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Read The Artist’s Magazine
I look for an interesting, balanced composition, technical ability (rendering, paint handling, etc.), exciting color and light, and an interesting subject. Knowledge of the subject matter is critically important when portraying animals and their habitat.
The 30 paintings that won awards in The Artist’s Magazine’s 2013 annual competition are splendid; wonderful, too, were the finalists in each category, which made our jurors’ decisions extremely difficult. We are grateful to our exacting jurors: Douglas Atwill, Ron Monsma, Amy Weiskopf, John Agnew, and Judith T. Greenberg. Read their comments on the winning pictures and their advice on entering this and any other competition.
Painting self-portraits has a long and continuing tradition, from Rembrandt to Vincent van Gogh to David Leffel. It’s a wonderful way for artists to experiment with materials and techniques while creating interesting characters. In the Studio (page 29; oil, 40×30) was painted directly on the canvas from life, using a mirror, without preliminary drawings or oil studies. It was completed in 4 days, with 4 to 6 hours of work each day.
I was inspired to paint this homeless gentleman, who’d been given a leftover 2010 census T-shirt by the city of Atlanta. The title of the painting, Today We Count (watercolor, 18×24), comes from the top line printed on the T-shirt.
As a child, I remember wandering the aisles of the local department store that was filled with patent leather shoes. Their shiny and reflective nature was mesmerizing. As an adult, they artistically inspired me. Not only were they shiny and reflective, but the heels were also very high. I began to think about how I had grown as an artist and how these shoes were an analogy for my life. I felt that trying to do my best and creating high standards for myself could create opportunities for me to improve and showcase my art, just like the height of these beautiful shoes.
The squash is a humble vegetable. It’s violently catapulted across fields in a sport called pumpkin chunking. It’s subjected yearly to eager hands equipped with carving knives, and then, it’s inevitably left to rot on front porches across America, while our attention moves to plants of the evergreen sort.
For my studio painting Moran Point, I used a photo and several plein air sketches for color reference. I wanted to re-create the feeling of the Grand Canyon’s depth and distance, but I also wanted to anchor the viewer with some solid-looking rocks in the foreground. Additionally, by starting the painting with a monochromatic gray underpainting, I was able to “nail” the lights and darks quickly and easily. Sometimes if I separate the issue of value from the issue of color and handle value first, my paintings seem to go more easily in the early stages.
In the November 2013 issue of The Artist’s Magazine, Sadie Valeri teaches you how to draw a value sphere from start to finish by using a controlled graphite shading technique to render light shining on a three-dimensional object.