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Gollaher Painting Of Mississippi River Wins Two Top Honors; Guild Members Spencer, Rohlfing Capture Multiple Awards

The Ste. Genevieve Art Guild’s 15th annual Plein Air regional painting competition doled out $3,400 in prizes — with four artists dominating the week.

The competition and related art sale and show were for the first time based out of the Art Center and Art Museum building — formerly the Ste. Genevieve Museum — on the Courthouse Square. The art guild is in the process of turning the county-owned property into a place to showcase and teach the arts.

Plenty of art was featured there last week, and four artists were giving lessons in how to succeed by earning three awards each from the 19 total awards.

Artists worked outdoors — “en plein aire,” as the French term it — both on their own and in timed or location-based paint-outs. The competitive event took place over four days beginning Wednesday, September 25, and concluding with shows on both Saturday night and Sunday.

Former Ste. Genevieve Art Guild member Derek Gollaher of Farmington took Best of Show and People’s Choice for the same painting, “The River,” a scene featuring the Ste. Genevieve-Modoc Ferry at Little Rock Landing that he captured in oil paints.    

Pastels again scored high with this year’s judge, St. Louis resident Allen Kriegshauser, who bestowed awards on art guild members Michelle Spencer, Tracy Rohlfing, and Dee Ann Ducote.

Spencer and Rohlfing both garnered three awards each, but Spencer took the coveted $500 Dorothy “Dot” Uding Memorial Award, which was open to all 22 participants.

The Uding family has been supporting the Ste. Genevieve Plein Air Competition for a decade. It was begun in 2009 by Dot’s children as a way of honoring her and her love of painting outdoors. That the Uding family have been sustaining sponsors for ten years has earned the gratitude of the plein air event organizers and plein air artists alike.

Teresa Vaughn, an art guild patron and Dot’s daughter-in-law, brought one of Dot’s paintings to Sunday’s reception. The painting depicts colorful flowers and a gateway, and was painted opposite to the scene suggested by her art instructor. Vaughn saw this as a tribute to those artists who have their own vision, and see other choices than those presented to them.This perspective was shared by Spencer, who so loved the hospitality at Stella and Me Cafe that she stayed to paint the back yard’s boat, camper, trees, etc. — along with a view directly opposite the cafe: bright flowers blooming against a row of doors. The similarity in this scene to that chosen by Dot so long ago wasn’t lost on Vaughn, who congratulated the tearful Spencer on the award, her third for the event.    

In an attempt to encourage guild members to try plein air painting, the Ste. Genevieve Art Guild offers a “Rookie” award for first-timers. This year, new member Rohlfing was picked by the judge for what he termed a “sweet” painting of a field of soybeans titled “Yellow Fields Forever.”

Rohlfing had a stong start for a newcomer, also garnering a second place for the same painting, and another selection for a purchase award of the Main Street Inn on Saturday.    

The complete list of awards for this event follows:

General Awards

Best of Show — Derek Gollaher for Oil, “The River.”

People’s Choice — Derek Gollaher for Oil, “The River.”

Dorothy “Dot” Uding Memorial Award — Michelle Spencer for Pastel, “Cocks Comb at the Gate.”


First place — Marty Coulter for Oil, “Silver Top Sheds.”

Second place — Julie Wiegand for Oil, “Hello Beautiful Willow.”

Third place — Derek Gollaher for Oil, “Courthouse Square.”

Honorable mention — Mike McClure for Acrylic, “Feeding Time,” and Marty Coulter for Oil, “North Gabouri Creek.”


First place — Gary Beazley for Watercolor “Silver Top.”

Second place — Tracy Rohlfing for Pastel, “Yellow Fields Forever.”

Third place — Mike McClure for Watercolor, “Train on Time.”

Honorable mention — Dee Ann Ducote for Pastel, “Old Southern Hotel,” and Gary Beazley for Watercolor, “Kiel Schwent House.”

Ste. Genevieve Art Guild Member Awards

Bette Geraghty Memorial Award — Michelle Spencer for Pastel, “Shadow Dancing.”

First-time Plein Air “Rookie” Award — Tracy Rohlfing for Pastel, “Yellow Fields Forever.”

Purchase Awards

September 25 at 64 N. Second St. — Michelle Spencer for Pastel.

September 26 at Silver Top — Marty Coulter for Oil Painting.

September 27 at Twilight on the Square — Gary Beazley for Watercolor.

September 28 at Main Street Inn — Tracy Rohlfing for Pastel.

Purchase awards sponsors were the Ste. Genevieve Herald, Susie Johnson, Dr. Susan O’Donnell and Donna Marler.

The Ste. Genevieve Plein Air Painting Event is an annual enterprise sponsored by the Ste. Genevieve Art Guild, with financial assistance from the Ste. Genevieve County Community Foundation, the Dorothy “Dot” Uding Memorial Fund and generous private donors. Several volunteers help in making the event possible, said guild president Carolyn Bach.

(Information from a release from the Ste. Genevieve Art Guild.)

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