Honorable Mention: Mark Boedges, Vermont
What inspired your winning entry? This particular farm caught my attention because of the repeating geometric shapes and the strong morning light. I painted the structures and some of the surrounding greenery on location. Back in the studio I was faced with a common problem I’ve been having lately—what to do with the rest of it? I decided to paint the rocks and bushes that were there, but instead of a literal rendering, I choose to simplify these elements into more geometric shapes in an attempt to highlight the geometric forms I was seeing in the farm itself.
Where did you study art? I studied at the University of Colorado in Boulder for two years. I didn’t get a fine-art degree, but then I figured that probably wasn’t such a big loss. Instead, it gave me the time necessary to pursue art with more rigor and focus than I had been doing up until then. It helped to kick-start my pursuit.
What is one thing most people don’t know about you? I have raging internal tantrums when things aren’t going well. I’ve learned over the years to keep my mouth shut and push through. On the outside, I may appear calm and collected, but my inner critic isn’t merely uncompromising, he’s downright mean. So, the inner battle rages on at a fevered pitch. Such intense frustration, if controlled, can lend superb focus to a painting, and some of my best work has come as the result of this inner turmoil. However, that’s not to say it’s all that much fun.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? A quote from either John Carlson or Richard Schmid, I can’t remember [which], and I’m paraphrasing: “Paint what you see as accurately as you can, be true to your own vision, and your own personal style will necessarily appear.”
What is your pet peeve? Incorrect temperature relationships. I see it in a lot of artwork, and when it creeps up in my own work, I get quite frustrated. I spend considerable time trying to get and keep the color temperature relationships correct in order to achieve a truly authentic sense of light. It’s not always easy and requires focus and discipline.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you be? A musician—if I could ever get over my fear of performing. I’ve played the guitar longer than I’ve painted, and I have played the piano more recently.
What is one thing you will never paint? When I moved to Vermont, I swore I would never paint red barns. But I’ve learned to not strictly rule out any one thing as a potential subject. Gun to my head, though, I might say I will never paint rusted old tractors.
What’s the most meaningful recognition you’ve received for your artwork? I won the Grand Prize in the February/March 2012 issue of International Artist magazine. They didn’t tell me that my painting would also be on the cover. When I went to Barnes & Noble and saw my painting on the magazine, I was stunned.
What are your goals for the future? To keep painting and keep striving for that unique expression that I know is within me.
Featured in the December 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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