Artistic Excellence 2015 | Third Place: Camille Engel


Camille Engel, Home Sweet Home, oil, 22 x 28.

Camille Engel, Home Sweet Home, oil, 22 x 28.

What inspired your winning entry? My husband and I have created a bird sanctuary around our home and my art studio. It’s a place where we love the dynamic cast of bird characters that crowd around our feeders as seasons change. We set up various housing situations for the birds, and Carolina wrens, in particular, love to nest in man-made objects. Each year they typically nest near our doors, giving us a front-row seat to the theater of nature.

How would you describe your style? American contemporary realism.

What artists, living or deceased, have influenced your work? I am most influenced by the Dutch masters, but I believe that I am also influenced by every artist’s work that I come in contact [with], whether they are realists or not.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be? If money were no object, I would love to get paid to throw elaborate parties. My friends call me “Martha Stewart.” I love to cook and create fun, pretty, and delicious foods. If I’m not painting, I’d always be creating.

What is one thing you will never paint? My desire is to paint beauty. I will never intentionally paint something disturbing to viewers. I come from an abusive background, and learning to find and be grateful for the beauty in the simplest things pulled me out of a depression caused by the abuse. For me, every morning is a fresh opportunity to find extraordinary joy in the most ordinary things. With each brush stroke, I seek to communicate beauty.

What’s the most meaningful recognition you’ve received for your artwork? When someone spends their hard-earned money to purchase one of my paintings.

What galleries represent your work? Dean Day Gallery, Houston, TX; J.A. Wily Gallery, Naples, FL; Lovetts Gallery, Tulsa, OK; Rare Gallery, Jackson, WY; Sugarman-Peterson Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.

Featured in the December 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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