Art Muse Contest October 2016 Winners and Finalists

Thank you to judge Haidee-Jo Summers.

 

Here are the winners and finalists. Haidee-Jo has written a brief statement about each painting. Congratulations to everyone!

Also congratulations to Eugene Kuperman,
the winner of Haidee- Jo’s “Vibrant Oils” DVD.

Master Class Winner

James Crandall, “Fruit Vendor”

 

In my opinion this is a special painting that once seen will not be easily forgotten. A most worthy winner, this work appears at first glance to be highly detailed and yet is made up of the most beautiful abstract passages of shape and colour. You can take any section of this painting to make a terrific painting in it’s own right. Great drama is provided by the deep dark shadows which set off the fruit and vegetable crates with their highlighted edges and the glimpses of that mysterious enticing interior. The thoughtful pose of the figure provides narrative, and his head is given further emphasis by the placing of that bright light while the position of his arms connects him to the items on display and help to lead our eye around the painting. There is a softness and dream like quality to the finish due to James application of the paint and a wonderful brevity to the scraped back and softened edges.

Master Class Finalists

Kevin Courter, “Sunset Reflections”

 

A simple landscape subject made into an extra special painting by Kevin’s masterful use of colour. The whole scene is imbued with evening light and tranquillity, his approach so sensitive and restrained. The large tree to the left of center serves as an anchor to the whole piece, tying together the land and sky. That mere trickle of orange in the foreground is just enough and perfectly placed as a hint of the water in the marshes. A quiet unassuming subject and a lesson in subtlety and restraint.

Mary Maxam, “Sun Gold”

 

This is a painting of sheer exuberant joy. The subject is brought to life by the artists confident brushstrokes and bold use of colour. A humble subject of plants growing in pots but yet interestingly placed, are they inside or outside, on a windowsill perhaps? The background gives us hints and pleasingly leaves us to decide for ourselves. I adore the exuberant and suggestive mark-making and the use of thin and thick passages of paint and glowing colour. The personality of the artist shines through.

Jason Sacran, “Morning Song”

 

A brave move on the part of the artist to fill two thirds of the composition with the shadow area of the hillside with much of the remaining third a sky area that consists of only very subtle changes in colour temperature and tiny shifts in value. This all serves fantastically well to focus our attention on that small sliver of the painting, the very peak of the hillside which the morning sun has reached and in those few warm brief brushmarks we imagine a whole village bathed in sunlight. A quiet statement about a special quality of light rendered with great sensitivity, nothing is overstated. The winding road leads us into the landscape towards the sunlit peak aided by the vertical trees. I adore Jasons restraint and control in his use of colour, and those tiny touches of higher saturated colour to the left of the peak just above the dark silhouette of the treeline, hints of turquoise, lilac and orange. I’m pretty sure this is a Plein Air painting which to me makes it all the more remarkable as the light effect that Jason has managed to capture is so fleeting.

Ned Mueller, “Tying Up San Blas”

 

This captivating painting is so well designed and holds together with an orange/blue complementary colour scheme. Everything in the subject is connected and becomes a part of the greater whole – the figures, the boats, the foreground posts, even the land masses in the distance. There is so much life and action and movement in this painting. The rope on the foreshore makes a perfect lead in and the shadow of the man with the hat on the right hand side is a great touch. Clearly Ned has immense observation and drawing skills and can exploit values and counter-change to their full potential. Above all of the interest, detail and activity, the main subject here is the golden light, which the huge cast shadow on the left serves to emphasize.

Linda Alexander, “Peonies”

 

Better than real life, the flowers in this painting are like seeing a new and vibrant supercharged reality. The unusual use of an eye level viewpoint with the flowers lying down towards me rather than upright in a vase makes me look at the peonies in a new way. Linda’s use of light is extraordinary and somehow all the different stages of petals represented seem to have their own character of transparency and texture. The softness and delicacy of the petals and yet still the weight of the flowers, together with the artists clever use of reflected light and subtle colour changes make this an exceptional painting.

With special mention to Kathie Odom, Dee Kirkham, Rick Delanty and Karen Blackwood.

Emerging Artist Winner

Ginny Pitre-Hay, “Sitting Pretty in New Orleans”

 

This is such a wonderful painting, beautifully succinct in its capture of the charming subject. I fell head over heels in love with this painting. Light, simplicity, design, drawing, proportions, strong values, composition, colour temperature, this artist is clearly a very accomplished painter. One of the most difficult things to do in a painting of a group of figures like this is to simplify the depiction of a face, and Ginny has managed this beautifully. In my opinion she has said just enough to leave the viewer of the painting able to engage and this is no mean feat. There is just enough interest and variety in the background without competing with the foreground figures, and the crowded effect of the dresses all overlapping and continuing out of the edges of the canvas works so well.

Emerging Artist Gallery Representation Finalist

Zac Elletson, “Sunflowers and Fruit”

 

This is an ambitious still life arrangement, beautifully tackled by Zac, all held together by an extremely strong design and use of values. The eye is led around the subject and has so much interest to find throughout. No space in this painting has been left unconsidered or wasted. It’s a super composition with sophisticated use of edges.

Emerging Finalists

Greg Clibon, “Golden Hour”

 

This is a very accomplished painting and the artist has made good use of texture throughout with thick paint, and a dry brush just skipping across the surface together with some beautifully placed, confident marks. Greg has done a great job of desaturating the blue greys of the shadow areas of snow and the icy river in order to get that fantastic contrast of the warm evening light on the river bank. The house in the distance makes a terrific secondary focal point and has been simply stated. A modest subject painted with great interest and impact.

Meisha Grichuhin, “The Grandeur of One”

 

A simple unassuming landscape, beautifully brought to life with the artists sensitive hand. Meisha has kept a very careful control of colours here from the distant trees to the grassy foreground. The light foreground grasses against the dark area at the base of the tree provide a strong focal point with the merest suggestion of branches providing further interest. The edges of the tree against the sky are rendered with subtlety and confidence. A masterclass in delightful understatement.

Rose Irelan, “The Wish”

 

The figure is so well drawn and the light in this painting is captivating. The artist has shown in this work a sophisticated understanding of colour subtleties and reflected light. More than technical competence however, Rose has succeeded in capturing mood and poetry in this painting. This is a very successful portrait painting.

Christie Hegarty, “Maybe Next Summer”

 

I kept being drawn back to this painting again and again, and really what greater praise is there? I found this painting to be an original and captivating idea. There is a narrative here, we can’t help but wonder about the story behind it. The subject is nostalgic, the composition quirky and personal and the use of colour bold. I love to see a challenging subject like this being tackled and Christie has pulled it off with great individuality.

A special mention to Jose Pardo, Chris Baker, Annette Power, Susan Elwart Hall, Lisa Zook, Nora Dempsey, Lynn Ward, Barbara Schilling, Barry Koplowitz, and Dario Falzon!

Budding Artist Winner

Randy Sprout, “Our Heroes Tonight”

 

This painting has a terrific feeling of the heat and movement of the vast spreading fire and the battle of the lone figure against it. The limited colour palette is used to great effect, and I love the range of drawn marks against the thin paint and thick opaque passages. A really exciting and successful work.

Budding Finalist

Finalist Pat Posillico, “Dusk at Devils Thumb”

 

Pat has made great use of atmospheric perspective in this landscape painting and those distant mountains really do feel far away. Pat has also done a great job of mixing a range of natural greens, and the sky is well reflected in the water. The fence post in the foreground leads the eye into the composition and I particularly like the marks used by the artist to render the foreground grasses.

Merit Award Winner

While Kelley and Kim don’t have any say in who wins an award each month (that’s entirely up to the judges), they do get to choose an artist who they feel merits recognition. This month’s Merit Award goes to…

Lauren Kuhn, “Ocean Song”

 

How many times have you heard just paint shapes? Well, Lauren Kuhn has done just that. Her piece, , is all about the the varied shapes, beautiful play of colors and lights vs. darks. That it is a painting of a wave is an added bonus.Lauren takes us on a playful, rollercoaster ride that captures all the action in an wonderfully abstracted way. Well done! Kim and Kelley