|Round One: A full house|
Not being a plein air sort, I was quite anxious over having to paint outside. By a great stroke of luck, the event was moved indoors to the Bean Market due to possibility of rain. The indoor venue proved to be an excellent space for the contest, allowing plenty of room for the artists, models, and audience to roam around and view the work from the walkways above the main floor. The event began promptly at ten with two artists paired to one local farmer acting as model. Each contestant then had only one hour to produce a full portrait to be judged by a panel of four jurors.
In the first round, I was set up at a long table in the center of the floor. The room was already full of people directly involved with the event but also began to overflow with groups from the outside festival, who watched the artist from all sides. My hand was actually shaking so bad as I began that I had to steady it with other fingers on the canvas. It was quite an effort to shut out all the distraction and focus, but I had a great model. The hour went quickly and the 24 artists were cut to 12 for round two. My personal goal was to make past this initial selection so I was excited to move on to the next round.
|Round Two, 12 Artists|
|Round Three, Six Artists|
|Round Four, Three Artists|
At four, I was presented with the blue ribbon and declared the winner. I was admittedly delirious by this point, so I would like to take the opportunity now to thank my hosts at Art Fields for creating such a cool event as well as give one more nod to all of the fine competitors. Thanks to all my students at UNCP who helped me train in the last two weeks, and thanks to the support of my good friends Kate, Zack, and Amelia Wagner, Marsha Wiegand who cheered me on during the contest. Of course, I cannot give enough thanks to my sweet wife Beata who keeps me going.