Art Muse Contest February Winners and Finalists




A huge Thank You to our judge, Kevin Courter and congratulations to our winners and finalists.



Master Class Winner, Mike Barr, Franklin to Flinders


Mike does a masterful job using subtle shifts in both temperature and value to create this mysterious street scene. He also has a good understanding of editing complex scenes down to their most basic elements to create a compelling painting.

Master Class Finalists:

David Griffin, Just West of Eden

Finalist: David Griffin - Just West of Eden. Along with it's beautiful tonal quality and painterly application of paint, David did a great job in capturing the dramatic light found in the desert.

Debra Huse, Island Tradewinds

Finalist: Debra Huse - Island Tradewinds. Not only did Debra do a wonderful job in conveying the energy of the sea & sky, but the movement of a fast moving sailing ship as well. Nicely done Debra.

Ned Mueller, Hanging in There

Finalist: Ned Mueller - Hanging in There. Ned does a wonderful job using the elements in the painting to move the viewers eye through the painting. His use of color reveals that beauty can even be found in old, hardworking fishing boats at rest.

James Crandall, Bootleggers

Finalist: James Crandall - Bootleggers. The looks on the faces tell the story of these Bootleggers. James does a great job in telling this story with simple but effective brush strokes. I also enjoyed the use of a single color to tell the story as well.

Emerging Artist Winner, Chris Benavides, Pioneer Daughter


Winner: Chris Benavides - Pioneer Daughter.  This piece simply tells a story that I want to know more about and the eyes of this young pioneer girl invites us into that story. What have those eyes seen? What has been her experience as a daughter of a Pioneer? I love being invited into a story and this painting does just that. Well done!

Emerging Artist Gallery Representation Finalist:

Arena Shawn, Elegance

Finalist: Arena Shawn - Elegance. This piece is a beautiful example of a classic figure painting with beautiful light and equally beautiful pose. Simple and beautifully executed. Well done Arena.

Carole Belliveau, Lunaria

Finalist: Carole Belliveau - Lunaria. I really enjoyed how Carole incorporated the traditional aspects of the figure and the abstract background with all it's energy to create a compelling piece of art. Great use of of what appears to be silver leaf as well.

Denise Antaya, Catching Light

Finalist: Denise Antaya - Catching Light.  Denise does a good job of conveying not only the cold, brisk day but the warmth of the sun as well.

Aaron Johnson, Winter Solitude

Finalist: Aaron Johnson - Winter Johnson - Winter Solitude. This painting has the appearance of being completed in about 15 minutes, and I mean that in the best possible way. Aaron did a great job in capturing this scene quickly and with paint strokes that are fresh and energetic. Well done Aaron.

Merit Award Winner

While Kelley and I don’t have any say in who wins an award each month (that’s entirely up to our judges), we do however, get to choose an artist who did not win an award but we feel entered work that merits recognition. This month’s Merit Awards goes to…

Christine Mercer Vernon, After Death, Life

Christine's After Death, Life piece is on the surface a beautiful and technically strong painting, however, dig a little deeper and discover that this artist has a lot to say about the cycle of life. The muted color palette supports the main idea with pops of white that keep the eye moving through the piece..Poetry in paint. Well deserved, Christine. 


March judge, Allan Duerr, co-publisher of Art of the West magazine . Enter and be eligible to win 1 of 3 Trekell gift certificates. 

Click here to enter TODAY.