Artists take their talents outdoors for third annual Wet Paint Padanaram contest

Sep 25, 2021

The sidewalks of Padanaram Village were transformed into an art studio Saturday as dozens of painters took to the great outdoors for the third annual Wet Paint Padanaram plein air contest.

The painting contest saw 41 artists compete over who created the best outdoor work of the day, along with selling those works.

“It was a great turnout,” said Jill Law, the gallery coordinator at the Dartmouth Cultural Center. “Biggest one yet!”

Throughout the day, artists took in the scenery as they captured the land and seascapes of Padanaram Harbor, the Star of the Sea Reserve, and Smith Neck Beach in their works.

Artist Barbara Healy of Dartmouth said it was a good experience this year. 

She noted that weather throughout the day was perfect — aside from when painting first began.

“I got rained on first thing,” she said with a laugh.

Fellow Dartmouth artist Peggy Call Conley had a more pleasant experience as she painted by the Davis &Tripp marina.

“It’s been beautiful,” she said. “That’s the thing about plein air, you’re out in the air with the sights, sounds, and smells.”

This was Conley’s third year participating. 

In previous years, the watercolorist painted some of the village’s buildings and the dinghy dock near Apponagansett Beach. This year, she wanted to try something “more challenging;” The Padanaram Bridge.

“I wanted to do something in the village and get kind of the heart of the village,” Conley said. “I’ve lived here for 40 years and it’s always the bridge.”

After artists finished their works, paintings were brought into the Olde Southworth Library for juror Carolyn Lock to pick the top three paintings. According to Law, rankings were determined by use of marshland, boats, and structure.

The top spot went to Dartmouth resident Kathleen Mogayzel for her watercolor painting of “Little Island” off of Cottage Street.

“I’m very honored,” she said. “This was a neighborhood and area I grew up in — it means something special to me.”

Mogayzel said that painting the island was “a bit of a challenge” amid Saturday’s changing skies.

“The light started off being a beautiful, sunny day” she said. “But as the day went on, it got murkier and I had to compromise and kept referring to the photographs I took earlier in the day — otherwise, it’d be a whole different painting by three o’clock.”

Placing second and third were artists Heidi Hallemeier and Cate Becker.

Becker painted an abstract depiction of Smith Neck Beach filled with different pops of color and paint textures.

“I wanted to do something different and not-so-detailed like the other ones,” she said. “I figured bold shapes and colors would be pretty cool and striking.” 

Cultural Center President Pauline Santos said she was very pleased with this year’s competition and that so many of the works were sold during the brief artists reception.

“This was great,” she said. “Everybody loved it.”