Artistic Excellence 2014 | First Place: Hiu Lai Chong


Hiu Lai Chong, Annapolis Racing, oil, 40 x 30.

Hiu Lai Chong, Annapolis Racing, oil, 40 x 30.

What inspired your winning entry? Annapolis is considered the sailing capital of the United States, and I often see sunset sailboat races on the Chesapeake Bay while sailing with my husband. Sometimes I’ll bring along my little paint box to do some small studies. It was a cloudy day, and the sky seemed to get darker earlier than usual. Sailors were getting ready to return to dock after a day of racing. All of a sudden, the sun broke through, and everything was lit up bright and golden. It was an amazing view. The crews were suddenly quiet, just taking in the moment, and watching the beautiful sunset on the glittering water. It was the most peaceful scene I’ve witnessed in this busy harbor. I was so captivated by the dramatic light, and I realized I had to act fast. I asked my husband to tack the boat around, and I was able to take a bunch of reference photos from different angles before the sun set behind the clouds again.

How does the painting fit in with the rest of your body of work? When I’m not traveling for plein-air events, I enjoy working on studio paintings. It gives me more time to think through the ideas and the painting process. ANNAPOLIS RACING is an example of this process.

Where did you study art? The Art Institute of Chicago.

What artists, living or deceased, have influenced your work? John Singer Sargent, Nicolai Fechin, Rembrandt, Joaquin Sorolla, and the California Impressionists. The list for living artists is getting longer—Richard Schmid, David Leffel, Carolyn Anderson, Robert Liberace, and many more.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? No matter how hard it is, always try to do your best; opportunities are there for the prepared person.

What galleries represent your work? McBride Gallery, Annapolis, MD; James J. Rieser Fine Art, Carmel, CA.

Featured in the December 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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