Artistic Excellence 2013 | Meet the Finalists

This story was featured in the December 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art December 2013 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

Larisa Aukon, Rain, oil, 24 x 30.

Larisa Aukon, Rain, oil, 24 x 30.

Every year we receive thousands of entries in our Artistic Excellence competition. After culling the list to narrow the entries to the three winners and 10 honorable mentions, we are still left with many works and artists worthy of mention. Here we introduce you to a few of the more than 70 artists from our final round of judging.

Larisa Aukon believes that there is an inner pulse that runs through everything, something unseen but felt, and it’s her desire to translate that onto canvas in expressionistic landscapes, cityscapes, and florals. Denmark-born Bodil Bacciarini lives on the Central Coast of California. Her evocative portraits, landscapes, and figurative paintings range from tighter works to heavily textured, loose impressionism.

Hebe Brooks’ hyper-realistic works explore detail in fabrics and reflections as well as how the human brain experiences the world in flashes of images. Favorite subjects include the female figure draped in silks and still-life paintings that capture a second scene in reflective surfaces. Dean Buhler’s portraits in oil, charcoal, and graphite capture the dignity and personality of his human and animal subjects in tightly controlled realism that tapers to abstraction at the edges.

Camille Engel, Strike a Pose, oil, 16 x 20.

Camille Engel, Strike a Pose, oil, 16 x 20.

Realist painter Camille Engel pursues contemporary subjects and imagery with the age-old techniques attributed to the old masters. Her oeuvre comprises diverse subject matter and genres, from landscapes and still lifes to trompe l’oeil and animal portraits. Ellie Fuller has been fascinated with nature’s complexities since childhood. She paints highly realistic wildlife portraits in oil, using techniques she learned as a sign painter, etcher, and stained-glass restorer.

Although California-based artist Wendy Gordin is inspired by any beautifully lit scene, her first love is figurative work. Children at play are often the subject of her paintings. After retiring from a career in education, Donna Heslip now pursues her fine art full time. She works in soft pastels or oils to produce landscapes of the desert Southwest, still lifes, and animal portraits.

Born in Arizona, Peggy Immel traveled the world as the daughter of a career air-force veteran, always studying art. As an adult, she returned to the Southwest, where her landscape paintings are inspired by her love of the outdoors and her New Mexico home. Although Australian John McCartin only began painting full-time in 2002, his work has been compared to that of Hans Heysen and in 2011 it won the Grand Prize in International Artist’s Art Challenge. He works in a variety of media to create impressionistic pastoral landscapes, still lifes, and portraits.

Hebe Brooks, Coffee Time in the Serengeti, oil, 20 x 30.

Hebe Brooks, Coffee Time in the Serengeti, oil, 20 x 30.

Born in South Korea, Doohong Min moved to California to study art in 1999. His landscapes, still lifes, portraits, and figurative works are strongly inspired by 16th- and 17th-century artists, such as Caravaggio and Rembrandt. Cindy Sorley-Keichinger says that being a self-taught artist has freed her from inhibiting rules about how painting should be done. She paints realistic wildlife and figurative works, landscapes, and still lifes in acrylic, oil, and gouache.

Abigail VanCannon is interested in portraying people in their environments. Her figurative works, landscapes, and still lifes—often set in the 1950s—hold the viewer’s gaze long enough to access the beauty often overlooked in everyday moments. —Laura Rintala

Featured in the December 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art December 2013 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

 


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