Paint the Hydrostone 2020

Paint the Hydrostone WILL happen this year! I am excited to announce that the popular plein air event is going ahead. It will look a little different this year. To avoid large gatherings, invited artists will spread their painting time over several weeks. Expect to see artists working throughout the Hydrostone neighbourhood from August 22rd to September 26th. Finished paintings will be for sale in the gallery and online as they are completed. And, of course partial proceeds will go to our amazing neighbours at Brigadoon Village.

Call 902-406-2355 or email to purchase. Ecommerce is enabled so you can also buy online. Shipping is set to free in Canada and pick up and delivery in Halifax is available. The collection also includes studio pieces depicting the Hydrostone from gallery artists. 10% of all sales will go to Brigadoon.

Participating artists: Kim Aerts, Rhonda Barrett, Mary Doane, Cheryl Flemming, Mark Grantham, Alison Grapes, Alexander Koltakov, Debbie Mosher, Richard Mulroy, Suzanne O’Callaghan, Nicole Power, Zehava Power, Jack Ross, Eman Shirazi, Christa Specht, Steven Toth, Nicole Wells.

Cheryl Bell

14 Bells Fine Art Gallery, 5523B Young St, Halifax, NS


Plein Air Festival Wrap-up

It took imagination and vast amounts of hard work, but organizers report that the 2020 Parrsboro International Plein Air Festival — PIPAF in Isolation — has been a success.

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictions on travel, in only its fourth year PIPAF had to reinvent itself, going from a massive in-person festival luring artists and viewers from across North America to the Parrsboro Shore of the Bay of Fundy and replacing it with an online-only event. Instead of creating plein air (outdoor) art in person under the watchful eye of visitors and potential art buyers, 30 artists, still from across North America, posted videos of themselves creating their art at home and then viewers made their purchases via the internet.

The winners: New Hampshire artist Debbie Mueller’s “Suspended Service”, Best in Show; New York artist Diane Leifheit’s “Bog River Falls”, 2nd Place; Washington, DC artist Thomas Bucci’s Caffe Pomeridiano”, 3rd Place; and Debbie Mueller again for “Nubble Morning”, People’s Choice. Awards for Best Nocturne and Best Use of Light went to Nova Scotia’s Wesley Lowe and Maryland’s Alison Menke, respectively.

Did it work? The 2020 festival drew thousands of viewers and, while sales are still available at, the current sales total so far of $7,709 exceeds last year’s $6,367.95, once the value of picture frames, which weren’t possible this year, was added to the 2020 numbers.

It wasn’t easy.

It was a challenge, one met by the organization and the participating artists,” said Jocelyn Li, Parrsboro Creative’s executive director. “We had no template to go by so we had to develop things as we went along.

It wouldn’t have been possible without the co-operation of the artists, and we are happy they are making sales. We hope they can come here in person next year.”

Artists from as far away as Florida, California and British Columbia participated in the festival, based on a French style of outdoor painting that captures landscapes and views in natural light, a popular practice for centuries that requires specific skills and techniques.

The folks at Parrsboro Creative did a fantastic job,” said participating artist David Lussier of Somersworth, NH in a post on his website. “In what seemed like the blink of an eye, they shifted their focus from planning a live event to planning an online festival that still had the focus on plein air painting.”

Key to the success, Lussier said, was how the organization kept the 30 participating artists aware of their plans “every step of the way” and managed to give the website the “flavor and vibe” of a live plein air event.

We are deeply grateful to the artists, and the sponsors, who enabled us to proceed with this year’s event,” said Li. “It was a lot of work but definitely worth it in the long run.”

(Images available upon request.)

Bruce Lantz

Director, Marketing & Communications

p.+1 902 728 2007
+1 250 264 8888

Support our Plein Air Artists! Add to your collection with artworks made PIPAF in ISOLATION

Thank you for your support for our exhibition!
Some of the artists who have sold also have works coming up in reserve. There will be more pieces for you to peruse coming up!

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Awards Ceremony & Winners of PIPAF in ISOLATION

Congratulations again to our winners for PIPAF in ISOLATION!


BEST IN SHOW – “Suspended Service” (Nocturne)
by Debbie Mueller, Oil on panel, 11” x 14”, $615 CAD

A painting by Debbie Mueller of Durham, New Hampshire, “Suspended Service”, was named Best in Show at the 2020 Parrsboro International Plein Air festival today (June 28).

Mueller will receive a cash award of $1,500 CAD plus a half-page ad in Plein Air Magazine valued at US$2150.

Thirty artists from across North America participated in PIPAF in ISOLATION, which for the first time utilized an online-only format due to the COVID-19 pandemic instead of seeing the artists travel to Parrsboro, NS on the shores of the Bay of Fundy, home to the world’s highest tides and some of the most stunning scenery to be found anywhere.

In addition to Mueller’s win, judge Tom Forrestall named Diane Leifheit of Paul Smiths, NY as winner of the second-place award of $1,000 CAD for “Bog River Falls”, while the third-place prize of $750 went to Thomas Bucci of Washington, DC for “Caffe Pomeridiano”. The People’s Choice award of $500 went to Mueller for “Nubble Morning”.

The $300 prizes for Best Nocturne and Best Use of Light went to Wesley Lowe of Bridgewater, NS and Alison Menke of Clarksville, MD, respectively.

Honourable Mentions went to Oliver Hatton of Middle Lehave, NS, Sara Gray of Falmouth, ME, Douglas Williamson of Calgary, AB, Richard Sneary of Kansas City, MI and Henry Coe of Parkton, MD

The light is what made it (special). It stood right out,” judge Forrestall said of Muller’s Best in Show piece.

I’m beyond overwhelmed,” said Mueller. “In this year and this time, when so many have quit it was very brave and creative to do this virtual event.”

En plein air” is a French expression that means “in the open air” and describes the art of outdoor painting, capturing landscapes and views in natural light. It has been a popular practice for centuries and requires specific skills and techniques requires adaptability to a changing environment and a speed in applying painting techniques.

Parrsboro Creative has been hosting the event, the largest in Canada, since 2017. It’s part of the organization’s vision of developing the area’s cultural economy through the creation of a community of artists and artisans that will rejuvenate Parrsboro.

With pandemic-inspired travel restrictions in place, organizers determined to forge ahead anyway and devised the PIPAF in ISOLATION concept, which allowed arts enthusiasts to watch the artists at work in their home communities through videos and livestreaming, and to view and even buy the completed works, all online at Artist profiles, examples of their work, the awards ceremony and more are hosted on the website.

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Watch the Virtual Awards Ceremony with Judge, Tom Forrestall!

PIPAF in ISOLATION | Awards Segment with Tom Forrestall


PIPAF in ISOLATION Exhibition is available online!

PIPAF in ISOLATION Exhibition is available online!

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