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!

Single Fare 4

Single Fare 4 is an exhibit of small works made on used MetroCards
Opening Saturday Sept 16, 2017 from 5-10pm
On view Sunday Sept 17, 2017  from 12 – 6pm
Highline Stages – 441 West 14th Street, NY, NY

I have previously participated in “Single Fare” exhibits of years past. The works are great fun to make and the exhibit is a great place to pick up some original, affordable little gems.

All works exhibited will be for sale for $100 with 30% of the proceeds going towards scholarships for the New York Academy of Art MFA program and to the Alumni Association.  This is an art exhibition arranged by the New York Academy of Art and Single Fare to benefit the New York Academy of Art and its educational mission.

If you have a chance, go to this exhibit. There will be thousands of tiny artworks for sale. Thinking ahead to the holidays – original art would be delightful gifts.


Just a few of the Metro Card artworks I made that will be for sale at the Single Fare 4 exhibit

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!

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.



#selfportrait #gongshow #contemporaryrealism #painter #oilpainter #artist #paintanyway #nicolemone #unfinished #abandonedpainting  #dontpaintonelectionnight #theunknownartist #portraitofnicolemoné #goodbyechuckbarris #goooooong

Musings and News from the Studio

Good evening. Sitting here in my studio, surrounded by my paintings, I have been thinking a lot about my friend Aaron. Tomorrow, March 18th, would have been his 95th birthday. This week, Facebook “memories” popped up in my newsfeed with photos of Aaron, and a friend had sent me a video clip of him.

I learned this week that my painting Blowing Smoke (Portrait of Aaron Shikler) was juried into the 84th Annual Juried Exhibition of the Hudson Valley Art Association to be held at the Salmagundi Club in New York City 4/30 – 5/5.

Also, I learned just this morning that Blowing Smoke is a Finalist in the Sedona Art Prize.

It made me happy to see these things and get this news. With so many memories of Aaron appearing this week, it seemed like he was saying hello – and making sure I didn’t forget his birthday.

I will share one of my favorite photos. Here we are in Aaron’s studio in front of my painting of him. It is such a happy memory for me. Happy Birthday, Aaron!


Aaron, lighting my pipe (or, rather, his pipe that he let me borrow) in his studio – November 2014. My portrait of him is on the easel.


Prints, T-Shirts, and the Winner of the America the Beautiful Fine Art Print Random Drawing! 

When the t-shirt company, Bonfire was running a little behind on shipping the America the Beautiful t-shirts from the pre-sale (end date February 21, 2017), as a thank you for being patient, everyone who ordered was automatically entered in a random drawing for an America the Beautiful Limited Edition Fine Art Print.

The winner is Anahid U. of Forest Hills, NY! Congratulations, Anahid! Your print will be on its way to you very soon!

People who had missed the February 21st pre-sale deadline for t-shirts asked if we would sell the shirts again. America the Beautiful T-Shirts available here. They are once again on sale through Monday, March 21, 2017. After that date, the shirts will be printed. Please allow 7-14 business days after that date to receive the shirt(s).

Please note: The Women’s Slim Fit Tee runs small, size up. The shirt has a more vibrant graphic than do the Limited Edition Fine Art Prints which are color matched to the original artwork.


Limited edition fine art prints are still on sale in the Nicole Moné Fine Art website store.

Once again, 50% of the proceeds from the t-shirt sales, and 30% of the proceeds from the sale of the fine art prints, will be donated to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Planned Parenthood. Thank you for your support!

All good things to you!



New Orleans Art Association National Art Show 2017

My painting Pete was juried into the New Orleans Art Association National Exhibition which is currently on view at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts through March 31, 2017. New Orleans is one of my favorite cities and, with the added incentive of an art exhibit, a visit was too tempting to pass up. This past weekend I visited New Orleans to attend the exhibit reception.

We got to the lovely old building that houses the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts to find a hugely successful event in full swing. The rooms were packed and people spilled outside onto the building steps to talk. The gallery walls were graced with some truly beautiful works. There was a vibrant energy in the galleries and I was happy that I made the trip here to see the show.

Having assumed that the award winners had been notified prior to the reception, I was more than a little surprised (and thrilled) to have my painting awarded 2nd place.


1st Place, Southern Soul – Mickey Asche / 2nd Place, Pete – Nicole Moné / 3rd Place, The Sun is New Each Day – Heraclitus – Carol Peebles

1st Place went to Mickey Asche for his beautifully painted pelican entitled, Southern Soul.

3rd Place went to Carol Peebles for her masterful pastel portrait, The Sun is New Each Day – Heraclitus.

Merit Awards went to: Georgie Dussouy, Stephen Magnum, Joan M. Garvey, Sharon Rawlins, Glinda I. Schafer, Paul Hitchen.

I regret not having more photos, but here are few additional paintings from the exhibit:


Congratulations to all the artists selected for the exhibition and to the other award winners!

The founder and director of the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts, Auseklis Ozols, was the juror of both selection and awards for the exhibit  –  I was fortunate to get to speak with him a while and so enjoyed talking with him. He graciously shared some of his paintings with me, which were a treat to see.


With New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts Founder and Director, Auseklis Ozols

Huge thanks to the wonderful people of the New Orleans Art Association for putting on such a beautiful event and to Auseklis Ozols for selecting my painting for inclusion in the exhibit and for the award. It is a real honor to be a part of this show and to have met so many warm, lovely people.

If you’re lucky enough to be in New Orleans any time this month, do consider checking out the exhibit at the Academy of Fine Arts Gallery 5256 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA. March 4 – March 31, 2017.


With my painting after the awards ceremony


Written by Juror Mr.Auseklis Ozols – published in NOAA National Show 2017 exhibit catalog: To be asked to intermediate, or judge an exhibition, is to assume that it is a respectful approbation of ones career. To single out some work over another is a daunting task. But there must be some standard of judgement, hopefully based on some knowledge of precedents established by art history and aesthetic precepts that we have inherited from the great teachers of the past and present.

I adhere to the classic definition of the Fine Arts where one considers the three crucial elements, The Technical, or the knowledge of the craft, The Aesthetic, or the organization of the plastic values, Line Color Texture Pattern and Form, and the third, the Emotional, or that unconscious element that imbues the work.

This exhibition is an auspicious effort by the NOAA to feature work of a variety of disciplines from a wide geographical area and it is a valuable asset to our artistic community. The New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts is pleased to host this noteworthy event.

The New Orleans Art Association History

An art group known as the “Art Association Guild” was founded on October  13, 1952, to support the work of its parent group, the Art Association of New Orleans, which dates back to 1887. By 1907, the Art Association of New Orleans’ annual exhibition attracted artists whose works are now coveted by prominent museums and collectors. Claude Monet, Childe Hassam, Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt, George Luks, Robert Henri and others who are equally as important entered these competitions.

When Delgado Museum opened in 1911, the original Art Association was  instrumental in acquiring not only fine works for the collections, but also holding exhibitions. In 1960, the Art Association of New Orleans and Delgado Museum merged, now known as the New Orleans Art Association. Delgado created the Artists’ Biennial which was continued by the Museum (now called the New Orleans Museum of Art) until 1977. The present New Orleans Art Association has held 20 national  or international art exhibitions as of January 29, 2000, and is now endeavoring to renew this commitment with a national show in 2017.*

*History text from New Orleans Art Association website