2008 Landscape/Interior Winners

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First Place
Jannene Behl

Queen Anne’s Lace (pastel, 11×14)

It was such a great spring day,” says Jannene Behl of Oakview, California, recalling the creative impetus behind Queen Anne’s Lace. “When I saw this field of flowers in Carmel, I couldn’t wait to paint it.”

Behl painted with watercolor and acrylic before discovering pastels in 1996. “I’ve been studying pastel landscape painting with Bert Collins for 12 years now,” she says. “My inspiration comes from my love of nature and the California landscape. I grew up in the Pacific Palisades and Malibu area and spent a lot of time hiking the hills, surfing the waves and sailing.”

Behl enjoys painting on location, particularly near Santa Barbara, where she holds plein air workshops. “I also take a lot of photos that I refer to while in the studio, where I paint most of the time.” Queen Anne’s Lace took her about 12 hours to complete. “It has many layers of pastel,” she says, but adds that it “seemed to move along quickly and was really fun to paint. I especially loved putting in all the lacy flowers. Of course, the length of time I take to complete a painting varies, depending on its size and the feeling I have while I’m working. A painting is finished when what you want to see reveals itself to you.”

Behl’s dream is sweet and simple: “I want to show people a beautiful place where they can visit and experience nature for a while. I’d like to be able to paint fabulous paintings and teach students how to do the same thing—just as my mentor has done for me—until I’m at least 100 years old.”

Second Place
Camille Przewodek

Strawberry Harvest (oil, 24×30)


In 1980, Henry Hensche introduced Camille Przewodek (www.przewodek.com) to Claude Monet’s Impressionistic practice of representing the influence of light with color. “I no longer see shadows as dark shapes but as areas filled with color,” Przewodek says. “Instead of relying on value changes, I learned that conveying the three-dimensionality of objects could be more beautifully accomplished through the interaction of colors.”

A “plein air purist,” as she calls herself, Przewodek, now living in Petaluma, California, painted the colorful workers in Strawberry Harvest before learning that the field, in Irvine, California, was soon to become a building site. “I was inspired, seeing the people as beautiful spots of light and shadow, but painting the scene became even more precious to me when I realized I was recording pictorial history.”

A small field study prepared her to return the next day with a larger canvas, on which she began painting by reducing the subject to a series of simple shapes, quickly putting down color notes. “Using a palette knife or brush, I mixed the colors directly on the painting surface and studied their relationships to one another. Sometimes, if I change one color, I must change them all. I moved from big masses of color to smaller spots, refining forms and shapes through values as I went along. I then took my canvas back to the studio and finished it from a photo and field study references, as well as my memory.”

Formerly a commercial illustrator, Przewodek aspires to move toward abstract realism or realistic abstraction. “I want to use only the essential elements in a painting. The beginner tries to put in all the detail. The experienced painter knows what detail will enhance the painting.”

Third Place
Sy Ellens

Harvest Glow (acrylic, 48×60)


“My paintings are abstract right up until I do the final touches, adding trees and shadows and roads,” says Sy Ellens (www.syellens.com), from Kalamazoo, Michigan. “I was born and raised on a farm, so I make up the fields in my mind, imagining myself floating above them in a hot air balloon.”

A day trip across Michigan in a friend’s small airplane inspired Ellens’s series of aerial paintings. “I took a lot of photos. I go through them for ideas sometimes, but I don’t paint from them; the colors in photos aren’t vivid enough. It wasn’t fall when we flew over the landscape—the seasonal coloring comes from my imagination. I painted my canvas red first, and then used glazes of other colors, as well as thick passages to make the rich textures. The color shows through, creating a luminous glow.” Balancing color across his canvas, Ellens used some older, well-used brushes to scrub paint in places, further enhancing the textural aspects.

To increase the illusion of the earth’s curvature, Ellens varies his perspective, gradually raising the vanishing point higher and higher above the horizon line. “In the farthest distance, the fields closest to the horizon vanish to a point on the horizon line; the fields in the mid-distance vanish to a point 2 or 3 inches above the horizon; the fields toward the bottom of the painting vanish to a point 6 to 8 inches above the horizon.”

As someone who loves sharing “the beauty God created,” Ellens delights in using his talent to paint and teach art. After nine years of teaching high school in the United States, he moved to Nigeria. “I taught at a government teacher’s college for three years,” he says, “and I’ve traveled a lot. I just returned from China where I taught English and painted.”

Honorable Mention
Matt Condron

They’d Talk for Hours (oil, 47×63)

“I’m intrigued by the blurring of the line between possible comfort and the subtle anxiety most of us live with,” says Matt Condron (www.mattcondron.com) of Portland, Oregon. Condron found his subject in a timeworn hospital in San Francisco. “I enjoy this sort of metaphysical either/or moment, and I always allow the viewer to make the final call on the meaning of the imagery. Painting the empty space with strong contrasting light and inviting subjects tends to bring the viewer in.”

They’d Talk for Hours took Condron a little more than a month to complete. “Color mixing is typically my biggest challenge,” he says. “Ninety-nine percent of my work comes from photos I’ve taken, but I often take liberties with the content of the image. That’s why I don’t refer to myself as a photo-realist painter. I’m happy with the contrast between the cool background and the warm foreground. I also like the salmon-colored chair with its missing foot and the sheet metal on the ducting.”

Honorable Mention
John Salminen

Grant Lanterns (watercolor, 25½x37)


“I’ve been interested in art for as long as I can remember,” says John Salminen (www.johnmsalminen.com) of Duluth, Minnesota. “I began as an abstract expressionist working with acrylics and then, about 30 years ago, became a watercolorist. My focus is on urban scenes. I was drawn to this particular view in San Francisco’s Chinatown because the suspended lanterns provided a wonderful compositional device, leading the viewer into the scene. I was also intrigued by the atmospheric qualities and felt challenged to reproduce them through closely related values.”

Shooting photos on the street, Salminen seeks engaging compositions. He explains, however, that once he finds a composition he’s happy with, his job as an artist is to “reintroduce a sense of mood and atmosphere rather than simply enlarging the photo reference. I utilize closely related middle values to create the subtler effects of glowing shadows and light passages.”

Honorable Mention
David Drummond

Iceberg Canyon Evening (watercolor, 33×51)


Frequent houseboat trips to Lake Powell, a Colorado River resevoir, inspired the watercolor Iceberg Canyon Evening by David Drummond (www.drummondart.com) of Albuquerque, New Mexico. He laid the surface flat when he began his work, using a house-painting brush and lots of water. Although Drummond drew in the detailed areas of the rocks and cliffs—which he wanted to be fairly accurate—he notes that the process of creating the reflections was much more random than the finished work might convey.

“The difficulty with big, sloshy washes like those in this painting is that working with them is a little like surfing. I just ride the wave—and I get pretty wet, too.” He covers two-thirds of the paper with washes, and the operation is very fast. Drummond admits that he loses a big painting now and then. “I just cut up the paper and salvage some of it. But if I do the sky and the water right on these big paintings, the result is a striking impression of place, achieved in a short amount of time.”

Deborah Secor is an artist as well as a writer. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Chris Beck
Los Altos CA


Richard Belanger
Eastman QC

Ryan S. Brown
Springville UT

Anne Blair Brown
Nashville TN

Matt Condron
Portland OR

Scott Coulter
Orlando FL

Loran Creech
California MO

Bernard Dellario
Washington DC

James M. Effler
Cincinnati OH

Lisa Egeli
Churchton MD

Sy Ellens
Kalamazoo MI

Peter Fiore
Matamoras PA

Christopher Fisher
Highland Falls NY

Terri Ford
San Jose CA

Frank Francese
Grand Junction CO

Michiyo Fukushima
Astoria NY

Vincent Giarrano
Washington Depot CT

Jeff Gola
Moorestown NJ

Christine Hanlon
San Rafael CA

Maggie Renner Hellman
Santa Cruz CA

Frank Holmes
Narrowsburg NY

Timothy Horn
Fairfax CA

Paul Jackson
Columbia MO

Bill James
Ocala FL

Andrew Jones
New York NY

Laurie Kampe
Centennial CO

Denise Lemaster
Invermere BC

Ed Lucey
Los Gatos CA

Antonio Masi
Garden City NY

Lynn McLain
Vadito NM

Luis Llarina Memije
National City CA

Stan Miller
Spokane WA

Penelope Moore
Holladay UT

Susan Ogilvie
Port Hadlock WA

Gary Pettigrew
Athens OH

Camille Przewodek
Petaluma CA

Joe Remillard
Atlanta GA

John Salminen
Duluth MN

Marcos Shih
San Francisco CA

Nicholas Simmons
Frederick MD

Brian Slawson
Topeka KS

Gilbert L. Stroker
Singer Island FL

Bryan Mark Taylor
Lafayette CA

George Thompson
Doylestown PA

France Tremblay
Kanata, Ottawa ON

Thomas Valenti
Washington Township NJ

Girts Vinnins
Riga region, Latvia

Gail Wegodsky
Marietta GA

Davor Zilic
Petrinja, Croatia

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