The setting sun illuminated Richmond Island as the Paint for Preservation wet paint auction drew to a close on July 9. And fittingly, Waterville artist Matthew Russ was voted by guests as the People’s Choice Award winner for his painting of Richmond Island. This was Russ’ second year winning the award, which carries a $250 prize. (He shared the award with Margaret Gerding in 2016), according to a news release from the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust.

Russ graduated from Colby College, majoring in studio art with a concentration in oil painting. He paints en plein air in all seasons and in all weather, exploring terrain from the foothills of western Maine to the islands of Penobscot Bay. He lives with his wife KC in Waterville, where he maintains a studio and works as a preparator for the Colby College Museum of Art. He is represented by Art Collector Maine.

The land trust’s 10th annual Paint for Preservation auction took place on Breakwater Farm Road. A few hundred friends and supporters, more than 70 volunteers, and 30 artists gathered to raise more than $75,000 toward conserving and caring for the natural lands that provide wildlife habitat, respite and recreational opportunities in Cape Elizabeth.

The artists had wonderful weather to paint en plein air (outdoors) throughout the weekend leading up to the auction of their “wet” artwork. Brett Cary’s Chimney Rock Food Co. served food, much of it sourced from Cape Elizabeth. Cul de Sax warmed up the audience with music, before Kaja Veilleux of Thomaston Place Auction Galleries led the crowd in lively bidding for the land trust’s only fundraising event of the year.