2007 Landscape Winners

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First Place
Peter Fiore

End of Winter (oil, 30×40)

Fiore turned to fine art less than a decade ago, after working in illustration for 30 years. “I got tired of it—I was doing the same things over and over and I wanted to do more work for me,” he says. The icy blue field and sunlit barn depicted in End of Winter attracted Fiore’s eye. “I’ve passed this site for years. In fact, in the summer you can’t even see the barn, but in winter things are simpler; the bare bones show more. One March day the field in the foreground was still covered in snow because of the tree’s long shadows. That contrast—the shadows and the warm sunlit field behind—intrigued me.” After snapping some photographs, he retired to his studio near Matamoras, Pennsylvania.

Fiore points out that a photograph is a good starting point but “in a painting you make it visual, tactile, sensuous.” He works on Claessens double-primed linen mounted to half-inch plywood using Beva 371, an archival and reversible adhesive. “It’s a mylar sheet that you iron in place. I was tired of things poking through the canvas and I like a hard surface. I use a palette knife to give a crisp edge, like the one along the left side of the barn. I also use a palette knife to scrape parts away and paint back into those areas, a procedure that results in a transparent effect. In addition, I like to build up the surface with a lot of glazing and scumbling, as you can see in the foreground. I finally added those light patches on the snow for some articulation.”

A longtime teacher and workshop instructor, Fiore can easily elucidate his painting process and its technical aspects, yet he has the heart of a poet. “The ground has its own perfume when spring is coming,” he muses. “You become attuned to it when you live in a rural area. All my paintings are about that time of day, that moment, that feeling. I like visiting a motif over and over again. Working the way I do—painting the scenes I’m drawn to—goes deeper, transcending the ‘pretty picture.’ What could be richer?”


Second Place
Ryan S. Brown

Impending Storm (oil, 9×13)

In 2002, Brown graduated from Brigham Young University and went on to study at the Florence Academy of Art, where he honed his craft and technical understanding of drawing, value, color and paint application. “It was in Florence that my true understanding and creation of art began,” he says. He aspires to become a narrative painter in the style of the 19th-century masters John Singer Sargent and John Waterhouse. “I’d love to rediscover some of their knowledge and pass it on to others,” he says. To that end, Brown has taught drawing and painting at the university level, as well as starting the Classical Drawing Academy from his studio in Springville, Utah.

Impending Storm grew out of several studies done on location, but the scene is completely invented. “For this particular painting, and other invented scenes I’ve done, I start with thumbnail sketches, working things out first with line and then masses of value. If I need a reference, I go to the stacks of studies I’ve done from life. I sometimes use photo references but I find it impossible to get accurate color or value hints from them. Working from life for me is the most important factor.”

Brown notes that he began with an ébauche, a French term describing the initial underpainting, which “established the overall color and value scheme in the first 10 minutes.” He explains: “I took some hints from different studies done from life. The original lay-in of the sky, although done extremely quickly, proved to explain a great effect of a distant storm and far-off rain. From there, it was just a matter of cleaning up the drawing and creating nice brushwork on the surface. My favorite part is the place where the sky meets the horizon—you can feel the distant rain coming.”


Third Place
David Drummond

Morning South of Dangling Rope (watercolor, 30×50)

The glistening, fluid reflections of Lake Powell, a reservoir of the Colorado River, have become a signature image for watercolorist David Drummond, who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “I’ve been going out to Lake Powell for 25 years now,” he explains. The artist makes small studies while on board a houseboat. “The very early morning is the best time. It’s calm, and there’s no wind or boats making wakes.”

The impression of water, he explains, results from the contrast between the smooth flow of the wet blue areas against the crisp, hard edges of the looming cliffs, dramatically lit by the morning sun. “The air is so clear that there’s very little aerial perspective,” he explains. “The atmosphere therefore has more subtle color variations. The water is both made up and done from memory. There are general rules for painting reflections, but basically it’s the introduction of a random pattern using the rules of perspective. What you need is a balance between the randomness and the structure. It’s funny—people call me a photorealist but I’m not one at all.”

He began this large-scale painting with a house painter’s brush and “a lot of water.” Drummond referred to several location studies and photographs of the cliffs in the area, developing the reflections on the wet paper. Tilting his easel in different directions so that the wet blue paint of the reflected sky ran along the horizontal axis of the painting, Drummond arrived at the fluid shapes almost by accident: “Paint ran all over, on the floor, on my shoes. The painting was so big it was bumping the ceiling. The whole thing was dicey! I always have a rough idea of what I want, but it’s almost a matter of luck—I’m not in control really. I did the sky the same way, just slopping the clouds around.”


Honorable Mention
Antonio Masi

Willie B. (watercolor, 60×40)

Masi’s 40 years’ experience as a graphic artist, combined with his deep connection to his subject, culminated in this striking depiction of the Williamsburg Bridge. His arrival in this country, after a journey from Italy at the age of seven, left Masi with powerful and influential memories. “I’ve always had a deep fascination with bridges,” he says. “My grandfather worked on the Queensborough Bridge. I find that each bridge has its own character. Before I attempt to paint one, I walk across it several times.”

Masi does field sketches, takes photos and paints from memory, playing values against each other. Using Winsor & Newton watercolors on Arches 300-lb rough watercolor paper, the artist does a great deal of glazing with large 6- to 8-inch hake brushes, refining areas as the work progresses. “I spend 20–40 hours on each work,“ he adds, “though I usually have two or three paintings going at once.”


Honorable Mention
Heather Rois Noddin

Lily Pool (watercolor, 22×14)

The garden behind her home in Agassiz, British Columbia, provided Heather Rois Noddin inspiration for Lily Pool. “I was intrigued by the intense reflection. The planes seemed to link together like pieces of a puzzle, making it hard to separate the two-dimensional from the three-dimensional,” she says. “In order to frame the piece and direct the eye to the center, I chose to paint the reflection of the iris and cattails stretched out across the pond. ”

After completing a small sketch, Noddin transferred it to Arches 300-lb paper. “I laid in the washes that would depict the water with Winsor & Newton Winsor violet, French ultramarine and alizarin crimson, letting the colors mingle. For darks I used mixtures of French ultramarine, Hooker’s green and alizarin crimson. In all my paintings, I use many layers of glazing.”


Honorable Mention
Patrick Bailey

Rooftops (oil, 36×48)

Bailey spotted this intricate rooftop view from the heights of a converted 17th-century monastery in Florence, where he was staying. “To catch the flavor, I did a sketch that was only about 6×9 inches; I also took some pictures,” he recalls. Back in his Phoenix, Arizona, studio he started work on a large canvas. “You can’t do a painting that large on location, of course. The scene was a natural; thus, the sketch already showed a good composition, and the painting came quickly. Sometimes you have to live with a piece and figure things out, but this just fell into place.”

Bailey is reluctant to talk about what he was trying to portray in Rooftops. “Art speaks for itself,” he states. He nonetheless shared the story behind this painting: “The infamous cat burglar thought to himself, This is going to be easy! I just hope my information is correct—that’s what I kept thinking as I looked out at this view. I like to tell myself stories about my paintings,” he notes with a laugh.


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


Finalists
Alexei Adamov
Toronto ON

Joseph Alleman
Logan UT

Wm. Kelly Bailey
Meadows Place TX

Chris Beck
Los Altos CA

Anne Blair Brown
Nashville TN

Ryan S. Brown
Florence, Italy

Kay Carnie
Cupertino CA

Chi Tung Chiang
Princeton NJ

Linda Chiumera
Ottawa ON

Bertona Claudio
Milan, Italy

Carlo Cosentino
Ile-Bizard QC

Brent Cotton
Stevensville MT

Andrew Scott DeJesse
Amarillo TX

David Drummond
Albuquerque NM

Sy Ellens
Kalamazoo MI

Jeffrey R. Farmer
Cypress TX

Peter Fiore
Matamoras PA

Terri Ford
San Jose CA

Lissa Friedman
Gainesville FL

Jennifer Gardner
North Venice FL

Tim Gaydos
Paterson NJ

Robert Gratiot
Denver CO

Leigh Gusterson
Taos NM

Joseph Gyurcsak
Mercerville NJ

Maggie Renner Hellmann
Santa Cruz CA

Robert Highsmith
Las Cruces NM

Dan Hittleman
Melville NY

Paul Jackson
Columbia MO

Hilarie Lambert
Charleston SC

D. LaRue Mahlke
Georgetown TX

David Mar
Orlando FL

Daniel Mather
New York NY

Nancie King Mertz
Chicago IL

Stan Miller
Spokane WA

Dean Mitchell
Overland Park KS

Jo Nelson
Hudson WI

Steve Ohlrich
Milwaukee WI

Gary L. Ozias
Downs KS

Donald Patterson
New Hope PA

Angie Renfro
San Francisco CA

Charles H. Rouse
Vista CA

Denette Schweikert
Melbourne FL

Colette Odya Smith
Wauwatosa WI

Peggy Morgan Stenmark
Golden CO

Tad Suzuki
Sidney BC

France Tremblay
Kanata ON

Leah Waichulis
Mocanaqua PA

Ken Wallin
St. Simons Island GA

Michael Ward
Costa Mesa CA

Marie Williams
Dallas TX


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