By Bonnie Gangelhoff
First Place Winner
What inspired your winning entry? Basically I am a landscape painter. I also paint the landscape of the mind. I always live in the world of dreams, and it was my strong desire to present a dream in my painting. Sometimes we understand the meaning of our dreams and sometimes not. In BLOSSOM OF DREAM, I used realistic as well as abstract forms in the sleeping lady to present her abstract and realistic feelings of love.
Do you come from an artistic background? Yes. I am very lucky because I was born into an artistic family. My father, Bhimraj R. Sawant, is a well-known artist and art teacher. I have been fascinated with his drawings from my early childhood. At the same time, I got inspiration and guidance from him. My elder brother, Rajesh B. Sawant, is an internationally acclaimed artist. From my early childhood, I used to see drawings by Rajesh and longed to draw like him.
Where did you study art? Basically, I studied painting under the guidance of my father and older brother. I completed my formal education in Nashik Kala Niketan’s Chitrakala Mahavidyalaya, in Nashik, India, and Sir J.J. School of Art in Mumbai, India.
What is your favorite subject matter and why? I love to paint portraits, landscapes, and figures. But in the last two years, I have been trying to mix portraits and landscapes together in compositions.
What is the most meaningful recognition you have received for your artwork? In my own country I have been honored with 40 state and national awards and seven scholarships. I have also received eight international awards. But in the Artistic Excellence competition I am honored with the first-place award. This is the most meaningful recognition I have ever received.
Future goals? It would make me happy if my art could touch the heart of each and every person in the world.
Featured in December 2011.