Portfolio | The Jurors’ Choice

Meet a sampling of the winners and finalists in Artists Magazine’s annual art competition

This story was featured in the February 2020 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art February 2020 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Each year our sister publication, Artists Magazine, conducts a major art competition that draws entries from around the world. The competition is divided into five categories, each of which is judged by a talented artist or other expert: Abstract/Experimental, Animal/Wildlife, Landscape, Portrait/Figure, and Still Life/Interior. We’re happy to present a selection of the winners and finalists in these categories. Enjoy the diverse works of these artists.

Michael Dumas
First Place: Animal/Wildlife

Michael Dumas, Flight of the Kestrel, oil, 8 x 12.

Michael Dumas, Flight of the Kestrel, oil, 8 x 12.

What inspired your winning entry? I do a lot of observational drawing in my sketchbook, often with several figures on the same page. FLIGHT OF THE KESTREL reflects that sort of free composition, but done as a fully planned and final painting. The flight posture for the painting came from my sketchbook and was refined using a museum-type specimen.
How would you describe your style? When I draw, I am not relying on color; it is the form of the object that is closely examined. To suggest things as being three-dimensional,
the drawing must be strengthened and exaggerated to some degree, and this gets carried over to the final painting. Because of this, my paintings are realistic, but I think of it as a heightened realism.
How did you first get interested in art? I can’t remember a time when I did not draw. I have a colored-pencil drawing of two robins that I drew when I was around 4 years old.
Where did you study art? I attended Humber College of Art and Design in Toronto, where I met master artist Lewis Parker. I spent a year studying only under him, and upon graduation, I served as his apprentice.
What have been some of the highlights of your career? Exhibiting my art in the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and with the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Nature in Art, the Suntory Museum of Art, and the European Museum of Modern Art.
What galleries represent your work? Algonquin Art Centre, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada; Buckingham Gallery of Fine Art, Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada; Picture This! Framing & Gallery, Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada; Gallery One, Mentor, OH; and www.michaeldumasart.com.

Tracy Lynn Pristas
Honorable Mention: Abstract/Experimental

Tracy Lynn Pristas, Attained Enchantment, acrylic/mixed media, 48 x 48.

Tracy Lynn Pristas, Attained Enchantment, acrylic/mixed media, 48 x 48.

What inspired your winning entry? My focus was how to strike a balance between aspects of landscape as subject matter and permitting the power of my painting materials and textures to read as a stand-alone topic. I played a great deal with complex color combinations and layered textures.
How would you describe your style? I like to work in several different styles. My approach to painting is a combination of learned and exploratory techniques and trusting my intuition.
How did you first get interested in art? In my second-grade classroom, I discovered that I could create and draw something from my own imagination instead of simply copying an image.
Where did you study art? I am a self-taught painter. The bulk of my learning was done in my Chicago art studio. I also took a handful of drawing and painting courses at Miami University, and I took four painting classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
What is your creative process like? Before I enter the studio, I quiet my mind with meditation and yoga. The key to painting, for me, is to make sure I am receptive. I want to be able to receive the creative impulses of what steps to take: what color combination to use, where to place a new mark, what materials to use.
What have been some of the highlights of your career? When people who work in a hospital where I have a commissioned painting on display contact me. They tell me that my painting helps them get through their workday. Also, having paintings in the movie The Break-Up and on the TV show Drop Dead Diva.
What galleries represent your work? www.painterpristas.com.

Michael T. Davis
Honorable Mention: Still Life/Interior

Michael T. Davis, The Art of Imagination, oil, 12 x 24.

Michael T. Davis, The Art of Imagination, oil, 12 x 24.

What inspired your winning entry? Originally, this painting was inspired by the chance arrangement of these objects on my end table. The seeming randomness of the objects were held together by a common theme, though. My father gave me the book Art of Imagination many years ago, and as I began to compose this painting, it became obvious to me that all the objects told the story of my journey as an artist.
How would you describe your style? My style is rooted in realism; however, my work is not about how real it looks, but how real it feels.
How did you first get interested in art? My interest in art began when I could first hold a pencil. My father was an art teacher. From an early age, I was copying from his collection of art books and drawings.
Where did you study art? I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from Shepherd University and then attended the Schuler School of Fine Art in Baltimore, MD. It was there, in one of the oldest ateliers in the country, that I really began to understand painting.
What is your creative process like? Creativity, for me, is one moment of inspiration surrounded by hours of work. Most of the time, the idea for one painting comes while I am working on another piece.
What have been some of the highlights of your career? Being included in the Art Renewal Center’s annual traveling show and having my painting THE SAUNTERER purchased by the Juliet Art Museum in Charleston, WV.
What galleries represent your work? Berkley Gallery, Warrenton, VA, and Mountain Trails Gallery, Jackson, WY.

Emily Lozeron
Finalist: Animal/Wildlife

Emily Lozeron, Ode to Joy, Sung by the Chickadee, acrylic, 16 x 60.

Emily Lozeron, Ode to Joy, Sung by the Chickadee, acrylic, 16 x 60.

What inspired your winning entry? As I was sitting in a field watching songbirds sing and fly through the wires of a fence, I thought that it was a shame that I wasn’t able to incorporate the sounds of nature in a painting. This painting is my attempt to combine audible and visual together. The strands of wire are like the staff on a sheet of music, and the birds and leaves are the notes to the music of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.
How would you describe your style? I like to have a painterly quality to my paintings, with a degree of realism.
How did you first get interested in art? I have been interested in art my entire life. It has been a way to express myself and to relieve stress.
Where did you study art? My art education has been a mixture of learning from people whom I admire and my own research. I have heard that it takes 10,000 hours to become a master of something. So every day, I make it a priority to paint.
What have been some of the highlights of your career? My paintings have been in the Birds in Art show at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, in Artists for Conservation’s juried shows, and a finalist in Southwest Art’s Artistic Excellence competition.
When you’re not creating art, what else do you enjoy doing? I love hiking and skiing and anything outdoors. I spend a lot of time trying to take in all the experiences around me.
What galleries represent your work? Berg Gallery, Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada; Peace Gallery North, Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada; KUBE Gallery, Fort Langley, British Columbia, Canada; and www.emilylozeron.com.

Susan Lucas
Finalist, Abstract/Experimental

Susan Lucas, Picnic Time, acrylic, 24 x 24.

Susan Lucas, Picnic Time, acrylic, 24 x 24.

What inspired your winning entry? As with most of my art, this painting refers to a memory of a place and time. The memory is a happy one, and I used a lot of playful gestures, saturated summer colors, and loose shapes to express that.
How would you describe your style? I paint the abstracted landscape. My intention is to express how a place feels, and to share that with the viewer. I use color, lines, gesture, and shape arrangements to show those feelings.
Where did you study art? I attended watercolor workshops with many excellent teachers, but I felt I was missing the basics, so I took a few years to study art at Virginia Intermont College and East Tennessee State University. For years I was inspired by instructors at the Springmaid Watermedia Workshops. Now I work every year with artist Katherine Chang Liu in California.
What is your creative process like? I use photos only to remind me of a place and time; I don’t refer to them when painting. My intention is to communicate mood with my memories, so I spend time planning the general design and colors, although nothing detailed. My process is often many-layered. I use line work and thin layers of color to provide information and to enrich the surface.
When you’re not creating art, what else do you enjoy doing? Being outdoors is both an inspiration and a pleasure to me. I also love travel, art museums, reading, and music, especially opera.
What galleries represent your work? 1514 Home/In Detail Interiors, Pensacola, FL; Parker Gallery, Saint Simons Island, GA; Anne Hunter Galleries, Santa Rosa Beach, FL, and New York, NY; and www.susanlucasart.com.

This story was featured in the February 2020 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art February 2020 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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