I am honored to learn that my painting “Portrait of the Artist” was awarded the Best in Show award for the Artists of Northwest Arkansas’s 21st Annual Regional Art Competition. 108 artists from a 4-state area (Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri,and Kansas) submitted over 350 works. The entries were reviewed by 3 judges who selected 52 works of art for the show.
The exhibit of 52 works consists of 6 categories of art including drawing & pastels, digital art & photography, oil, mixed media, sculpture, and water media (watercolor and acrylic). The exhibition will be on display from October 1 through October 31st at the Fayetteville Underground in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
“Portrait of the Artist” made its debut at my one-man show at Cantrell Gallery in Little Rock, Arkansas in April of 2015. While it wasn’t intended to fit with the theme of the exhibition, I included it more to show a better range of my work. There were several concepts running through my mind as I painted this self-portrait. True, I intended to create a realistic likeness, but beyond that, there are a couple of other items that played a large role in its development.
First, I’m a great admirer and student of Andrew Wyeth’s work and have spent years developing a personal style that is is somewhat reminiscent of his, but using acrylic paint as my medium as opposed to egg tempura. Several elements of “Portrait of the Artist” are reflections of Wyeth’s work, from the earthy color palette to the layout of the composition. Second, I wanted to do a portrait similar to the one Wyeth did of Karl Kuerner. There were hooks hanging from the ceiling…apparently to hang sausage for seasoning. My pose is reminiscent of Kuerner except I was a little happier. I also included something I sketched many years ago from my grandparents’ house. It was a bare lightbulb hanging from the ceiling. The pull chain had a piece of cardboard that helped supply a shade from the light should my grandmother want to go to sleep before my granddad. That sketch is forty years old or there-abouts. My grandparents’ farm was one of the reasons I wanted to start painting and a desire to bring that old farm to life has supplied me with reasons enough to keep painting all these years.
Doing a self-portrait can be an intense and reflective process. “Portrait of the Artist” shows my old self, listening to my younger self, using the painting skills and techniques that I have developed over the years. I hope that this post provides the viewer with some background information that makes the painting even more enjoyable!