Deb Spalding

barnstormers rebecca pearlThe 9th Annual Barnstormers Tour and Plein Air Paint-Out was held on Saturday, June 13, 2015. Local artist Rebecca Pearl was one of thirty-five artists to participate. The event was sponsored by the Frederick County Landmarks Foundation as a fundraiser to support the preservation of barns in the Frederick County area. The day’s activities gave attention to these beautiful old structures and their importance to our agricultural heritage.

The day had three components: a ticketed barn tour for the general public; an art contest, show, and sale; and various educational demonstrations and displays. Tickets included a guide book and map.

This year, the barns of the scenic Sugarloaf Mountain Region were featured. Artists were sent to various farms, where they each determined a perspective to draw or paint. Rebecca was randomly assigned to paint Moon Shadow Farm, located just over the Frederick County border in Montgomery County. She had never been to that location before.

“It was quiet and gorgeous. It was hot and humid. It usually is. That’s part of the challenge of plein aire (outdoor) painting. You put up with the changing light, the weather, and people talking to you,” said Rebecca.

She walked around for a while when she arrived, looked at a lot of different perspectives and lighting, and finally settled into a fenced pasture and set up. She painted until about 2:30 p.m. and then gathered her supplies and moved to the event headquarters, where a reception would be held that evening. There was no requirement on the size or number of paintings created. Once she arrived at the headquarters, every artist matted and framed their own canvas. All was complete by late afternoon and ready for the reception.

This year, tour headquarters were located at Wildcat Spring Farm in Clarksburg, Maryland. Once the art was displayed, the artists left and a judge was brought in. When the judge’s decisions were made, the artists were invited back. The judge reviewed aspects of each award winner’s art as the winners were revealed.

Rebecca had entered the event five times in the past and won first place one time before. This year, she was surprised when her watercolor was selected for first place.

“I was shocked!” expressed Rebecca. Rebecca recalled that the judge liked the composition of her watercolor, complementing the pattern of light in the painting, and expressing that it had a finished look.

“It was so worth it to put myself out there,” said Rebecca.

Dean Fitzgerald of Fitzgerald Heavy Timber Construction, Inc. purchased Rebecca’s painting. It turns out that his company had completely rebuilt and renovated the barn that Rebecca painted

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