39th Annual Art Competition: Meet the Portrait/Figurative Winners

39th Annual Art Competition: Meet the Portrait/Figurative Winners


We are pleased to have below the winners for the 39th Annual Art Competition in the Portrait/Figurative Category. For the full list of winners overall and in all other categories, please see the links at the end of the post.

First Place: Fengshi Jin

Friends Series – 12 by Fengshi Jin (oil on canvas, 14×11)

Friendships are precious, and I love to portray memories and good moments shared with my friends. I have a friend who’s not only handsome and popular but also very tolerant, selfless and helpful. Whenever someone thanks him for his help, he’ll reply, “I’m glad to help you,” with a gentle smile. I think that smile is the cutest in the world. Only true friends put themselves in your shoes. As always, I praise my modest and noble friend.

“I feel the solidity and dimensionality of the subject through the masterful paint handling and the tactile uniqueness of form. This painting captured my interest and held it.” — Lea Colie Wight, Juror

Second Place: He Shilei

Sunlight in the Corner by He Shilei (soft pastel on paper, 27 1/2 x 39 1/3)

I based Sunlight in the Corner on a photo I took of an elderly man resting in front of a temple, but I made several adjustments. To achieve a composition of blacks, whites and grays, I changed the wall color from yellow to white. Then, to get a more balanced proportion of those colors, I strengthened the white of the sunlit wall, using Sennelier pastel No. 527 to get the necessary brightness. I changed the placement of the pigeons in the temple square so they surrounded the man, and I also straightened his posture to give him a more energetic look.

“I was struck by the quiet beauty and dignity of the subject. The simple composition supports the subject, as does the muted color. This is an excellent example of simplicity creating strength.” — Lea Colie Wight, Juror

Third Place: Naima Aouni

Lacrimosa by Naima Aouni (oil on linen, 30-inch diameter)

As a reflective person by nature, the theme that captivates me is melancholy. I was inspired to paint Lacrimosa after seeing Carolus-Duran’s painting, The Sleeping Man, in which the figure rests in an armchair. To re-create a similar sense of pathos, I had my model recline bare-chested on a red carpet with his hand on his stomach. I stayed with the image presented by my model, which made the painting process straightforward; however, I included just a couple of the patterns seen on the actual carpet. Including more would have seemed redundant.

“This poignant painting is simultaneously powerful and graceful. Although the focus is on the man’s head, the strong compositional movement leads the viewer to the secondary focal points.” — Lea Colie Wight, Juror

Full List

For the metal winners and the top three in each category, please see below:


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