What the Jurors Said | Richard McKinley, Landscape/Interior

Jurors of The Artist’s Magazine‘s 28th Annual Art Competition

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Landscape/Interior: Richard McKinley

Inducted, in 2010, into The Pastel Society of America’s Hall of Fame, Richard McKinley has been a professional working artist for 38 years. His lovely landscapes have been showcased in several books including A Painter’s Guide to Design and Composition; Painting with Pastels; Pure Color: the Best of Pastel, and Sketchbook Confidential (all published by North Light Books and available at www.northlightshop.com). His newest book, compiling his “Pastel Pointers” columns and blogs for The Pastel Journal is Pastel Pointers: Top Secrets for Beautiful Pastel Paintings. He is also the star of two instructional videos released by ArtistsNetwork.tv: “Bold Underpaintings for Lively Pastels” and “Three Stages for Successful Pastel Paintings.” An enthusiastic plein air painter and a beloved instructor, McKinley says, “I was born in the Rogue Valley of Oregon, and spent my youth growing up with the rivers and mountains that form this special place. It is from these subjects that I receive inspiration.”

What guidelines did you use to choose winners in your category?
“My criterion when judging is an analysis of the basics of good compositional design, value relationships, color harmony, use of edge, originality, and mastery of the medium. As the field narrowed and the process became more difficult, technical prowess and solid application of painting theories becomes less of a factor. When everything is equal on those merits, I have little choice but to resort to personal bias. Some paintings just speak to me.”

What were your overall feelings about this year’s entries?
“The quality of work and number of entries across a wide range of media in this division were amazing. Many entrants brought true creativity to their subject matter, making what could have been commonplace into an intriguing expression of artistic self. As I reviewed the entries, I was humbled by these factors.”

Tell us why you awarded the first place prize to Frederick D. Somers’s Prairie Rainbows (oil, 10×20).
“Everything comes together for me in this painting. The artist demonstrates a mastery of the medium, beautifully orchestrates the compositional placement of objects, creates wonderful luminosity with the use of color and value, and gives us permission to see more than just a pretty reflection by confidently expressing with paint how the artist feels. It is as if Beethoven held the brush!”

Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for future contestants?
“When it is all said and done, it’s important to paint what you love. Be tenacious and stay a student of your craft throughout your painting life. A very prominent California painter named Vernon Kerr, over 35 years ago, gave this bit of advice to me. ‘Celebrate your successes and mourn your defeats. Tomorrow you will be faced with the same blank surface and the process begins anew. If you have a passion for what you’re painting, you will strive to improve, and eventually someone will find merit in what you’ve accomplished.’ I remind myself of this sage advice whenever I receive a rejection notice. I personally applaud the courage it took to place your precious works into another’s hands for judgment. Please continue to put yourself out there; we all benefit from the shared experience. At the end of the day, it is merely one man’s opinion. Enjoy the journey!”

River Dance (pastel, 12x9) by Richard McKinley

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