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    June 2017 Finalists

    June 2017 Judge: Susan Faust

    "When I look at art, I always want to see something that I have never seen before."
    — Susan Faust

    >> Read more about this month's judge, professional artist Susan Faust.

    Pianist (Best in Show) by  Valeriya LakrisenkoBEST IN SHOW: Pianist by Valeriya Lakrisenko. Judge's comment: This painting is exquisitely elegant. It has everything that works. There is such a strong emotional component to this work. Not only is it beautifully painted but it is painted in a way that supports the strong emotion of the subject. The rich dark of the piano with deep color is beautifully painted and holds that figure perfectly in his emotion. The painting of the figure is so strong, so fluid and masterfully painted. The abstract quality of the composition is breathtaking. It is a magnificent piece.

    Bottle Nest by Bonnie Bailey-ArdenBottle Nest by Bonnie Bailey-Arden. Judge's comment: I even like the title of this painting. It is a nest and it is so pleasant and lovely! It invites me to stay and relax into the softness of color and the wonderful textures. Values, composition and color are spot on. I love the negative spaces around the background and the partially drawn bottle. Fabulous drawing! The color relationships are just right. It is organic and has a lovely soft energy. This is a beautiful, exquisitely executed painting.

    Absolutely No Staples by Alan WylieAbsolutely No Staples by Alan Wylie. Judge's comment: This is a wonderful composition. That strong dark at the bottom going up through the figures is a great anchor to the lovely banquet of color and shapes to the right. Those large light shapes are perfect to break up some of that space. There is an abstract quality to the shapes and construction that is so good. It is beautifully executed. The color placement and realationships are spot on. There is a balance and rhythm to this painting created by pieces of color, value and temperature that is astonishing considering the complexity of the subject. Wow, well done!

    Vessel by Oscar Manuel VargasVessel by Oscar Manuel Vargas. Judge's comment: When I look at art I always want to see something that I have never seen before. I was immediately drawn to this piece. It isn't just because of the subject. Everything about it is very unique. The drawing is so good. The horse feels alive but perhaps of another world. The smudges and ghost marks allow me to see the painting on its journey to this final place and I love that. It is masterful in every way. The construction of the individual elements create a spacial world that moves way beyond the confines of the surface. Colors and composition are great. I love that rich blue with the grays. But this all just supports the opportunity to visit the private internal world of the artist. It is mysterious and beautiful.  It has energy. Wow. I love it.  It takes me somewhere new and for a while I share that world.

    Bushbury Farm by Sam HallBushbury Farm by Sam Hall. Judge's comment: I love the strength and energy of this landscape painting. It hooked me in immediately. It has such a strong sense of "place." Those trees are beautifully drawn and the perspective supports that feeling of power and beauty. The colors are so dynamic and once I got beyond the trees and sky and color I loved exploring the surprises in all of the detail. I love the colors and the light. This is a wonderful painting. It has such a strong personal style.

    Blackburnian Gold by Candy McManimanBlackburnian Gold by Candy McManiman. Judge's comment: This little gem of a painting feels as though it is an intimate glimpse of not only the bird but the artist. I feel like it is painted with love and admiration for the subject. The delicate toes, the glowing feathers around her face and the eye are beautifully painted. I feel like we are honored to have a glimpse into a a very special world when I look at this little beauty. The green of the background is rich and holds the subject so softly. The painting breathes. Values, color and composition all work very well.

    Red in the Sun by Heather Arenas Red in the Sun by Heather Arenas.. Judge's comment: The brush strokes and immediacy of this painting make me drool. The construction of the space is full of variation but is anchored by all those verticals. The color and temperature changes are spot on. The painting of the figure is lovely, especially the face. The cools are a perfect balance to the warmth. As warm as this painting is ---that red hair just is the show stopper! Well done! Such a strong piece.

    Together by Laurie BarmoreTogether by Laurie Barmore. Judge's comment: This is a very strong piece. It is bold, and has a ton of energy. I like the color combinations and the variation in the lines. It is earthy and organic and still has variation in edges and color. Just the right balance of control and spontaneity!

    Spring is Springing Spring is Springing by Deborah Tilby. Judge's comment: I am not sure if this is a plein air painting but it has everything that I look for in a piece painted on location. It feels very organic. The simple composition works and allows me time to soak up the wonderful winter colors. The violet grays are beautiful and make the greens pop out just enough to feel the winter light.  I like the suggestions of the trees and sheep. It is just enough and still gives the whole painting energy. I want to be there in that peace and to feel that air. The water is so well done. A lovely painting.

    Song, Itself by Beverly ToddSong, Itself by Beverly Todd.  Judge's comment: The mark making in this abstract is strong and rich. There is just enough revealed, just enough spoken. The lost and found marks and strong color, so well placed, create a lovely rhythm. This is a lovely abstract!

    Ocean Lights by Leslie SealeyOcean Lights by Leslie Sealey. Judge's comment: The mood in this paintings is supported by those lovely violet grays and rich darks. It feels strong and direct and yet true to a sense of the place. The horizontals are broken in interesting ways by the waves. The values are perfect. Leslie- this was a great result of an experiment. Experiments are where we grow as artists and they often have a clean, fresh feel because we don't know what we might discover. I feel that in this painting.

    Bird Of Solitude by Kathleen Carr Bird Of Solitude by Kathleen Carr. Judge's comment: This painting is masterful in its execution. There is a stillness to it that talks to me of solitude. I can feel the air around the subject. The colors of the skin against that blue background create a subtle energy that holds me in the painting. I am drawn into its mystery and then start to explore the beautiful patterns on the dress and wallpaper. The bird is beautiful and adds movement to the piece.

    Cash award to monthly Best in Show winner. All monthly finalists win a free promoted painting entry, are chosen and critiqued by a different professional artist judge each month, and compete for Grand Prizes awarded in August. Artists may offer to sell their paintings or print reproductions and keep 100% if sold.
    >> Click here to learn how your entry fee supports artists without access to art supplies or art instruction.
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