Announcing Winners for January 2016 Art Muse Contest

Thank you to everyone who entered our first month’s contest! We would like to thank our sponsors who have been incredibly generous in their support and have just begun to share all wonderful things that they have provided. We are working hard to make this a great contest and appreciate your support. Believe it or not, we started from scratch in September and went on to announce the contest in December. We didn’t get much sleep and many crossed eyes occurred since we started, but we are so excited to have had such a wonderful response. We want to grow this contest in a big way and would appreciate your feedback, your continued submission to the contest and help with spreading the word. We have big plans for you and with your continued support we will roll out some wonderful things in the near future! Now head to your easel and start painting your February submission.

Our judge Ken DeWaard would like to share a few words with you about his judging process –

ken dewaard profile
January Judge Ken DeWaard

“First, I would like to thank Kim VanDerHoek and Kelley Sanford for this wonderful opportunity to kick off the Art Muse Contest!

Right off the bat I must say there really was some amazing work and a lot of it!

I have judged numerous shows over the years and always say I will never do it again and then somehow I forget the anguish I go through selecting the winners and find myself right back at it again. In spite of that, I am thrilled to have had this opportunity, but, it was no easy task.

Art Muse Contest received hundreds of entries and only ONE can be selected from each of the three categories. That being difficult enough, you throw in the multitude of styles as well as subject matter, color, tonal, impressionistic, super realistic, etc. – shall I go on? Surely, you get my point.

Please keep in mind that as far as judging goes, and believe me I have been on both sides of this, if I did not select your painting it is not a reflection of you as an artist or the quality of your work. The Art Muse Contest will have a different judge every month with a different set of criteria and preferences.

Artistically, I am drawn to many different styles and approaches, have had many influences during my three decades of painting, however, with all of that, design is the one factor that continually comes front and center for me, no matter what the style may be, design will always stand above all else.

One final technical note. Please make sure you send in quality images, high enough resolution and large enough in size. Some images from the Budding and Emerging categories were small and difficult to see.

Without further ado here are the winners and finalists for January …

Budding Artist Award Winner –

Winner, Carol Hein, Christmas in the City

Carol Hein “Christmas in the City”

 Ken has written brief notes about what appealed to him in each painting he selected –

“Yes I am a northerner and probably spent way too many winters in the windy city, however “Christmas in the City” is a wonderful cool yet warm and inviting piece.

I chose this piece due to that cozy feeling as well as a very strong design which employs a good use of uprights against a well defined horizontal including the great line of secondary figures, as well as managing all of the corners keeping the eye in the painting. The two dominant figures serve as a great lead in as well as focal. The choice of color palette utilizes a wonderful use of grayed color, very well balanced and very natural and yet not too grayed and boring. Great job!”

Budding Artist Finalists –

Finalist, Janette Gray, “November Dawn”

Janette Gray “November Dawn” – “Great sense of air and light as well as values in this painting, very natural and believable! Would have been helpful to have a larger image, image was very small.”

Finalist, Joan Murray, “Venice Traffic”

Joan Murray “Venice Traffic” – “A very complicated scene yet a very strong design of well connected shapes and an absolutely wonderful play of sensitive color shifts in the water as well as the waters edge, beautifully handled!”

Finalist, Kelly Devany, “Wedge Water”

Kelly Devany “Wedge Water” – “Beautiful color within the water and the feel of translucency, very nice handling with the broken edges of brushwork to suggest all of the movement of the cresting wave. Well done.”

Emerging Artist Award Winner & Gallery Representation Finalist –

Winner, Cindy Avroch, “Tulip Trio”

Cindy Avroch “Tulip Trio” – “Fantastic use of edges in the sense of color vibration! This piece by way of values and color saturation really explores and utilizes it to best advantage, very exciting and well done. To get the sense of light by studying what happens on those edges to try and give the illusion of it is always a challenge and I feel it was very well done here. Great job!”

Emerging Artist and Jack Meier Gallery Representation Finalist –

Finalist, Lyn Williams, Sweets
Finalist, Lyn Williams, Sweets

Lyn Williams “Sweets” – “Love it! Playful, clean, simple, yet well placed and very direct!”

Emerging Artist Finalists-

Finalist, David Kapszukiewicz, “Claudette’s Garden”

David Kapszukiewicz “Claudette’s Garden” – “A wonderfully charming little scene, very dramatic and well balanced. Playing in a field of so many darks can usually lead to many problems, here I felt it actually paid off.

Great balance within the design of lights and darks, a nice suggestion of the flowers within the garden without letting them overpower the bigger picture here. Very charming!”

Finalist, Lauren Kuhn, “Molly’s Ebb”

Lauren Kuhn “Molly’s Ebb” – “Great use of abstract shapes and placement. A delightful and compelling gaze. Great temperature use as well!”

Finalist, Erica Norelius, “Waiting”

Erica Norelius “Waiting” – “Wonderful play of shapes! Very mindful of the corners and great placement of the focal, very nice color palette as well!”

Finalist, Fred Moss, “Gliding Gondola”

Fred Moss ” Gliding Gondola” – “Absolutely charming color palette as well as brush handling! Very clean and uplifting.”

Master Class Award Winner –

Winner – Rachel Pettit, “Riverfront Nocture”

Rachel Pettit – “Riverfront Nocturne” – “This was tough, any one of these finalists could have won this award.

However, after much consideration “Riverfront Nocturne” by Rachel Pettit was chosen.

A very well executed full bodied painting with a strong design, very beautiful, simple yet very complicated and elegant. Wonderful play of temperatures and great use of values, keeping a sense of air in what could have easily been very heavy handed. Excellent job!”

Master Class Finalists-

Finalist, Patrick Lee, “Light Up Night#2 “

Patrick Lee “Light Up Night #2” – “Wonderful play of shapes, temperatures and brushwork!”

Finalist, Kyle Ma, “Sunset at Stockton Street”

Kyle Ma “Sunset at Stockton Street” – “Great color and brushwork, wonderful use of edges!”

Finalist, R W Cooke, “Still Life”

R W Cooke “Still Life” – “Love it! Complimentary color vibrations, absolutely exciting!”

Finalist, Lori Putnam, “First Fall”

Lori Putnam “First Fall” – “Wonderful winter colors and sweet little design, great temperatures – as always!”

Merit Award –

While Kelley and I don’t have any say in who wins an award each month (that’s entirely up to our judges), we do however, get to choose an artist who did not win an award but we feel entered work that merits recognition. This month’s Merit Award goes to…

Merit Award, Anette Power, “My World”

Anette Power “My World” – “Wonderful job abstracting and simplifying the background to enhance the focal point. Beautiful color harmony in a scene that could gotten very complicated color-wise very easily. Stunning use of light. This is a subject that could have easily become overly sentimental but because of the solid decisions the artist made it is a joyful painting that is a delight to view. Congratulations!” – Kim & Kelley


AMC EasyL Prize Graphic

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