Celebrate 40 Years of Artistic Excellence with Our Annual Competition and New Cover Prize!

The Artists Magazine’s annual Competition turns 40 this year! Since launching in 1983, the magazine has celebrated more than 1,200 works of art, showcasing the artists and their prizewinning creations in its pages. To mark this special anniversary, we’ve added a new Cover Prize to the list of prizes and awards. Also, we assembled five category jurors who—in addition to being distinguished artists—have this in common: Each one has been a past recipient of at least one award in an Artists Magazine Annual Competition. So, each understands the power of a well-earned nod of recognition and how it can boost creative confidence—and what that encouragement can do for one’s career. Read on to learn more about the jurors and those pivotal prizewinners. And, if you’d like these jurors to have the chance to view your own artwork, be sure to enter your latest and greatest works in the 40th Annual Competition today!

Abstract/Experimental — Kristy Gordon

Kristy Gordon took a Third Place award in the Abstract/Experimental category, in 2011, in the 28th Annual Competition, for her painting, Rise. “I’ve heard that an artist is essentially always painting the same theme over and over, and if that is true, then this painting, Rise, was definitely the start of many more paintings on the theme of breaking down to break through,” says Gordon. “I remember being overjoyed when I got the news that it had been selected as a finalist in the Artists Magazine Competition. I was sitting on a rock by the ocean in Norway, during an apprenticeship with Odd Nerdrum when I got the news. That was around the time that I decided to pursue my MFA at the New York Academy of Art. This was such a special time in my life, and it was enhanced so much by Artists Magazine.” 

A three-time recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant, Kristy Gordon (kristygordon.com) is an adjunct professor at the New York Academy of Art and has taught at numerous schools and academies, including the National Academy, in New York City, and The Academy of Realist Art, in Ottawa and Boston.  

Rise by Kristy Gordon (oil on canvas, 60×48)

Animal/Wildlife — Koo Schadler

Koo Schadler earned the Second Place award in the Animal/Wildlife category for her piece, Flicker and Virgil, in the 25th Annual Competition, in 2008. “In my nearly 30-year career as a professional artist, I still count among the highlights the day I received that phone call from the Artists Magazine,” says Schadler. “I was thrilled! It felt so affirming of my work. It drew many students to my workshops. People often came to class holding the issue that showed my prize-winning painting, eager to share how they’d first learned of my artwork. The prize money for an emerging artist was nice, too! I was, and remain, grateful for that wonderful boost to my morale and career.” 

Koo Schadler (kooschadler.com) is the author of, Egg Tempera Painting. Her award-winning work is a part of more than 400 private and corporate collections, and in the permanent collections of Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco; the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, in Mississippi, and the Philadelphia Athenaeum. 

Flicker and Virgil by Koo Schadler
(egg tempera on true gesso panel, finished with oil, 8 x 8)

Landscape — John Salminen

John Salminen’s piece, Battery Park II, took First Place in the Abstract/Experimental category in the 17th  Annual Competition, in the year 2000. He earned another award in the Abstract/Experiemnt category in 2012, as well as awards for Second Place in the Landscape category in 2010 and 2015. Of Battery Park II, the artist says: “I’ve always admired the painter, Edward Betts. His book, Master Class in Water Media, shaped much of my thinking about watercolor as a fine art medium. When I saw that he was a judge in the 2000 competition, I was excited to enter an image and thrilled to win the First Place Award. I began painting as an abstract expressionist, more interested in the expressive nature of paint than in the representation of objects. I still paint pure abstractions, but most of my works are realistic with an underlying foundation of abstraction. Even painting representationally, I continue to rely heavily on my background in non-representational painting to guide me. The balance between abstraction and the illusion of reality is the challenge that keeps me excited about painting every day.”  

The winner of hundreds of awards in national and international exhibitions, John Salminen (johnsalminen.com) is a Signature Member of the American Watercolor Society, the National Watercolor Society and the Transparent Watercolor Society of America, and the President Emeritus of the International Masters of Watercolor Association, centered in Shanghai, China. 

Battery Park II (watercolor, 23 x 34) by John Salminen 

Still Life/Interior— Jeffrey T. Larson

Jeffrey T. Larson’s first prize in the Annual Competition, was in 2008, when he took First Place in Still Life, for his painting, Electrolux. He took First Place again in 2009, in the Landscape category, as well as an Honorable Mention in Still Life. In 2012, he won the First Place award in the 29th Annual Competition, for his still life, In the Light of Life. “I was moved to paint In the Light of Life for two reasons: artistically, it presented the challenge of capturing the subtle flow of light over the Styrofoam pieces I’d carefully arranged atop the table; thematically, it seemed to present a visual analogy of my belief that whatever power or effect we humans think we possess is nothing compared to the power of life and creation,” says Larson. “As I looked at the setup for what it actually was—an arrangement of values and colors in certain shapes—my eyes were opened to the amazing sight of prismatic color flooding across the entire subject. Every surface was infused with all the colors of the rainbow, and I was able to see and capture the reality with its subtle intensities more truthfully.” He offered this painting tip: “It’s important to study the edges in your painting carefully. By accurately depicting the relative hardness and softness of the edges, you can create more depth and a sense of atmosphere. By keeping the focus on the center(s) of interest and keying all the other edges in relation to those areas, you’ll help direct the viewer’s eye to where you want it to go. 

Jeffrey T. Larson (jeffreytlarson.com) trained in the manner of the Old Masters at the prestigious Atelier Lack. In 2016, he co-founded the Great Lakes Academy of Fine Arts, in Duluth, Minn., with his son, Brock Larson. Larson is represented by galleries in Massachusetts, South Carolina and California, and his work is in a number of important private and corporate collections.  

In the Light of Life by Jeffrey T. Larson (oil, 36×40)

Portrait/Figure — Dean Mitchell

Dean Mitchell distinguished himself in two categories in 2005, picking up a Second Place award in the 22nd Annual Competition for his landscape, Down in the Quarter, and an Honorable Mention for his portrait, Rowena. Later, in 2013, his portrait Old Man Jackson, received an Honorable Mention in the 30th Annual. Old Man Jackson makes a virtue of simplicity. The figure is a series of repeating purple rectangles on which light shines. Emphasizing the planes makes the figure appear schematic, and the emotional effect is that the artist has rendered the person’s essence, as if Old Man Jackson had been purified by time. Mitchell said of the piece, “I had no idea how I was going to finish this. I’d started it a long time before.” Indeed, you can see intimations of the underlayers coming through, especially in the vast space punctuated by the white column that partially frames the figure’s face. “By reducing the figure to its architecture,” says Mitchell, “I’m trying to show that an abstracted portrait can convey as much or more than the classical prototype.” 

New York Times art critic Michael Kimmelman praised Dean Mitchell (deanmitchellstudio.com) as a “modern-day Vermeer.” The artist works in watercolor, egg tempera, oil and pastel, and is well known for his figurative works, landscapes and still lifes. His work is featured in corporate and private collections throughout the country, and in the collections of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, in Kansas City, Mo.; the Mississippi Museum of Art, in Jackson, Miss.; and the Saint Louis Art Museum; among many others.  

Old Man Jackson (oil, 24 x 36) by Dean Mitchell

To find out more about the 40th Annual Artists Magazine Competition, visit the Call for Entries page here . For the best pricing, enter before the Super Early Bird deadline on April 18.

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