Twenty-four artists from Wisconsin and Minnesota painted more than 100 paintings in six days for the Fresh Paint event in Durand, Wisconsin, recently. 

Derek Davis served as the juror for the competition. Patricia Duncan won Best of Show for her pastel “Nature’s Healing Light.” “My first morning out painting brought me to a quiet, somewhat secluded location that was formerly known as the Doc Bryant clinic,” recalls Duncan. “It was an abandoned building surrounded by the beauty of the pines and a variety of nature’s many gifts. I delighted in painting the tree that was accentuated by the light. I embraced this man’s gift of healing those who he took great care of.”

Says Davis, “Patricia Duncan’s piece is a delight to view. ‘Nature’s Healing Light’ communicates light, springtime, and atmosphere. This piece is masterfully composed, with the focal area set low at the extreme right while the green tree is set just slightly off center, creating a balance for the unusual placement of the focal area. The muted tones in the background create the atmospheric recession, which, in addition to the overlapping of elements, enhances the feeling of three-dimensional space. Pat’s mastery of pastels is evident in her marks. The color harmony is superb, as well as her suggestions of details. I especially liked that the tops of the pines in the mid-ground were all slightly varied in relation to the top of the composition, avoiding a potentially static condition.”

The Morsbach Purchase Award was won by Mary Ann Cleary for her piece “The Old Iron Bridge.” Tom Dimock won Best Historic Painting for “On Watch,” while First Place in Historic Painting went to Donna Hooker Miles for “The View From Bill’s Cabin.”

Best Nocturne was won by Douglas Berg for “In the Light.” The Quick Paint winner was Gail Berndt. Best Chippewa River Painting went to Matt Anderson for his piece “Lower Chippewa Lookout.” Joni Jurek won Best Downtown Durand Painting for “Downtown Durand.” 

Davis says the judging was tough because the artists were experienced and talented. “I was looking first to see if the painters understood the importance of meaning or content in their works beyond mechanical reproduction,” says Davis. “What was the artist trying to communicate about the scene, and was that accomplished? Secondly, I was looking for an understanding of the importance of composition. Was the artist intent on creating a composition that was dynamic and communicated their meaning for the work, and did the composition lead the eye in an interesting and engaging way while avoiding eye traps and the other pitfalls that can degrade a work? Did the artist compose, making use of focal points, edge quality, and principles of design? Last were technical considerations — does the artist understand the medium and make use of interesting brushwork or marks that don’t overcome the content and remain fresh without becoming overworked? Is the technique confident and appropriate? I was intent on judging the artists and their work using concrete, objective principles without any bias or agenda. It was a pleasure to see such beautiful, evocative work being created from subject matter that could seem mundane to the casual observer.”


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