In her painting “Rainy Days and Mondays,” artist Mary Pape’s true passion for capturing wildlife on the canvas shines through. A solitary raven sits perched on a rock, regal and with almost photographic quality, as beads of rain slide down its feathers. Though the weather in this scene is bleak, the contrast of the light reflecting through the raindrops and the statuesque bird against the austere background was majestic, said award-winning painter and acclaimed author Betsy Dillard Stroud.
Dillard Stroud, judge for the inaugural Art Steamboat competition that concluded Aug. 17, was impressed with the caliber and variety of work displayed by the 30 finalists. But Pape’s oil painting drew her in at first glance.
“The contrast of the beautifully painted raven and the ambiguous background was stunning,” Dillard Stroud said. “It supplied the mystery that I love to see in a painting, and made the painting transcend ordinary realism.
“Ms. Pape’s painting stood out in every way – in content, composition, and color. What a memorable painting. It melded the viewer’s heart with that of the raven’s and created a memorable dialogue between viewer and painting.”
As the winner of the $10,000 grand prize in the inaugural competition, Pape said she was honored and called the experience “thrilling and amazing.”
“I woke up the next morning and wondered if I had been dreaming,” Pape said. “It truly was a dream come true. The prize money in each category is a major validation of artists’ work and almost unheard of in fine art competitions. I know this will become one of the most sought after competitions in the years to come.”
Kevin Aldrich of Fort Collins earned second place with his colorful and tactile depiction of a street façade entitled “Fourth Street, Troy New York.” In third place, Oak Creek native Sandi Poltorak’s “In Her Arms to Rest” offers an intricate graphic drawing of a strong Native American woman posing with her child.
The inaugural Art Steamboat competition featured the works of 30 finalists throughout the 7th annual All Arts Festival which took place Aug. 1 to 17 in Steamboat Springs.
The 30 finalists hailed from a variety of western states, from Steamboat Springs to Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.