun warms the mountain, similar to what Winslow Homer observed and painted when he visited the Berkshires many years ago.”

The plein air sketch that preceded
the finished painting above.


• You may submit no more than two entries per state for consideration.

•  All work submitted must be done en plein air. If it is a finished studio work, it must be done from plein air sketches or studies. (Please provide documentation of the actual on-site work.)

• Submissions may come from residents of the state for which they are applying or may come from frequent visitors to the state who are familiar with the resident landscape.

• Please include the following information with your submission: title, year, medium, and dimensions of the painting; your full name and hometown; a brief (no more than 200-word) description of the location of each painting and what that location means to you/how you approached it. Pieces must have been painted within the last three years.

•  We will accept e-mail submissions only, with the painting attached as a lo-res JPEG or TIFF (72 dpi). Please title your digital file with the state you’ve painted and your last name, i.e.: New Jersey_Smith.jpg.

•  E-mail your entry for the state you wish to represent to Please include the state for which you’re applying in the subject line of your e-mail, i.e.: Showcase Your State: New Jersey.

Related Posts:


Plein Air Painting Blog
Allison Malafronte

About Allison Malafronte

Allison Malafronte is the senior editor of American Artist magazines, and the project editor of  Plein Air Painting and Workshop With the Masters magazines. She is also the creative manager of the Weekend With the Masters Workshop & Conference ( which was launched in 2009 and is now in its third year. She is author of the Art for Thought column in American Artist magazine (also on the Artist Daily site under The Artist's Life blog) and the 2008-2010 Plein Air blogs on Artist Daily. 

2 thoughts on “Showcase Your State: Massachusetts Winners

  1. I know it’s your contest and you can make the rules anything you like, but studio work completed with a reference plein air painting insnot plein air. The reference plein air painting is certainly a good stating point for color, light, atmosphere and serves a good purpose for doing larger studio works along with reference photos and sketches.

  2. Our Plein Air: Showcase Your State competition allows artists from all over the country to share paintings and personal sentiments about the landscapes they love with the American Artist online community. We are now accepting entries for the state of