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Sunday, 24th July 2022

Louth Plein Air Art Festival a big success for local and visiting painters

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Winners at the Louth Plein Air Art Festival at Beaulieu House and Gardens - Joan Moroney, Dave West and Nataliia Yakymets with festival organiser Leonora Reilly (second from right). Photo: Tony Campbell.

The County Louth Plein Air Art Festival, a two-day outdoor painting competition for all grades of adult artists organised by Drogheda based artist Leonora Reilly, which took place last weekend in Carlingford and Beaulieu House, was a big hit with local artists and visitors from other parts of the country. 

On the Saturday a total of 37 artists arrived in Carlingford village and, with their easels, canvases, paints and other painting paraphernalia, painted outdoors at various locations around the harbour and marina. 

The end of day display of their art on easels on the green area was the cause of much local interest with requests to hold this event again the next weekend! The whole day was a lovely positive experience for the artists with passers-by stopping for a chat. The weather was incredible, the scenery and views breathtaking. 

The next day, Sunday 17th July, Beaulieu House and Gardens outside Drogheda provided totally different private experience in a magnificent setting for the 47 participating artists with lots of potential compositions to choose from – the stately home, walled gardens, woods, the church and graveyard. 

Rodney Thornton painting at Beaulieu House and Gardens.

The Louth Plein Air Art Festival could become an annual event in artists’ calendars if the positive feed back and praise for organising the two days is anything to go by.  

Artists travelled from Newry, Co Mayo and Co Roscommon to take part in the two days.  Some artists are now keen to keep the momentum going for longer and are planning a monthly meet-up, with no obligation to attend, so they can paint plein air in other local locations. 

Organiser Leonora Reilly has attended the Dublin Plein Air Painting Festival for the past three years and felt this was an experience that could be replicated for artists in Co Louth.   

“There are lots of coastal towns, heritage and OPW sites for artists to explore and paint.  Opportunities to meet other local artists, to swap tips and knowledge was also a major bonus owing to the friendly and comfortable atmosphere of the festival” she said.

A group of happy painters at Beaulieu House.

Never having planned a public event before the Louth Plein Air Art Festival, Leonora was delighted this year to receive sponsorship from Drogheda Credit Union, Drogheda & District Chamber, the Arts Council and Festivals Committee from Louth County Council, artists goodie bags supplied by Evans Art Supplies and The Art Materials Company.  

“The Order of Malta were in attendance both days in case of an emergency and I’m glad to report there were no major casualties. The Courtyard Coffee supplied coffee and snacks in Beaulieu House for the day – a top priority to keep artists fulfilled!” 

This venture has turned into a fantastic initiative and experience for Leonora, who is painting and selling her work from her website https://leonorareilly.com/ and in local coffee shops and gift shops.

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