Emerging Artists | Karina Puente, Vicki McMurry, and Jeff Horn

By Bonnie Gangelhoff

Karina Puente

breathing by karina puente

California painter Karina Puente just graduated from high school, but her fine arts career is already launched. This fall Puente travels east to Massachusetts to commence studies at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In the past year she garnered top honors throughout the state for her paintings. In April she received a first-place award and scholarship in the 2002 Emerging Young Artist Award Competi-tion. The prestigious award is part of a statewide competition sponsored by California Alliance of Art Educators. The following day the Santa Maria Arts Council selected her as its first-place scholarship winner. She has also twice won the American Vision Award given by the Otis School of Design in Los Angeles.

Puente uses the human form to express her burgeoning artistic visions. “There are certain topics that compel me—humanity, the nature of duality, and the intimacy of relationships,” she says. “I am dedicated to improving the communication of feeling, emotion, and ideas through innovative experimentation and life-long practice.” Puente is represented by Judith Hale Gallery, Los Olivos, CA.

Vicki McMurry

cambria coast by vicki mcmurry

Vicki McMurry grew up under the big skies of West Texas, where she saw the clouds roll in before they appeared overhead. The land was flat and the wide-open spaces allowed her to see vast distances. Today landscapes dominate her artworks. “I want viewers to feel the same sense of vast spaces,” she says. “And ultimately I want to take them on the glorious ride of life itself.” Her favorite times of day to paint are early morning and evening. “I like the calmness then,” says the Texas-based painter. “I want paintings to remind people that life can be hectic, but they should stop and enjoy the landscape.” For inspiration she looks to contemporary painters John Asaro and Dan McCaw. McMurry is a member of Alla Prima International, an organization of women landscape painters from around the country. She is represented by Jack Meier Gallery, Houston, TX; Riverbend Fine Art Gallery, Marble Falls, TX; Prellop Fine Art Gallery, Salado, TX; Principle Gallery, Alexandria, VA; Brazier Fine Art, Richmond, VA; Smith-Klein Gallery, Boulder, CO; and Wright Gallery, Cape Porpoise, ME.

Jeff Horn

crystal cove by jeff horn

Jeff Horn discovered the joys of plein-air painting about eight years ago. “I got hooked,” says the former figurative artist. “In plein-air painting you experience the outdoors with all your senses—the sun, wind, and rain. I like getting the feel of a place as much as I like looking at it.” His switch from figurative to landscape work has paid off with recognition. These days you can count on Horn’s name to pop up regularly on the awards roster of various art shows. For example, in the past two years he has won major honors at the annual Oil Painters of America show, Carmel Art Festival, California Art Club’s Gold Medal Exhibition, and Laguna Plein-Air Painting Invitational competition. A native of Southern California, Horn paints the canyons and seascapes close to his home with an intimate knowledge and sense of place. He believes that painters today should focus on draftsmanship and gaining a classic art education no matter what direction or style concerns them. Horn is represented by MJW Fine Art, Balboa Island, CA.

Featured in September 2002