Helen Beacham, who won the First Place with her painting "Attitude", wrote:
Every painting offers its own set of challenges. I only just recently (3 years ago?) started painting figures and I admit it's still stressful for me.
My challenge with this figure was to a) to make sure she still looked like a little girl and not a short grownup, and b) to avoid making her right leg look cut off, but rather like it's bent back against the wall.
I tend to work in lots of layers. I start out pale all over and see if I like the color layout before committing to darker colors. I hone in on the focal point by making sure all my other areas are only supporting characters. The three intuitive but highly accidental 3 black strokes near her face help my eye to go to her face (I say "accidental" because they were much lighter marks as seen elsewhere in the graffiti, at which point I had to decide whether to leave them alone, wash them out or make them darker. I chose to make them even darker and use them as a tool. A bit risky...). I also placed a shadow dark next to her right cheek, again to draw attention to her pouty face. The graffiti itself was a challenge and I chose to paint it by using mostly wet into wet strokes.
Helen's art can be found on www.HelenKBeacham.com and www.HelenKBeacham.blogspot.com
Linda McDonald, winner of the Third Place with her painting "My Front Door in Lockdown", sent us the following:
After considering June’s theme of isolation, I wanted to capture elements of that period that we all experienced. While I was out cycling around my neighborhood, I noticed a number of familiar boxes left on the doorsteps which gave me inspiration for this painting.
I decided on the general details and set about finding the right doorway to paint. While the boxes looked abandoned, I wanted to contrast them with the right front door, walkway and light with the resulting shadows. I went back to the same location to study the evening light for the shadows while watching how the sun fell. I changed the door to have an arch, as it worked better and provided contrast to the shapes of the boxes. I also felt the shadows had to originate on the opposite side of the door and the Amazon boxes, as they were the focal point of the painting. Working with complimentary colors providing warm and cool areas.
I felt that everyone could relate to the key components of the painting, but importantly, it really was fun to work on during this extraordinary period of our lives.
Barbara Hall, who received an honorable mention for her "Self-Portrait", wrote:
Since we’ve been on lockdown, my studio mates and I have been taking turns assigning ourselves subjects for paintings. We text photos of our work and have a weekly critique via Zoom. The painting for which I received Honorable Mention was the result of a self-portrait assignment. I chose to use mostly black and white with a splash of color to reflect my mood at the time - a bit down in the dumps, but optimistic we’ll get through these trying times. I also wanted to convey the importance of artists in a crisis. They document what’s happening, inspire others, and express complicated emotions.
Zahid Shaikh, who was awarded an honorable mention for "Lockdown Blues", wrote:
I wanted to convey an expression of loneliness and desperation during the current pandemic, especially among the empty-nester seniors in society. I used the predominant blue color to enhance the feeling of isolation.