American Artist would like to thank all of the plein air painters who submitted artwork for our Showcase Your State: New Jersey contest. The purpose of this contest is to give painters from each of the 50 states an opportunity to showcase the signature landmarks that make their hometown special, and the numerous entries for this month's contest certainly prove that New Jersey is more than just stereotypical turnpikes, parkways, and strip malls. (Trust me, I don't subscribe to this stereotype. I'm from NJ myself!) From images of babbling brooks and sunlit fields in the suburbs to depictions of sailing ships and lighthouses at the Jersey Shore, New Jersey is clearly a subject of natural beauty and artistic inspiration for many. The editors have reviewed the submissions, and following are the five finalists of the Showcase Your State: New Jersey competition. Thank you again for everyone who entered and for sharing your beautiful interpretations and personal sentiments of the place you call home.
* If you would like to submit an entry for any of the 50 states for the Showcase Your State competition, please send a low-res (72 dpi) JPEG or TIFF to firstname.lastname@example.org, and please include a brief description of the subject as well as caption information of each of your entries (title, year, medium, dimensions, collection). No more than two entries per artist, please. For full contest rules, see below.
FINALIST #1: MARGE LEVINE (from Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey)
by Marge Levine, pastel, 8 x 11.
In the Words of the Artist: Looking Back is a pastel painting done en plein air. It was painted in my hometown of Atlantic Highlands, which is very close to Sandy Hook. Standing parallel to the pier, and facing the town and the marina, I painted one of my favorite views."
FINALIST #2: CARL HOST (from Midland Park, New Jersey)
by Carl Host, 2008, oil on linen, 20 X 24.
In the Words of the Artist: "This is a painting of a brook I fished as a child growing up in New Jersey. Every time I visit it, it brings back many pleasant memories of days wandering up the brook fishing. I know every pool in this brook, and the big rock in the foreground has always identified this spot for me."
FINALIST #3: RAYMOND SKIBINSKI (from Edison, New Jersey)
The Grist Mill at Black River, Chester, NJ
by Raymond Skibinski, 2006, watercolor, 12 x 9.
In the Words of the Artist: "My plein air companions and I often explore the wooded rural areas, lakes, streams, hills, farms, barns, and the western and northwestern part of the state, and we particularly enjoy scenes with water and reflections. New Jersey, for a small state, has such a diversity of natural beauty as well as large cosmopolitan cities and suburbs. Great possibilities for outdoor painters."
FINALIST #4: EDWARD SPRAFKIN (from Randolph, New Jersey)
by Edward Sprafkin, 2008, oil, 10 x 8.
In the Words of the Artist: "This is a painting of a scene along the long entrance way to Willowwood Arboretum, located in Chester, New Jersey. Willowwood is a wonderful painting location, offering countless subject matter to choose from. I remember seeking shelter from the hot summer sun under a shade tree on my immediate right. I began this painting by first establishing my composition and then, working from dark to light, I massed in the dark predominant foreground tree shapes, identified the trees' cast shadows, marked the distant tree line, and began comparing my foreground green values to the background greens. I moved on to finding the value of the gravel path, which would lead the viewer's eye into the painting, while being mindful not to make it as light as the sky value. In the distant field you can see the hazy greens caused by the humidity hanging in the air. This painting came together rather quickly, and I had fun in the process. Looking back, I feel this painting really captured the mood of that hot summer afternoon."
FINALIST #5: DIANA K. GIBSON (from Ringwood, New Jersey)
Springtime in the NJ Highlands
by Diana K. Gibson, 2006, oil, 18 x 14
In the Words of the Artist: "The New Jersey Botanical Garden (NJBG), in Ringwood, New Jersey, is one of my favorite places to paint in the spring. Each spring a week prior to the bloom, I drive through the NJBG observing the buds of the cherry blossom trees. Often, the buds show no signs of blooming. Then, as if by magic, the buds burst into flower overnight and within a week drop their petals. I was walking about the gardens looking for a subject to paint when I spied the blossom tree. The backlighting was simply captivating and was a perfect study of light. For this painting I used a medium-gray-toned panel. I began by massing in the shadows strategically, allowing for some of the tone of the panel to show through. Next the sky was blocked in, and then the light areas were massed. I then applied the tree trunks and added the silvery highlights on the shrubs and grass. After adding the darkest shadow accent and finishing the highlights on the cherry blossom trees the painting's atmospheric light effect was solidified."
SHOWCASE YOUR STATE CONTEST RULES:
• You may submit no more than 2 plein air paintings per state for consideration.
• All work submitted must be done en plein air.
• Submissions should come from residents of the state for which you’re applying.
• Please include the following information with your submission: title, year, medium, and dimensions of the painting; your full name and hometown; a brief (no more than 200-word) description of the location of each painting and what that location means to you/how you approached it. Pieces must have been painted within the last three years.
• We will accept e-mail submissions only, with the painting attached as a JPEG, at least 72 DPI. Please title your digital file with the state you’re from and your last name, i.e.: New Jersey_Smith.jpg.
• E-mail your entry for the state you wish to represent to email@example.com Please include the state for which you’re applying in the subject line of your e-mail, i.e.: Showcase Your State: New Jersey.