October 15, 2007


Acrylic 70th Anniversary Competition Winners

by Karen Stanger Johnston

First Place: Amy Guidry

Out for a Run
by Amy Guidry, 2006, acrylic, 20 x 24. Courtesy Jenkins Connelly Gallery, New Orleans, Louisiana.

"I choose my subjects based on their features and expressions, but I also choose on a more intuitive level,"€ says Louisiana artist Amy Guidry. "Psychologically speaking, the people I choose to paint resonate with me." Guidry says she never does preliminary sketches or paintings because she already has the image worked out in her head. After making a sketch of her composition on canvas primed with gesso, she paints a rough first layer. When that is dry, she lays in the details. "I work with the eyes first because they are my favorite part, and they reveal so much, especially because of their reflective quality," she says.

Read about the semifinalists in each category, and vote, by October 30, for the Readers' Choice competition winner on our message board, Artists' Forum.

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Colored Pencil
Grand Prize Winner
Mixed Media

Guidry earned a bachelor's degree in visual arts from Loyola University of New Orleans, where she was awarded the Loyola University Art Scholarship. Recently her work won second place in the Smithtown Township Arts Council 31st Juried Fine Arts Exhibition and appeared in the Winners' Showcase Exhibition. It was also featured in the juried September competition at the Alexandria Museum of Art, in Louisiana. This past fall, Guidry participated in an all-female artist invitational show titled "10 Women/10 Perspectives in Texas"€ at the Arts Alliance Center, in Clear Lake, Texas. She is represented by Jenkins Connelly Gallery, in New Orleans.

For more information on Guidry, visit her website at www.amyguidry.com, or e-mail her at .

Second Place: Bryana Fleming

Spinning Lesson
by Bryana Fleming, 2006, acrylic, 48 x 36.

Bryana Fleming's paintings are based on photographs she takes of subjects that inspire her when she travels. Spinning Lesson evolved from a photo the California artist took while on a two-month trip to South America. "I observed this scene on an island in a lake in Peru,"€ explains Fleming. "I was on a rooftop looking down on a courtyard, and I saw these women sitting on the ground in an 'L' shape. The older one was spinning wool and a young girl was watching her. The women there are constantly spinning wool, even while they're walking. They know the island paths so well they don't even look where they're going. I loved the way the cement was broken apart into odd shapes and the juxtaposition of the green, red, and pink next to the bleached-out sand color of the cement. I loved the composition and the fact that the scene takes place in Peru; it's just a moment, immortalized in a painting. I'm interested in depicting worldly cultures, images that tell a story unfolding."

Fleming graduated with distinction from the California College of the Arts, in San Francisco, receiving a bachelor of fine arts degree in illustration in 2004. She has undertaken several commissions, including a 50'-x-10' mural painted on location for the Playa Fiesta Hotel, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

For more information on Fleming, visit her website at www.bryanafleming.com, or e-mail her at .

Third Place:

All Hallows Eve
by Joseph Russ, 2006, acrylic, 32 x 42.

North Carolina artist Joseph Russ has most recently been working from slides taken in small towns near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, in the spring and fall. Russ likes to start with the background of a painting and work his way forward. He says the foreground takes the longest to paint and is the most challenging, and he knows a painting is finished when the foreground works. The artist uses a combination of Winsor & Newton and Dr. Ph. Martin's watercolors. He always works on Bainbridge No. 80 cold-pressed illustration board, and his brushes are Winsor & Newton's Cotman series.

Russ earned a master of fine arts degree from the State University of New York, in Albany, in 1975. He was featured in American Artist magazine in 1999. His paintings have won awards in a number of juried shows, including the Charlotte County Art Guild's National Arts Exhibit, in Punta Gorda, Florida, in 1998; the Bryant Gallery National Juried Show, in New Orleans in 2000; and the American Landscape Exhibition, in Santa Cruz, California, in 2002. Russ's work has appeared in many other group exhibitions and in solo shows at Capricorn Gallery, in Bethesda, Maryland.

For more information on Russ, e-mail him at .

More Semifinalists

Danny Babineaux

by Danny Babineaux, 2007, acrylic, 20 x 16.

Florida artist Danny Babineaux says he is moved by the chiaroscuro effects of old masters such as Rembrandt and Caravaggio. "I love how light and dark play against and with one another,"€ Babineaux says. Traditions, like many of his still lifes, was painted from his imagination without a setup or a separate preliminary drawing. Babineaux painted in oils for many years, avoiding acrylics because they dried too quickly. After discovering a new way of glazing, however, he now uses acrylics almost exclusively.

Self-taught for 20 years, Babineaux received an associate degree in art in 2006 from Miami Dade College, in Florida. His works are widely exhibited and are in private collections in five countries. One of his paintings won first place in a 2006 show at Columbia University, in New York City.

For more information on Babineaux, visit his website at www.dannybabineaux.com, or e-mail him at .

D.J. Berard

The South Side of Howell Island
by D.J. Berard, 2004, acrylic, 48 x 72.

"I love working on large canvases,"€ says Arizona artist D.J. Berard. "They give me freedom to move while I paint, to use large brushes that control the fluid acrylics I use. On larger canvases, images, house corners, small pieces of a landscape seem more important, more dramatic. But in order to capture the light and shadow, the feeling of the place I am painting, I have to work from photographs."

Berard says photographing what he wants to paint is often difficult and time consuming. To reach the location for this painting, he hiked for an hour and a half in the Missouri summer heat, battling bugs and heavy humidity. "When I got to the beach, the river breeze blew away the bugs and I could smell the wildflowers and wild strawberries,"€ the artist recalls. "The beach was clean and smelled rich and earthy. For an upcoming show, I had been looking for a landscape that explorers Lewis and Clark might have seen on their trip west. This beach would have been a likely landing place, just a few miles south of St. Charles. They might have spent their first night here after leaving the city."

For more information on Berard, visit his gallery's website at www.visiongallery.org, or e-mail him at .

Clare E. Candelori

by Clare E. Candelori, 2006, acrylic, 40 x 30.

"I strive to create an unusual design and composition that will capture the viewer's emotions,"€ says Florida artist Clare E. Candelori. "I want an element of surprise and interest to create that 'wow' factor. The most challenging part of the painting process is deciding on the colors and style of the background that will make the image pop."

Candelori says she enjoys doing portraits of birds and people and her camera is always with her. After cropping her chosen image on the computer, she prints it and makes an up-scaled drawing that she then transfers to canvas or paper. She usually works on 24''-x-30" gallery wrap canvas because it is the right size for art competitions and is a comfortable size to hang and sell, but she painted this picture on a 40"-x-30" canvas because she wanted it to stand out in size. "I use gallery wrap because it produces a wraparound continuance and form," the artist says.

After retiring from a 33-year business career, Candelori officially launched her art career in 2005. Her work is in private collections both nationally and internationally and has been juried into numerous art competitions and exhibitions throughout the country.

For more information on Candelori, visit her website it www.candelorifineart.com, or e-mail her at .

The Grand Old Cypress of Prairie Creek
by Jeanette Chupack, 2007, acrylic, 20 x 30.

When Jeanette Chupack moved to Florida from Vermont in 2003, she joined a kayaking club. "Kayaking gives me access to a natural world of water, vegetation, and wildlife that I would not otherwise see,"€ Chupack says. "This has become my passion, and painting these pristine places before they are developed is a priority. Hopefully, through my paintings, I can make people more aware of the beauty that needs to be preserved."

This painting is part of a series for which the artist used her kayaking and camping skills as well as digital photography. "I purchased a digital camera that allows me to photograph from the kayak and even underwater. It fits into the pocket of my life jacket,"€ she says. "The camera is essential because it's impossible to paint from the kayak."

Chupak earned a bachelor of fine art degree from Syracuse University, in Syracuse, New York, and a master of fine art degree from Indiana University. in Bloomington. Her work has appeared in many competitive and invitational shows since 1963 and was chosen by the White House Historical Association to represent the State of Vermont in the 2001 White House Calendar.

For more information on Chupack, e-mail her at .

Bethany Windham Engle

The Sun Porch
by Bethany Windham Engle, 2007, acrylic, 16 x 12.

A retired art teacher, Alabama artist Bethany Windham Engle creates work in acrylic, graphite, colored pencil, and ink, inspired by the farmland and coastal regions of her home state. Windham Engle first conceives each piece abstractly in terms of form, composition, value, and mood. She then takes numerous photographs of the subject before choosing the image she will work from. Unlike many artists, Windham Engle finishes each area of the painting before moving on to the next, and finds that Liquitex Soft Body Acrylics and Golden Fluid Acrylics are especially suited to this method. She says that working on a smooth surface facilitates the rendering of details, as does the use of short-handled round and liner brushes.

Windham Engle has bachelor of fine art, masters, and doctoral degrees from the University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa, where she began teaching at age 23. Her work is in many private, college, and university collections. She is represented by Herz Gallery, and the Northport Gazette Gallery, both in Northport, Alabama.

For more information on Windham Engle, visit her website at www.bethanywindhamengle.com or e-mail her at .

Paula B. Holtzclaw

At Day's End
by Paula B. Holtzclaw, 2007, acrylic, 24 x 30. Courtesy Providence Gallery, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Paula B. Holtzclaw's landscapes celebrate the inherent beauty of the Carolina Low Country. "My daily observations provide the subject matter for my artwork,"€ the North Carolina-based artist says. "Each day the sky is a little different, and these variations are in themselves an endless source of new material."€ She takes many photographs, coming back to the same area numerous times throughout the day to capture how the changes in light and shadow transform the scene. Although she has a general idea about how she will approach a painting, including the mood and primary focus, Holtzclaw doesn't have an exact picture of it in her head before she begins. "I work intuitively,"€ the artist says. "I dive right into the canvas, without preliminary sketches or layouts."€

Holtzclaw's paintings are in numerous private and corporate collections throughout the United States. Her work has been featured in Southwest Art, The Charlotte Observer, Charlotte Place, and Southern Anglers' Journal. She is represented by Fountainside Gallery, in Wilmington, and Providence Gallery, in Charlotte, both in North Carolina.

For more information on Holtzclaw, visit her website at www.paulabholtzclawfineart.com.

Private Property
by Paul Marsidi, 2007, acrylic, 20 x 24.

As a doctor and an avid traveler, Paul Marsidi never had much time to pursue his artistic inclinations until the events of 9/11/01 severely curtailed his travel plans. That Christmas, Marsidi started experimenting with the acrylic, oil, and watercolor paints his wife bought for him. He chose acrylic as his main medium for its quick-drying properties.

The Tennesse-based artist uses several reference photos and makes sketches to help him settle on a composition. Once he starts painting, he "draws"€ the outlines in burnt sienna and then fills them in with bright colors toned down with layers of transparent raw umber and raw sienna mixed with zinc white, leaving the highlights uncovered.

Marsidi is a member of the Memphis Germantown Art League and the Tennessee Art League. His paintings have received numerous awards in exhibitions around the country.

For more information on Marsidi, e-mail him at .

American Artist would like to thank the following sponsors for making our 70th Anniversary Competition a success:

Blick Art Materials
General Pencil
Hartford Fine Art & Framing
Jerry’s Artarama
Legion Paper
Savoir Faire

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The Grand old Cypress of Prairie Creek is a beautiful rendering of a beautiful place. I too have paddled past this piece of natural art.
Jeanette did a fabulous job capturing it.

Regis Good

I have kayaked Prairie Creek & Jeanette Chupack truly captures the solitude & serenity of the wilderness in her painting.
Mike Devlin

"The Grand old Cypress of Prairie Creek" - A tranquil scene, surrounding the old cypress stump. The new growth takes over... it is the way of the world. Nicely done.

Don McCumber

I paddle with Jeanette and friends. She did a great job of capturing the mood and lighting of the cypress creeks in SW Florida. There are so many layers of light, color and texture!

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