All my paintings that I completed during the Plein Air Easton 2014 Competition.

Easton was an amazing experience to say the least.  Where else do you get paint so many different locations alongside so many amazing painters?  I got to meet plein air greats, such as Nancy Tankersley, Stewart White, Eleinne Basa, Greg LaRock, Charlie Hunter, Ken DeWaard and John Michael Carter, talk shop and learn about them as people.  I also met new painters that I had never really knew before, but was blown away by their work, Zufar Bikbov, Za Vue, Jason Csont.  I think one piece of advice that Ken DeWaard helped the most, which was to just not waste too much time driving around looking for the perfect place to paint.  He was right, there were more than enough things to cover.  The people of Easton were more than gracious in allowing me to get anywhere I needed to go or paint.  From backyards to boatyards and docks, I had carte blanch all by just politely asking.  If I were to give advice to anyone new to Easton, it would include the following.  

  1. Be ready to paint as much as possible.  
  2. Second, ask before going on any private property, chances are they will say yes.
  3. Bring your gear and have back ups boards, brushes, paint, etc. ESPECIALLY an extra easel.  I almost never lose things, but for some reason I lost brushes, paints, sunglasses, even my wedding ring (don't fret, it was my non-gold ring as I found out after getting married that I am allergic to gold).
  4. Business cards and event info to give out to passersby.
  5. There are a lot of artists that have been doing these events for years, they have a lot of experience to share, it's best to listen to any advice given.
  6. Paint what you know.  Your passion to the subject will show through.  There is the temptation to paint what you think what will be an easy sell, I urge you to resist that temptation and be true to yourself as an artist.  If it doesn't sell there, you'll find a buyer for it else where.  
  7. Have a lunch box cooler bag to keep your water cool.  It's hot and water is not always nearby.  Heat exhaustion can steal valuable time away from painting.
  8. Eat as healthy as possible.  Treat yourself like an athlete.  Would you run the 500 meter dash after eating a heavy meal of fast food?  Why do that to yourself and risk heartburn or other things while spending an extended time out doors exposed to variable conditions of sun, heat, rain and wind?
  9. Power naps can work wonders, even 20 minutes.  I used this while staying up all night nocturne plein air painting to get me back out to paint during the day.
  10. Bring an umbrella for shade and light rain. Also find an alternative place to paint in case of a severe storm.  Lightning is bad, working under a metal umbrella in the middle of an open field is worse.  If you can manage, painting from inside your vehicle can help you from the elements.
  11. And last, have fun!  I made some new friends that I greatly respect and admire as artists.  You will have an incredible time there, enjoy it, as it does go by fast!

During my stay in Easton, for seven days, I painted 15 paintings.  Of those, kept 14, and left one on the side of the street, abandoned in disgust.  I knew that I would churn out a stinker or two, so no love lost there.  What I didn't expect was burn out.  My stinker had begun to haunt me and I knew why.  I had a enough paintings and went out to experiment.  A bad idea.  I had desire to try the technique of other artists and was trying to incorporate several styles at once.  By expecting good things could come of this approach and becoming furious when it didn't, was unrealistic.  Yeah, I know, stupid me.  I went out that afternoon and tried to paint again and could not get myself out of the funk.  This had a psychological effect on me of not being able to put out a good painting for the two hour quick draw.  I had really psyched myself out.  So I did the best thing I could do, which was to not paint.  I traded my easel for a camera and spent that Friday afternoon checking out different places.  The next morning, I was back in "A" game mode and was happy with effort after the two hours.  Below is all the paintings I did at Easton, starting with the first painting done at Tilghman Island and ending with the 2 hour quick draw.  Plein Air Easton is an awesome event, the best in the country.  Even if you don't get juried into the main event and you have the chance to participate in the quick draw, I highly encourage you to jump in and sign up.  It's a great way to push yourself to paint in a short time period and challenge your skills.  Afterwards, then go look around and see some of the best painters in the country.  The main event winners from that week are up on display at the Avalon Gallery on South Street.  Don't forget to go upstairs to see the reserve paintings!  There you'll find a lot of inspiration and great paintings.

Dry Docked in Oxford.jpg
Sails on Oxford.jpg


Doug Clarke is an award winning Plein Air and Studio painter based out of Virginia Beach. He works in oils creating plein air and studio paintings.

Graduating with Honors and Magna Cum Laude from Virginia Commonwealth University, Doug's work has evolved from commercial to fine art.  As an active member of the Norfolk Drawing Group, the painter strives for excellence in his figure drawings and paintings.  His commitment to life drawing and painting led him outdoors to paint "en plein air".  There he realized his passion for capturing light and nature in his own personal way.

Doug has been commissioned to paint both Harborfest and Neptune Festival posters for 2014.  Awards include 1st place awards for Plein Air 757,  Williamsburg Plein Air and the Plein Air Mount Lebanon quick draw competitions, as well as a three time winner of the Historic Fort Monroe Plein Air Exhibition.  His paintings are collected far and abroad internationally.  Doug’s work is currently represented by Harbor Gallery and the Ellen Moore Gallery.

In pursuit of mastering his craft, he has participates in local and national plein air events

When painting outdoors, Doug is very passionate about capturing the vanishing landscapes of Southeastern Virginia.