Watch Artists Have a Painting Competition on Cape Ann

More than 40 painters will set up their easels outdoors this month.

cape ann painting

A painting class at the Annisquam Light in Gloucester / Photo by Marilyn Swift

Lighthouse paintings hold a special place in the hearts of New Englanders, which is why the region’s first-ever outdoor painting competition is gracing the shores north of Boston.

More than 40 artists from around the country will gather on Cape Ann to work their magic en plein air this month. For one week, expert depicters plan to set up their easels throughout the landscape in Cape Ann’s four picturesque seaside communities—Gloucester, Rockport, Essex, and Manchester-by-the-Sea. The artists will then compete for $16,000 in prizes and awards.

Cape Ann Plein Air, or CAPA, is meant to celebrate the legacy of plein air painting, which has drawn artists like Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper to Cape Ann for more than two centuries. The French phrase, which literally means “open (in full) air,” describes works where artists reproduce the essence of a landscape by painting while in it. The competition is organized by the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, seARTS, and several other Cape Ann cultural organizations.

In addition to observing the painting in action, CAPA attendees can check out demonstrations, concerts, gallery events, and workshops. An awards gala at the Rockport Art Association and Museum will announce a $6,000 award for first place, $4,000 for second place, and a $2,000 award for third place. Additional themed awards include Best Americana, Best Marine, Best Use of Light, Best Nocturnal, and Best Perspective.

CAPA 2016 will run from Columbus Day, October 10, through Sunday, October 16. For more information, see

charles movalli

Plein air painting of boats near Motif Number one in Rockport by Charles Movalli