Artists are now spread across the region creating paintings as part of the 8th Annual Finger Lakes Plein Air Competition and Festival

CANANDAIGUA — On Tuesday, peacefully focused painters opened up the weeklong Finger Lakes Plein Air Competition and Festival. 

"Plein Air" is French for “open air” and is a painting style in which the art is done completely outside and considered a historic art form. Jean Pierre Jacquet calls it "peinture sur le motif" or "on the spot painting."

“There’s a lot of great stuff in this region,” said Jacquet, a French-born painter who now calls Connecticut home and is in town for the competition. “It’s totally different from what I expected.”

Jacquet, who is visiting the Finger Lakes for his first time, said he was impressed by the beautiful landscape and abundant trees throughout the area.

During this year’s festival, both nationally known and locally- ecognized artists will paint the beauty of Canandaigua and the surrounding areas, rain or shine, and then offer their paintings to the public for purchase.

The festival culminates in a ticketed preview party ($35) on Saturday night, June 8, from 6 to 9 p.m., held at the newly renovated permanent tent at Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park;  and in a free, day-long Sunday exhibition and sale at Sonnenberg Gardens' Carriage House on June 9.

The competition will be judged by Hiu Lai Chong, whose paintings have been collected by museums and featured in newspapers, on magazine covers and in books. Her awards include the prestigious Plein Air Easton Grand Prize and Artistʼs Choice Awards, the Laguna Plein Air Collectors’ Choice Award, Maui Plein Air Best in Show, San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts Museum Purchase Award, Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine and South West Art Magazine‘s awards for the “Artist for the New Century” and the Portrait Society of Americaʼs International Portrait Competition Certificate of Excellence.