CAPE ELIZABETH — Over the course of a weekend, 30 award-winning landscape painters from Maine will spread across town to paint the natural landscape en plein air.

The outdoor painting event is the center of the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust’s annual Paint for Preservation fundraiser and Wet Paint benefit auction.

Artists will paint from Friday, June 28, through Sunday, June 30, at specified locations, which include Two Lights State Park, Fort Williams, Pond Cove and several private properties throughout town, among other places.

The public is encouraged to visit artists while they paint.

“We try to get as many artists as possible on properties that are either owned by the land trust, are where the land trust has easements, or have some connection to the land trust, just to highlight these properties and show the beauty of Cape Elizabeth and the places we want to preserve,” Claudia Dricot, chairwoman and co-founder of Paint for Preservation, said.

Dricot, a longtime CELT volunteer, co-founded the event 12 years ago with artist Mary Anne Cary, inspired by a fundraiser in Kennebunkport many years ago called Paint the Port.

Plein air painting can be difficult because it requires the artist to work quickly, according to Dricot.

The artists will sell their freshly painted pieces Sunday at the Wet Paint at a gala being hosted at the seaside estate of the Holden family at Garrison Field. Canvases are auctioned live, and guests may also purchase mystery boxes containing smaller works by participating artists. A portion of the funds will be donated to the trust and the artist will retain the remainder.

This year, 70 artists applied for 30 juried spots. Three of the artists hail from Cape Elizabeth: Cooper Dragonette, Holly Ready and Graham Wood.

Dragonette primarily paints in oils and has been a landscape painter for close to two decades. He graduated with a focus in arts education from the University of Southern Maine in Portland and has taught high school drawing and painting for nearly a decade.

Ready, the owner of Holly Ready Gallery on Two Lights Road, graduated from Maine College of Art in Portland in 1994. Her oil landscape paintings often depict the essence of changing light in her surroundings.

Wood, owner of Ocean House Gallery and Frame, studied at The School of Visual Arts, located in New York. His paintings reflect an abstract landscape that captures the peacefulness of nature.

These three artists, along with the other 27 talented painters, must complete their artwork by Sunday.

“It’s always astonishing. It’s not something I could complete in a year and they’re pulling this off in three days. It’s just thrilling to me,” Dricot said.

The event is the only fundraiser that the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust hosts each year, according to Patty Renaud, membership and development manager for CELT.

“The first year we had no budget, no committee and did everything ourselves. We made $4,000 and we took all the artists that applied,” Dricot said. “Then we got a board member and a committee and we had a little budget, and then it just grew and grew.”

Twelve years later, the auction now garners over $50,000 for the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust to use as funds for their operations, educational programs, and various projects that align with their values of conserving the land.

Tickets for the Wet Paint auction may be purchased online at https://www.capelandtrust.org/events/paint-for-preservation/.

The public is welcome to visit artists at the following locations throughout the weekend of June 28-30: 

Olena Babak and Janet Ledoux, Fort Williams; Marsha Donahue and Mike Dorsey, Robinson Woods, Shore Road; Lou Schellenberg, Pond Cove, Shore Road; Colin Page, Alewives Brook Farm, 83 Old Ocean House Road; Holly Ready, Peabbles Cove, end of Peabbles Cove Road; John Knight and Nathaniel Meyer, Trundy Point, Reef Road; Ken DeWaard, Turkey Hill Farm, 120 Old Ocean House Road; Bjorn Runquist, Boathouse Cove, end of Two Lights Road; Jill Hoy, Two Lights State Park, Two Lights Road/7 Tower Drive; Matt Russ and Charles Thompson, Kettle Cove, end of Kettle Cove Road.

Also, James Mullen, Crescent Beach, 94 Bowery Beach Road; Judy Taylor, Great Pond, end of Fenway Road; John Santoro, Pollack Brook Preserve, 498 Spurwink Ave. (park at Gull Crest); Margaret Gerding, Town Farm, Spurwink Avenue across from Dennison Road; Alison Hill, Willow Brook, trail from Starboard Drive; Lindsay Hancock and Cooper Dragonette, Jordan Farm, 19 Wells Road; Marguerite Lawler, Autumn Tides Road, off Wells Road; Charles Fenner Ball, Spurwink Marsh, along Sawyer Road.

Caleb Stone captures the Spurwink Church for the 2017 Paint for Preservation in Cape Elizabeth. This year’s event is June 28-30.

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