Have You Painted, Yet?
Meet This Year's Artists
Learn more about our amazing artists who are traveling from all over to participate in this year's event. Thank you to all artists for their work and effort to make this Plein Air contest a great success!
Caroline Ratliff, a contemporary landscape artist, specializes in painting the southwest. Her love of the out of doors draws her to state and national parks to photograph and paint landscapes in pastel and oil. Waterfalls, mountain streams, lakes, and ocean waves are favorite subjects in which she excels. Floral departments are temptations for studio paintings.
Caroline Ratliff, has developed her painting skills under the instruction of many prominent American pastel and oil painters, including Albert Handel, Matt Smith, and Scott Christensen. She received a Fine Arts degree from the University of Alabama and taught school in the Birmingham area. Moving to Texas, she continued teaching to support her family. When she retired, she became a full-time artist. Seeing a need for a pastel society, she organized the Pastel Society of Southeast Texas and is a former president.
Caroline says, "Happiness is being an artist."
Mary Baldwin College, emphasis in portraiture
University of Alabama, BA major in Painting
Southwest Art, Scenic Views February 2017
Southwest Art, Pastels January 2016
Art Galleries & Artists of the South volume 10, issue 3 2014
American Art Collector Focus Artist March 2012
Nancy Paris Pruden
Nancy Paris Pruden, an award-winning artist, lives and works in Houston, Texas. Growing up in Ft. Worth, Texas, Nancy started painting at a very early age when she won a scholarship to study drawing and later painting at the Experimental Art Program in Ft. Worth. By the time she graduated from high school, she was selling her art and is today shown in many national juried shows. Texture and color are her main interests, and she paints from life Alla Prima style in oils.
Graduating from the University of Georgia with a BFA in Painting and Drawing, Nancy continued her training with workshops under David Leffel, Gregg Kreutz, Quang Ho, Carolyn Anderson, and Joe Anna Arnett before attending the Art Students League in New York.
Her recent awards include National Oil and Acrylics Online Showcase, 2021, 2018, 2016, and 2015 with Award of Merit 2018, Award of Merit OPS 2020 and 2019, OPS Plein Air Southwest, 2020, 2021, Best of Show HAS Spring Show 2021, "All About Women National 2021, "True Beauty" International 2022,"Welcome to California" and 2019 Autumn Impressions, California Art Club, AWA 2019 Show at the Steamboat Art Museum, Celebration of Art National Show, Fayetteville, Arkansas, Texas and Neighbors, Dallas, 2020, First place in "Texas & Neighbors Regional Show 2015", Third places in the SKB Foundation Show and IAA Show, and an Award of Excellence in the Oil & Acrylic Painters Show, Allied Artists of America Show in NY, 2021, 2020 and HCAA Open Show. She was awarded Signature status in ACT (Artists Changing Tomorrow) and is featured in the NOAPS "Best of America" 2015, OPS Plein Air Salon, 2015, The Oil Painters of America 2015 National Show, AWA Show, NY, 2018 and Plein Air Salon 2018, OPS Plein Air SW, 3rd place Quick Draw, Bold Brush 15 Fav, 2020,2019, 2015.
I was born in the Dallas suburb of Lewisville, Texas, to MH and Ruth Henry. MH Henry, a WWII veteran and professional rodeo cowboy, was a master sign painter, as well. He was also an accomplished western artist, and was a magnificent storyteller with his work. Needless to say, his influence "rubbed off" onto me, and I grew up with an interest in drawing and painting.
We moved to the town of Bowie, Texas when I was 11 years old. Bowie was geographically located where the rolling Texas prairie meets the edge of the cross timbers, and was home to the hardscrabble ways of life familiar to the oil fields, farmers and ranchers. It was in the heart of "Comancheria", or the territory frequently raided and terrorized by the "Lords of the Plains", the Comanches. To say the least, I was steeped in the traditions and lore of the rural west, and I was enamored by the history of my home.
It was during my first years at Midwestern Sate University that I discovered my passion for teaching. I felt a "calling" to help young people who yearned to be creative. It happened after volunteering to teach at a youth summer camp. I guided a group of elementary aged kids through a pinch-pot making process, and it was an incredible experience!
Twenty-two years later, after teaching art to kids of all ages, I find myself in the mountains of Northern Utah. I am beginning to shift the focus of my efforts from the journey of young creatives to the journey leading to my own artistic destination...
The Rockies have enchanted me. I am spellbound by a landscape that at times is soothing and soft, with incredible presentations of rolling hills and back-lit meadows. I am awed by power of the rivers as they move through the deeply-carved canyons, bathed in the dramatic shine of the half-light afternoon. The juxtaposition of the beauty of snow alongside the bitterness of winter creates in me a melancholy sweetness. The peaks of the grandmother mountains, which stretch above the tree lines in naked, rocky abandonment, stop me in my tracks as they scrape the evening sky, set aflame by the light of the sinking sun. The mountain-desert vistas, with their vast arrays of flora and fauna, are proof that beauty can be created by harsh conditions. These are but a few of my muses found in the area in which I now call home. Coupled with my fondness of the cowboy and rural ways of life, I have been gradually composing the notes of my visual song.
My creations, which include a variety of paintings, drawings, hand-made prints and occasional 3D pieces are meant to be reflective of my journey, and spiritually speaking, my destination. I pray that what I make and have made will not only fulfill my creative needs, but also bless the lives of those who have made my art a part of their homes and families.
Jing Zhao was born and raised in Qingdao, China and now lives in Frisco, Texas. Jing has been drawing since the age of five. She began her formal art education at the age of eleven with a private art teacher. From eleven to eighteen, she drew every day in hopes of someday attending to the Central Academy of Fine Arts, the number one fine art academy in China. For various reasons, she studied law instead. But art has always been a companion to her. To further develop her artistic skills. She studied with great artists such as Kevin Macpherson, Zhaoming Wu, Daniel Gerhart , Huihan Liu and many other great artists.
Jing is a professional and a national top award-winning artist. Her work has been juried into numerous national exhibitions and plein air event around the country.
She is signature number in many distinguished organizations like Oil Painters of America, American Impressionist Society, Outdoor painters’ society, etc.
She was a speaker as American Impressionist Society National best show winners panelist, as well as a featured demonstrator at the AIS national small works show. She has been featured in Southwest art magazine, Fine Art Connoisseur, American art collector magazine, British DESTIG magazine's top artist interview and Australia Capsules book Curatorial Volume 3-Leaders in Contemporary art.
Susan Alger-Walrath Pape was born and raised in Barnstable, Massachusetts. At an early age her love of art came from her father, Stanley Alger, who was a prominent architect on Cape Cod and the surrounding mainland towns.
She decided in sixth grade to make a career in the art field and concentrated on attaining that goal. Sue obtained a summer job at a local offset printing company and worked there during high school through college. She graduated from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York with a degree in Art Education. After college she went to work for a Boston design firm that specialized in educational publishing. After getting married she moved to New Jersey and became an Associate Art Director for PrenticeHall (later Paramount Communications) Educational Division.
In 2001, she moved to Houston, Texas with her family and it felt like starting a new life. She decided to go into teaching and received her Texas certification. After substituting for two years, she became a middle school art teacher for Cypress-Fairbanks ISD and worked there for 18 years.
In 2021 Susan remarried, retired from teaching, and moved to LaGrange, Texas. “Now at last I can concentrate on my painting without any other obligations.” Her paintings reflect her love and appreciation for her new surroundings. She continues to teach for ARTS for Rural Texas in Fayette County and is a member of Live Oak Art Center in Columbus, Texas, Lost Pines Art Center in Bastrop, Texas and OPS-Outdoor Painters Society.
Growing up in Houston Texas in the sixties and early seventies was both nurturing and liberating. Our public education system was experimenting with after-school programs so in 1967 at Herod Elementary, I signed up for art. I went to Bellaire High School and won an honorable mention in the District Spring Art Contest affording me my first class at the Museum of Fine Arts School. I went to Kansas City Art Institute to get a BFA in painting.
In 2000, I started teaching Art in HISD. Through my time as an art teacher, I taught at all levels and in multiple districts including HISD, CFISD, and Klein ISD. After 21 years of teaching, I have now retired and am painting full-time.
As a creative artist of forty or fifty years, I have learned to study and explore nature and the environment around me. The earth and sky never fail to inspire. I never tire of drawing and painting the sky and landscape right out my back door. My goal as an artist is to observe the world around me and reinterpret my visuals perceived, and make drawings and paintings that others will enjoy and cherish.
Kevin Richert grew up on the Hudson River north of New York City. A Graduate from The School of Visual Arts. Knowing living in the concrete canyons of a great city was not a place to inspire me creating the art I eventually would knew I would be making. Kevin moved to Texas in the late 1970s. Further education spans several schools and universities, culminating in a MFA degree. Kevin has been working as an Illustrator and a teacher for the last thirty five years at the Art Institute of Houston and currently Blinn College. Kevin’s home and studio is on a working cattle ranch in Washington County, Texas. There he Lives with his wife Christine, one large dog, three horses, twenty four goats, Two Raccoons, several large herds of cattle, ten turkeys and an un-determined and ever growing number of chickens.
Jeremy Serna was born and raised in South Texas and currently resides in Brownwood, Texas. Serna owns Painting with Friends and is a self-taught artist. At an early age, Jeremy began working with pastels and it metamorphosized from there, “the next thing I knew I was airbrushing, using oils, acrylics and watercolors.” He studied immensely to get where he is today. Literature such as “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards drove his desire to practice, study, learn, and develop more defined artistic abilities. To further develop his skills, he attended several classes with Michael Holter. Serna continues to study and attend classes with well-known watercolor artist, Alvaro Castagnet.
Serna is represented in several cities in Texas including: Llano, Waco, Fredericksburg, and Canton as well as Eureka Springs, AR, Ventura, CA, and with several private collectors. He won the Overall Artist award in 2020 at the Stars of Texas Paint Off Competition. He spends many Saturday mornings teaching watercolor classes via zoom and invites people into his studio to learn and study as well. Jeremy’s teaching is at a good pace, well organized and informative. He encourages students to ask questions so they can grow and develop their skills as well.
Jeremy has developed a love for watercolor. His paintings are impressionistic, allowing the painting to evolve from what is recognizable to the eye. Serna says “Plein Air painting is the best form, life and nature are the best teachers. Creating brush strokes that tell the story of what is happening around me and keeping the painting loose is exhilarating.” Jeremy sets the tone of his day by sketching every morning with a brush. “I sketch every day to connect with what I see, interpret it in my brain and put it on paper. I paint the verb and not the noun.”