Welcome to Elora en Plein Air

May 19 to 22, 2022


Welcome to our annual Elora Plein Air Festival.   After two years  of pandemic related shut downs we are so delighted to greet spring with our paint out again!

Artists are invited to capture the charm and warmth of our region. Discover heritage buildings and historic villages; dramatic gorges, lazy rivers and hidden streams; rolling hillsides and picturesque farms. 

We’re waiting here for you!

Things for everyone to do during the festival

  • Thursday, May 19th through Saturday, May 21st discover artists painting outdoors in Fergus, Elora and surrounds.  You may even find them out at night painting Nocturnes.
  • Friday, May 20th and Saturday, May 21st in the afternoons – Plein Air Painting Demo: Artist and teacher Sam Paonessa will show and explain the process and technique of painting ‘en plein air’. Join us on the walking bridge in Elora
  • Friday, May 20th in the evening –  Film on a Plate – at the Highland Rugby Club, 160 Albert St. W., Fergus N1M 2W5: A fun film, food and drink all for one great price. Go to www.SensationalElora.com for tickets.
  • Saturday, May 21st, 9 am through 1 pmFergus Quick Paint: A fast-paced and fun competition -the artists have 2 hours, from 9 am to 11 am to complete a  painting and submit it for the Quick Paint judging. This year’s event happens in the beautiful downtown core of Fergus where artists will capture the street scenes and river views.  The ‘home base’ in Templin Gardens where the judge awards the Best Quick Paint prize and a ‘Pop-Up’ show and sale follow.
  • Sunday, May 22nd, 2 pm through 5 pmElora Plein Air Festival Show and Sale: This is the culmination of the artists’ efforts and they are ready to share and celebrate. In the galleries, there’s a buzz of excitement as people come in to view and buy the beautiful works the artists created over the last 3 days.  Meet the artists, discover a piece you can’t resist, vote for your favourite for the People’s Choice award, and just enjoy the show!
  • The presentation of awards and winners will be announced at 2:15.


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Show and Sale

Sunday, May 22nd  2PM – 5 PM at Elora Centre for the Arts
75 Melville Street, Elora

  • Two galleries filled with art created en plein air over the last 3 days will be for show and sale and the place will be buzzing with energy and excitement.
  • Enjoy the show, meet the artists and perhaps find a piece that will go home with you!
  • You can vote for your favourite in the show between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m.
  • Our 2022 judge, Sam Paonessa, will present the awards for works  at about noon.  The presentation of the People’s Choice award will follow at approximately 3:00 p.m.
1st Place winner receives $1000.
2nd Place winner $500.
3rd Place winner $300.
There is also a $200. People’s Choice Award

Best Nocturne $100.
Best rural/agricultural subject $100
Best town subject $100
Best garden $100
Best architectural subject $100
Best river, fishing or bridge subject $100
Best heritage subject $100

Congratulations to the 2019
Award-Winning Artists:

First Prize: Dalibar Dejanovic
Second Prize: Stuart Godfrey
Third Prize: Julie Ponese
First PrizeDalibar Dejanovic
Second PrizeStuart Godfrey
Third PrizeJulie Ponese
Best Architectural SubjectShannon Reynalds
Best Garden SubjectMichael Brennon
Quick Paint WinnerVera Kisseleva

More Winners!

Best Architectural Subject: Shannon Reynalds
Best Garden Subject: Michael Brennon
Quick Paint Winner: Vera Kisseleva
Dick Marvin & Vera KisselevaQuick Paint Winner

More Winners!

Best Noctourne: Elaine Guitar
Best Bridge: Grant Lounsbury
Best Heritage: Layne Van Loo
People's Choice WinnerGrant Lounsbury
Best NocturneElaine Guitar
Best BridgeGrant Lounsbury
Best HeritageLayne Van Loo

Meet our judge, Sam Paonessa

Sam Paonessa is a professional artist who has enjoyed a creative career spanning over 35 years. He graduated from the Ontario College of Art in Toronto and was awarded the Canadian Studio Scholarship Award. He was then hired by one of Canada’s largest commercial art studios, TDF Artists, where he worked as an illustrator.
He subsequently joined Hallmark Cards Canada in the role of illustrator and later art director. Hallmark provided him with valuable experience and the opportunity to create a wide variety of products for the retail market. Over 600 paintings were reproduced during his time with Hallmark.

He is a member of the Ontario Society of Artists and Ontario Plein Air Society.
He has won several awards for his plein air work in various competitions. Specifically, ‘Best Water’, and ‘Best Nocturne’ in the bi-monthly Plein Air Salon Competition. His paintings have been featured in exhibitions at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, the Riverbrink Museum in Queenston, and The Frederick Horsman Varley Museum in Unionville.

His coin design, Canadian Icons, was chosen as a finalist for the Royal Canadian Mint 2017 150th Collection commemorating Canada’s anniversary as a nation.

Paonessa’s pursuit of excellence is being rewarded, as he has gained the attention of fine art collectors, both corporate and private across North America and abroad. His paintings are included in permanent collections such as the Canadian Insurance Bureau of Canada, Hallmark Card Fine Art Collection, Husky Canada, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, the Museo di Cultura in Pescara, Italy, and the collection of Kenneth Thomson.


Stan Jaychuk, Honorary Chair

Elora’s Stan Jaychuk is known as an unwavering supporter of local arts and a lover of literature. Unknown to many is that he is an award-winning portrait and plein air painter.

As a young man, Stan found an artistic mentor and tutor, Hazel Wellington (Devereaux), a close friend of A.Y. Jackson from the Group of Seven. His portrait of Chief Treetop from the Six Nations won the W. Ross MacDonald Award presented to him by A.Y. Jackson.

It was as a business systems analyst he met his lifetime influence, his beloved wife, Shirley Dilworth, while visiting a client company office. An artist herself, she encouraged his painting, and eventually, they moved out of Toronto to be surrounded by the rhythms of nature in a community of creative people where he could “capture the essence of what speaks to him” and “allow the moment to guide him”.

When Beverley Cairns and Barb Lee started making their dream of a plein air festival a reality, Stan’s enthusiasm and encouragement sustained them. Stan sponsored the First Prize award the year the Elora Plein Air Festival launched.

Grand River Tour


Aerial video of the Grand River running through the beautiful towns of Elora and Fergus Ontario.

Produced by Tivoli Films Inc.


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