Grand Marais Art Colony, Grand Marais, Minnesota Special Events
120 WEST 3RD AVENUE   PO BOX 626    GRAND MARAIS, MINNESOTA 55604    218-387-2737

Plein Air Grand Marais

Sept. 8 - Oct. 29, 2017

COMPETITION:September 8 - 15
EXHIBITION: September 16 - October 29

Plein Air Grand Marais is a week-long outdoor painting competition that culminates in an exhibit showcasing the North Shore landscape. Eighty artists will be painting throughout Cook County to capture the beauty of this region.  Chasing fleeting moments of changing light, these artists must both depict what the scene looks like, as well as the feeling it evokes.

We are pleased to announce that our 2017 Juror will be Kami Mendlik! In addition to jurying the competition prizes, Kami will give an Artist Talk and host a 2 day class: Composition and Color in the Landscape on September 16 & 17; find details here. Call 218-387-2737 to register for this class. 

Exhibit is hosted at the Johnson Heritage Post | 115 West Wisconsin Street, Grand Marais, MN 
and the Open Class Exhibit is at the Art Colony | 120 W. 3rd Ave.

Click here for full Artist Packet! 

2017 Plein Air Grand Marais Artists

Invitational Class

Richard Abraham | Kristin Blomberg | Bob Bonawitz | Jerri Jo Brandt | Carl Bretzke | Lee Englund | John Franz | Dave Gilsvik | Paula Gustafson | David Hahn | Matt Kania | Cynthia Kath | Cheryl LeClair-Sommer | Tom McGregor | Dan Mackerman | Dan Mondloch | Tom Nachreiner | Elizabeth Oppenheimer | Mike Rada | Larry Seiler | Neil Sherman | Lisa Stauffer | James Turner | Bob Upton | Michelle Wegler | Sue Wipf | Stephen Wysocki | Kathie Wheeler

Jury Class

Douglas Berg | Ed Cacek | MaryAnn Cleary | Jack Dant | Derek Davis | Steve DeLaitsch | Patricia Duncan | Patty Dwyer | Allison Eklund | Bridget Ertelt | Robert Hagberg | Marva Harms | Carol Holmblad | Joni Jurek | Laurie Kania | Sara Lubinski | Robert Luedtke | Leisa Luis-Grill | Doug Malin | Sandra Maxwell | Spencer Meagher | Pat Owen | Sandi Pillsbury Gredzens | Joan Reynolds | Katherine Seger | Joyce Staley | Jon Strand | Richard Stryker | Kenneth Valentas | William Whalberg | Chris Willey

Open Class

Susan Aamot | Judy CM Mayor | Jean Colvin | Rodger Ellingson |
Mary Jo Ellis | Susan Estill | Nancy Gongoll | Wendy Goriup | Pete Hinze Julia Jaakola | Jeannie  Knight | Angie Malin | Gary Olson | Mary  Olson Cindy Pawluk | Steve  Ronald | Deb Stull-Kinsley | Irene Tait |
Joy Turman | Kathleen  Weinberg


Special Thanks to our Plein Air Event and Purchase Award Sponsors!

The following have helped to make this event possible and are honored with access to the Exhibit Opening an hour before the general public (scroll down for details on becoming a sponsor):

Event Sponsors: Purchase Award Sponsors commit in advance to buying a painting from the exhibit: To become an Event or Purchase Award Sponsor, please contact Development Manager, Kathi Polley at

To be placed on the mailing list for Plein Air information, please contact


Plein Air Grand Marais is a great way to connect with the artistic community of the North Shore. The reputation of this festival precedes itself, having become known as the best place to view and purchase a wide variety of local scenic paintings from acclaimed regional and national artists.

||| Artists In Action ||| 

Plein Air Grand Marais is an outdoor painting competition in which artists have 7 days to capture the 3,340 square miles of Cook County.  Blank canvas turns into fresh works of art depicting this scenic landscape.
Spend the day on the look-out for artists at work. Once an artist has been spotted, watch as the painting unfolds under the mastery of the artist’s brush.

Pincushion Mountain Paint-Out
This is a great opportunity to see artists paint at the beginning of the week and capture the iconic Grand Marais Harbor from a bird's eye view.
Artists' Point: Quick Paint
During this category event, artists have 90 minutes to complete a painting.  With a shot gun start and finish, artists battle weather, wind and waves in this entertaining spectacle that produces incredible art!  A great opportunity to see over 50 artists scattered over Artists' Point, truly bringing the tombolo’s name to life. 

||| Purchase |||
 This is an excellent opportunity to obtain an original painting of the North Shore for your home or business. Artists capture favorite North Shore buildings and iconic vistas.

To become an Event or Purchase Award Sponsor, please contact Development Manager, Kathi Polley at



Main Category
1st Place | Dan Mondloch, "End of the Season"
2nd Place | Larry Seiler, "Temperance off the Grade"
3rd Place | Carl Bretzke, "Herring Dock"
Honorable Mention | Bob Bonawitz, "Morning on the Fresh Water Sea"
Honorable Mention | James Turner, "Rosefalls BWCA"

Night Paint
Winner | Kathie Wheeler, "Reflecting on the Day"
Honorable Mention | Larry Seiler, "Campsite 17"

Quick Paint 
Winner | James Turner, "Hidden Gem"
Honorable Mention | Paula Gustafson, "Orange Inlet"

Sense of Place
Winner | Mike Rada "It's Just Lunch"
Honorable Mention | Sue Wipf, "My Soul's Delight"

Red Suspender
Winner | Carl Bretzke, "Herring Dock"
Finalist | Dan Mondloch, "Devil's Track, First Light"

People's Choice Award
Winner | Dan Mondloch, "End of the Season"

Open Class Best in Show
Winner | Angie Malin, "1390 Water Access"


Main Category
1st Place | Carl Bretzke, "Behind the Fish Dock"
2nd Place | Dan Mackerman, "Dingy Dance" 
3rd Place | Bob Upton, "Sunny Surf"
Honorable Mention | Neil Sherman, "Thompson Falls"

Night Paint
Winner | Kathleen Wheeler, "Spinning Yarns" 
Honorable Mention | David Gilsvik, "Back Door Holiday Gas"

Quick Paint 
Winner | Sue Wipf, "90 Minutes on Ancient Rocks" 
Honorable Mention | Tom McGreger, "The Rock Walkers"

Sense of Place
Winner | Christopher Copeland, "Red Rocks Near Grand Portage"

Red Suspender
Winner | Dan Mondloch, "Walking on Artist Point" 

People's Choice Award | Bob Upton, "Rugged & Serene"

Open Class Best in Show | Liz Oppenheimer, "Night Lights at the Harbor"

1st Place | Clear Water by Bob Upton 
2nd Place | Red Rock by Tom McGregor 
3rd Place | Cascade Falls Rush by Sue Wipf 
Honorable Mention | Bambe by Lawrence Rudolech 

Night Paint
Winner | Firelight by Scott Lloyd Anderson 
Honorable Mention | Harbor at Night by Carl Bretzke 

Quick Paint
Winner | Waiting for the Sun by Carl Bretzke 
Honorable Mention | The Great Freshwater Sea by Robert Hodges-Bonawitz 

Red Suspender Winner | Harley's Old Truck by Carl Bretzke 
People's Choice Award | Clearwater by Bob Upton 


Main Category
1st Place:Bob Upton
2nd Place: Paula Gustafson
3rd Place:Dave Gilsvik
Honorable Mentions:Andy Evansen, Lisa Stauffer
Night Paint
Winner:Andy Evansen
Honorable Mention: Bob Upton
Quick Paint
Winner:Chris Copeland
Honorable Mention: Tom Dimock
People's Choice Award:Dave Gilsvik
Red Suspender Invitational winner: Dave Gilsvik

Pictures from 2014 can be found here 


1st Place: Carl Bretzke "Pincushion View"
2nd Place: David Gilsvik "Setting Sail"
Also People's Choice & Red Suspender-aka-Artists Choice
3rd Place: Lee Englund "Sugarloaf Cove"
Honorable Mention: Bob Upton "Sugarloaf Cove"
Honorable Mention: Derek Davis "Sky Show"
Night Paint Winner: Carl Bretzke "Tavern Backside"
Quick Paint Winner: Richard Abraham "Sky Pools"


1st Place: Susan Novak
2nd Place: David Gilsvik
3rd Place: Spencer Meagher
Night Paint: Matt Kania
Quick Paint: Christopher Copeland
People's Choice: Lisa Stauffer


1st Place: Scott Lloyd Anderson
2nd Place: Susan Novak
3rd Place: Christopher Copeland
Night Paint: Michelle Wegler
Quick Paint: Neil Sherman
People's Choice: Lisa Stauffer


Artist Packet
Purchase Award Sponsor Information

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