AUBURN – Auburn’s Plein Air Paint Out finished Saturday with a quick paint contest that had this year’s ‘best of show’ artist testing her abilities.

Priscilla Portenier of Springview chose the M4 Sherman Tank at Legion Memorial Park for her quick paint subject.

Portenier: “I knew this would be a tough one to pick but I thought what the heck, I’m going to do it. … it’s all measuring.


"It’s how tall is it compared to how wide is it. The turret on top, how much is that compared to the rest? And it’s at an angle, so I have a corner that way and that way. You’ve got two line perspective. And the stars. Even the stars have to match up … you’ve got angles that way and that way and it’s all one color, so the only thing that helps you is shading the color.”

The tank, originally owned by the Nebraska National Guard, has been on display in Auburn since 1948.

Tim Hantula, a graphic designer from Blair, has been concentrating on painting the last year.

Hantula: “It’s an interesting town. Coming from Blair, which is roughly the same size in some ways, but we don’t have this. So it’s interesting how they’ve managed capture and keep some of the culture and then continue to try and build on it.”

Hantula won the artist choice award for his painting of the elevators at Julian.


Mary Gradoville, a retired Omaha art teacher, said it’s tough to fight the elements in Plein Air, but worth the challenge.

Gradoville: “Just get some paints, get yourself a little easel that you can take – you don’t even have to have an easel – just get out there and do it and be willing to make mistakes and keep trying and going along with it.”

Portenier’s best of show was the first painting she did for the Auburn Paint Out. It features a splash of “gold light on the trees” under overcast skies at Duck Creek.


Portenier: “Of course, as soon as I got set up, within five minutes the sun went behind a cloud and I lost it, but I had the memory of it. It’s impressionistic, you have the feel of it at the time you’re there with the gold light hitting the trees across the hill and the dark, dark water.

 New to this year’s paint out was a best of Auburn competition, which was won by Danny Sabra  of Omaha. Sabra also won the people’s choice award with The Main Drag.

Kori Abdouch, also an Omaha art teacher, won the quick paint contest with her work “The Right Side of the Tracks.”

Organizer Leslie Clark said there were 41 pieces judged and 15 were sold at the public art sale on Saturday.