Meet the American Impressionist Society’s big winner

Oregon-based painter Mitch Baird was surprised to hear the good news when we called him. At the American Impressionist Society show held at Saks Galleries in Denver, he won not just one but two top awards for his painting Morning Ensigns, Italy (oil, 16×12): Best of Show (selected by Quang Ho) and Southwest Art’s Award of Excellence.

For the past few years, Mitch says, he’s usually entered landscapes in contests. But this time he decided to take a chance and enter something a little different with a figure in it. The inspiration for the piece originated from a trip to Venice two years ago, he says. “I was actually up one morning early on my way to San Marcos Square to get reference photos and paint the area before the crowds showed up. I turned onto this particular street looking into the light, and the Italian flags were lit up like firecrackers! I had walked this street before, but in this light and with the missing crowds it was something special. Because of light and perspective, I felt it might make an impression or add variety to the show.”

Mitch was right. In the future, he plans to paint more figurative works, he says. Read more about Mitch Baird in Southwest Art‘s January issue, where he’s featured in our Artist to Watch column.

—Bonnie Gangelhoff


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