May 10 – “Viviann Day” – Viviann is one of my favorite people of all time. She was my family’s neighbor when I was born. She would become one of my best friends and so very important in my life. I celebrate her birthday each year as the holiday it should be – She would’ve been 101 years old today. Happy Birthday, Viviann! And, Happy Viviann Day everyone!

Viviann by Nicole Moné – 9x6inches – Oil on Linen Panel

The traditional Viviann Day celebration is to give something wonderful to someone else and enjoy a feast of champagne and Taco Bell with a scoop of ice cream in your coffee with your cake for dessert. I wish that I could celebrate with her in her beloved Huntington Beach, California, on her lovely patio filled with the smell of the ocean, beautiful plants, wind chimes, and the latest curiosities that she’d found and was ready to tell me all about.

A very brief description of this wonderful person: She was insatiably curious. She loved learning, vintage toys, sailboats, the ocean, the Anaheim Angels, and Ford Mustangs.

She could recite from memory a great deal of the Longfellow poem Evangeline A Tale of Acadie (which is no small feat). She introduced me to Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn which she reread every year as a reminder of growing up very poor and being a child at the onset of the Great Depression. “If I only knew that, one day, hundred dollar bills and chocolates would be plentiful, it would’ve been easier to live through.” she told me one day as we were polishing off a box of chocolate covered macadamia nuts. Having lived through the depression, Viviann was very frugal and loved bargains, but she was also incredibly generous, compassionate, and delightfully impish. I loved going with her to discount stores and watching her tuck sneaky money into the unattended purses of young mothers. “Won’t it be wonderful when they realize they suddenly have more money than they thought they had?” she’d ask with a grin and eyebrows raised.

Today, I will spray her dime store perfume, Tabu, in my studio (I always keep a bottle on hand) as I work on a new painting of Viviann and hope so much that I can do her justice.

I hope that someday, I get to be someone’s Viviann… A lofty goal, to be sure.

Happy Viviann Day!


12th International ARC Salon Traveling Exhibition Opens at the MEAM (European Museum of Modern Art) Exhibition




On Friday, September 22, 2017, ARC (Art Renewal Center) held the opening reception and award ceremony for their 12th Annual International Salon Exhibition at the MEAM (European Museum of Modern Art) in Barcelona, Spain.  It was held in conjunction with the presentation of the winners of the 8th Contest of Figurative Painting and Sculpture 2017 (Figurativas 2017) sponsored by the Fundació de les Arts i els Artistes.  These are the largest and most prestigious representational art competitions in North America and Europe respectively, and in this combined show they have assembled the latest work of some of the best representational artists from all over the world.


Photo courtesy of ARC


Photo courtesy of ARC

In this annual showcase for top contemporary representational art, 85 works were on display in the ARC Salon and 91 works were on display in Figurativas 2017 show.  ARC reported that the entries to both competitions combined numbered over 5,500 works submitted by over 3,000 artists from over 90 countries.  When I think of the high quality of these artworks teamed with the sheer number of entries, it is an additional honor to have been included in this remarkable assemblage of work.















As an exhibiting artist I was invited to attend the opening reception and awards ceremony.  I could not resist a trip to enchanting Barcelona to see my work in what would be my first European museum exhibition.  The reception was a well-attended and wonderfully successful event.  There were four speakers for the opening ceremony – Kara Lysandra Ross, ARC Chief Operating Officer and the ARC exhibition organizer; Tenaya Sims, Recipient of this year’s Best in Show; Susan Tintori, Director of the Florence Academy of Art; and José Manuel Infiesta, MEAM Museum Director and Founder.  Awards were presented by Kara Lysandra Ross, and all exhibiting artists in attendance were called to the front for recognition, applause, and a group photo.



File 1_ARC at the MEAM

Accepting awards from Kara Lysandra Ross


Having previously seen the majority of these works on display in the classic brownstone beauty of the grand Salmagundi Club on the first leg of the ARC Salon Traveling Exhibition, seeing them in the different context of the MEAM was interesting.  The rustic walls of the centuries-old building provided a striking juxtaposition to the polished works and made for a perfect backdrop to the show.  The setting and layout gave the paintings a chance to interact with each other and their environment differently – just as the personalities of people combine with one another for different outcomes, so did those of the paintings.





On Saturday, September 23, 2017, an additional event was held at the MEAM.  It included a screening of a short film with an overview of the judging process for Figurativas 2017;  a discussion with Tenaya Sims, Kara Lysandra Ross, José Manuel Infiesta, and Daniel Graves (Founder of the Florence Academy of Art) about representational art today;  and an Artist’s Roundtable led by Kara Lysandra Ross where all artists in attendance could participate in a discussion of the challenges, concerns, and hopes of today’s artists.




I feel it is really quite a thrill and an honor to be exhibiting in this incredibly prestigious salon and venue, and I am not alone in this feeling.  The sentiment was common, it seemed, among all the other exhibiting artists with whom I spoke.  Spending time with the artists whom I know was a pleasure, as was having the opportunity to meet more artists from both the ARC Salon & the outstanding Figurativas show.  I also enjoyed meeting the founder of the MEAM, José Manuel Infiesta.  He was a joy to speak with as he is a warm and engaging personality who is clearly passionate about promoting art and artists.

Jose and Nicole

Painter, Nicole Moné with José Infiesta, MEAM Founder



Opening night ARC Salon and Figurativas 2017


It is heartening that this resurgence in representational art is being fostered by those dedicated to reshaping the definition of modern art.  That “modern” can be representational and that artwork of classic beauty and skill is not only relevant, but steadily rising in the arena of contemporary interest.  Kudos to ARC and MEAM for joining forces with this amazing pairing of exhibits in their continuing efforts to support artists and advance representational art worldwide.


The 12th International ARC Salon Live Exhibition will remain on view through November 27th, 2017 at the European Museum of Modern Art (MEAM) in Barcelona, Spain and is the final leg of the traveling exhibition. For additional information about the show, please visit the ARC Salon website.
I have treasured this opportunity to show with world-class artists in outstanding venues and would recommend entering the ARC Salon to any representational artist.
Submissions are currently being accepted through November 15, 2017 for the 13th International ARC Salon – you may apply here: Art Renewal Center

Sedona Art Prize Grand Prize Winner

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. 

N.Mone_Blowing SmokePortrait of Aaron Shikler copy

Blowing Smoke (Portrait of Aaron Shikler)  24×36 inches – Oil on Linen

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

Edward Inman Senior by Suzie Baker    20 x 16 inches – Oil


Third place went to the impressive watercolor Spaghetti Junction by Alan Wylie

Spaghetti Junction by Alan Wylie  – 24 x 24 inches – Watercolor


Honorable Mentions

Ocean Lights by Leslie Sealy   Acrylic on Cardboard

On the Hill, California by Mason Manning Kang  40 x 30 inches – Oil

Gold Coins by Christine Debrosky   18 x 24 inches   Pastel

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.

Good luck!




End of Summer News from my Studio

Good morning! I hope that you have been enjoying a wonderful summer. Here in my studio, the last half of the summer has been quite eventful. With many deadlines approaching for various shows, there have been long hours punctuated by some good news.

Earlier in the summer I was invited to create a painting for the “Cats vs. Dogs” group exhibit at the Vendue in Charleston, SC (in partnership with Robert Lange Studios). A group of 40 artists were selected from hundreds of submissions to make works for the cat and dog themed exhibit. The exhibit is benefitting the Charleston SPCA. As an animal lover, I was thrilled to be invited to create a painting (not to mention the beautiful venue). I love all animals, but for the fun of the exhibit the artists had to choose if they would represent cats or dogs.


Bookmark – 20 x 24 inches – Oil on Linen Mounted on Board

Bookmark was created for the show. The subjects of the image are my guy, David, and one of our two girls, Ernestine or “Ernie” – named for Ernest Hemingway (a favorite author of mine and a famed lover of cats). We adore her and she adores us – it’s a pretty good gig.

I never tire of seeing scenes such as this unfold in real time. I wanted to convey the ease, trust, and comedy in the daily routines of a family with cats. There is sweetness in her desire to join in every activity and, once experienced, one can’t help but have a deep love and affection for these glorious little creatures. And, there is great kindness in someone who doesn’t protest this type of hurdle but rather calmly finds a way to coexist with their smaller, furry family members. As anyone with cats will understand, sometimes you simply move part of the cat and continue reading.

In the painting I wanted to give a nod to the long connection between artists and cats. I chose to use Théophile Alexandre Steinlen’s iconic Le Chat Noir image and added Pablo Picasso’s Cat Devouring a Bird to the mug. (The steaming coffee so close to her back legs adds an exciting element of danger to a quiet morning of reading – and she sees something that has her transfixed. This might not end well…)

Cats vs. Dogs Exhibition runs from 10/19/2017 through April 2018

Reception: 10/19/2017 6 – 8 pm

Vendue Gallery

19 Vendue Range, Charleston, South Carolina 29401

United States



Oil Painters of America Eastern Regional Exhibition 

Natural Selection was juried into the Oil Painters of America (OPA) Eastern Regional Exhibition to be held at Anderson Fine Art Gallery in beautiful St. Simons Island, Georgia. OPA is a not for profit educational organization and the first national organization to be established for the sole purpose of representing traditional, representational oil painters.

Moné.N._Natural Selection_14x11_oil on panel

Natural Selection – 11 x 14 inches – Oil on Paper Mounted on Board

I am excited to be a part of this exhibition with so many accomplished and impressive artists.

The exhibition will run from November 17 through December 16, 2017.  The Anderson Gallery will be hosting the opening reception and awards ceremony on Friday, November 17, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. for artists, friends, press and the public.

Anderson Fine Art Gallery

3309 Frederica Road, St. Simons Island, Georgia (United States)

Natural Selection was also selected as a Finalist in the June 2017 Bold Brush Painting Competition. Thank you to juror, David Kassan!


I hope you enjoy the last days of summer and I wish you beautiful days filled with inspiration!

The Coronation of Ernestine

When I am stuck while working on a painting and I am unsure how to resolve a problem, I find that it helps to move on to something else and have a little fun.

I was in precisely such a predicament at the easel and that is how Ernie came to take her rightful place as Queen of the Studio.

I present to you The Coronation of Ernestine.

The Coronation of Ernestine - Studio Queen - webversion - minor crop

The Coronation of Ernestine – 7″x5″ – Oil on linen mounted on board – 2017©Nicole Moné

As you might imagine, it was a grand affair! Queen Ernestine was served fish-flavored treats that smelled quite badly – just the way her highness likes ’em.

This proved to be just the thing to get “un-stuck” and was most enjoyable.

Happy summer!

12th International ARC Salon Live Exhibition



Click on the image to visit the Facebook event page.

I am honored to have my painting Blowing Smoke (Portrait of Aaron Shikler) included in the 12th Annual Art Renewal Center (ARC) Salon and to have my painting hanging alongside works by some of today’s best artists in this prestigious exhibition. If you have the chance to go, you will not want to miss this outstanding show.

The Art Renewal Center (ARC), a 501(c)(3), non-profit, educational foundation, is proud to present the 12th International ARC Salon Exhibition which will consist of 82 Contemporary Realist works, selected from an original 3,100 entries from 63 countries. The most prestigious realist art competition in the Americas and perhaps the world, the International ARC Salon offers over $100,000 in cash awards and International recognition through partnerships with prestigious magazines, galleries, museum exhibitions, and a strong online presence. The ARC Salon Exhibition will be on view at the Salmagundi Club, 47 Fifth Ave., New York, NY from May 12th – June 1st, 2017. The exhibition will then travel to the MEAM Museum, Barcelona, Spain where it will be on view from September 23 – November 27, 2017. Although many of the works in the exhibition are on loan from private collections from around the world, many of the works are also available for sale. For inquires and to learn more please visit https://www.arcsalon.org ; or write to kara.ross@artrenewal.org.

N.Mone_Blowing SmokePortrait of Aaron Shikler

My painting Blowing Smoke (Portrait of Aaron Shikler) – Recipient of the Collection Magazine Publication Award and Dual Category Award.


The painting that was “gonged” off the easel… A cautionary tale.

This morning I read that Chuck Barris passed away. (I was wondering if it is possible that he timed his “gong from life’s stage” immediately after the very recent passing of music legend, Chuck Berry, just to create a little amusing confusion in this week’s conversations.)   His kooky game shows are forever engrained in memories of my youth.

So, in honor of Mr. Barris, I decided to share some photos of the destruction and transformation of a painting where his contributions to my childhood shaped my decisions at the easel. I present to you, The Unknown Artist (A Self Portrait) – Unfinished & Abandoned.  A cautionary tale of working on a painting while upset, and about knowing when to step away.

The Unknown Artist_A Self Portrait_by Nicole Moné_©2017_Unfinished

The Unknown Artist (A Self Portrait) by Nicole Moné (Unfinished) 18×24″ Oil on Linen

This painting began as a (more conventional) self portrait – the block-in started out alright.

The Block inMore work on it
And then…I made the grave error of working on a painting while streaming the 2016 election results….Election Night mistakes _The last smile you'll get for a whileIt devolved from here. I was not thinking about the painting and was adding random colors.  I completely destroyed the painting of the head in short order.
This could have easily been salvaged – but in the moment, my perception was that everything was ruined and could not be fixed. (Wine may’ve been involved.)
When I returned to the studio (with great apprehension – for I knew what was awaiting me), I sadly laughed to myself as I mused how it was time to “hit the gong” and pull this bad act off the easel…
Thinking about The Gong Show and “the Unknown Comic”, I added the bag to my head to make me The Unknown Artist – then came the gong and I drew in my mahl stick as the gong mallet. I was very disappointed that the original progress on the painting was gone – but my new self-portrait lifted my spirits. If everything is ruined – find a way to make yourself laugh.
Again, as it looked when I liberated it from the easel:
The Unknown Artist_A Self Portrait_by Nicole Moné_©2017_Unfinished
Now, with some distance from the “incident” – where I had abandoned this painting to move on from the election-night-studio-carnage, I am actually thinking this self-portrait captures me (at least a few facets of me). I just might let this canvas get back on the easel and finish its act…

Now, if only I could hit the gong and have someone pulled off the world’s stage – sent packing with the “Worst Act” award…

The take-away here is two-fold: 1.) By all means paint when you are very upset – just not on an ongoing painting for which you have a plan.  – and  – 2.) Set your destruction aside for a few months and look at it with fresh eyes and a fresh mind. You might have the beginnings of something, completely unintentional, that makes you smile.

Also, goodbye Chuck Barris. Thank you for adding to the strangeness of my childhood.



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