Back in February, I learned of the Sedona Art Prize through Facebook. I decided to enter several of my paintings. It was overwhelming and humbling to learn that I won the Sedona Art Prize 2016/2017 for my painting, Blowing Smoke (Portrait of Aaron Shikler)! This painting has been very good to me and I would like to think that Aaron knows about the painting’s success.
This year-long competition receives thousands of entries. Twelve finalists are selected by a separate judge each month. At the end of the competition year the 144 finalists from all twelve months are judged by a a panel of final awards judges.
Judges’ Comment: Blowing Smoke is a masterful painting on many levels. Painted with oil on linen, it depicts the late, renowned portrait artist, Aaron Shikler, famous for painting the official White House portrait of President John F. Kennedy, among others. Blowing Smoke’s striking composition is immediately dramatic and purposeful, from the effect of its surprisingly wide gamut of cascading light-to-dark color values to its clever, supporting latticework of subtly-defined geometric lines surrounding the subject’s organic forms. As a portrait, this work far surpasses the usual rendering of a likeness–its technical proficiency and excellence is practically assumed as the oil painting medium transcends to reveal a living, breathing man and his personal story. References to Mr. Shikler’s distinctive occupation include jars of brushes and a fine art print receding into the background. His head and shoulders seem enveloped in a halo of cool morning sunlight, with the sensation that illumination of the mind flows from such beautifully crafted imagery–one can imagine he is carefully considering what he is about to say. With the lighting of his pipe, artist Nicole Moné captures that unmistakable yet fleeting moment of ignition, with smoke and fire naturally rising from the pipe, a palpable moment in time. We find ourselves transported and suddenly engaged in conversation with a fascinating and accomplished celebrity artist who is about to answer our next burning question!
Huge thanks to the people of the Sedona Art Prize (Now known as Gateway International Painting Competition) and to final awards judges, Michael W. Cothren, Vince Fazio, and Victoria Oldham for this tremendous honor and such a lovely review of the work. Congratulations to all the Award winners and finalists! There were amazing artists in this competition!
Second place went to the beautifully painted Edward Inman Sr. by Suzie Baker
Third place went to the impressive watercolor Spaghetti Junction by Alan Wylie
You can read the judges’ comments about all the winning paintings here: Gateway International Art Competition/ Sedona Art Prize Grand Prize Winners
The new Gateway International Painting Competition for 2017/18 began this August. If you are an artist – enter the competition! This is a terrific opportunity for artists and being an online competition, there is no shipping of works, leaving them free for additional shows. The people of Gateway International Art Competition/ Sedona Art Prize are friendly, very helpful, and easy to communicate with when you have questions.
Be sure to follow them on Facebook to see the featured artist entries throughout the year.