2019’S BEST PORTRAIT ARTISTS: LAWES, PRUYS, OSTRAUSKAS, VARSAMOUDIS, MATSUMOTO, SERSTINSKAJA, VEIGA, VODESIL-BARUFFI, YANQI, EISENBRAUN
Painters, photographers, sculptors and digital artists from 63 countries competed in the most prestigious online art call, AMERICAN ART AWARDS, https://www.americanartawards.com/, where America’s 25 best galleries and museums score art in 50 categories. In this column, I’ll reveal the world’s best contemporary artists of 2019 one category at a time.
There were so many brilliant works entered that America’s top 25 galleries and museums had a hard time deciding, consequently many phenomenal pieces did not get enough votes to be winners this year — however the featured works in this article received the most votes and won 1st to 6th Place in the 2019 AMERICAN ART AWARDS. Congratulations to all these artists for scoring above the stiff competition.
BIO OF 1ST PLACE WINNER / ‘BEST OF SHOW’ WINNER Bruce K. Lawes: an internationally collected artist with a passion for animal art and conservation. “Through my art I try to evoke your emotion for wildlife and our natural world, creating opportunities for conservation and awareness with your help.”
Lawes is a signature member of the Artists for Conservation (AFC), The Society of Animal Artists (SAA) and The Oil Painters of America (OPA). He was born in 1962 in Toronto, Canada. International Artist Magazine wrote, “One of the first things you notice about the art of Bruce Lawes is the artist’s versatility; whether it be a figurative painting, a landscape or an equine his work always upholds a strong level of quality, craftsmanship and technical skill.” Art of the West Magazine recently praised Lawes as “one of the most versatile among today’s field of highly skilled representational artists, Lawes moves with seamless articulation between the genres of wildlife and equine portraiture, landscapes, and figurative renditions of historic events.”
SEE BRUCE K. LAWES WORK HERE: https://bklawesart.com/
BIO OF 1ST PLACE WINNER Cher Pruys: ASAA SCA, IGOR, AAPL, CSAA, AMS, LMS, OSA, MAA.
“To take my inner visions with my hands and create a work of art for you the viewer …. That is the ultimate in self expression.”
Cher Pruys was born in Regina. Over the years she lived in many places including Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Fort Frances, settling into her present home in Devlin, on the banks of the Rainy River with her husband Mark, 3 dogs and 2 cats.
By age three, Cher was seldom found without a drawing tool in hand. She worked in pencil, charcoal and ink over the years, until she picked up a paintbrush at the age of 35. Beginning with oil paints, she found her chosen mediums in acrylic, water color and gouache.
Although self taught, her dedication and talent has seen her work juried into 79 International exhibits, as well as exhibits in numerous non juried shows. She has won 58 awards for her work at the international juried exhibits. Included in these awards, the first recipient of a major Canadian National Award, The Mary Pratt Crystal Award of Excellence at the 2014 SCA Open Juried Exhibition, The SCA 1st place award of distinction twice respectively, 2016, and 2017 at The Canada’s 150 show. The Gold Medal recipient for Figurative Painting in The Mondial Art Academia’s International 2018 Competition. The Aviation Week & Space Technology Award Best of the Best, and the ASAA Award of Distinction for the best painting in the ASAA International Space & Technology Exhibit & Competition, consecutively for 2 years. She has had 14 solo exhibits.
Cher is also an avid fused glass artist, and a certified teacher of piano and guitar. Her painting “The Bubble” had the honour of being part of the Masterworks from The International Guild of Realism Tour. She Was Elected to the American Society of Aviation Artists as an artist member in 1996, and eventually Was elected as a Foreign Affiliate Artist Fellow, one of only two Canadians receive this honour. Her work has graced the covers of 3 books, 14 magazines, and has-been featured in over 36 international publications. Cher’s works have found a permanent home in private and public collections worldwide.
SEE CHER PRUYS WORK HERE: www.artbycher.ca
CONTACTS FOR CATEGORY 32. PORTRAIT OF SOMEONE NOT FAMOUS
1ST PLACE-TIE CHER PRUYS CANADA www.artbycher.ca “Innocence” 10x10” Acrylic on paper.
1ST PLACE-TIE BRUCE LAWES CANADA https://bklawesart.com/ “Partners" 18x13” Oil on linen.
2ND PLACE TOMAS OSTRAUSKAS LITHUANIA https://realismdrawings.weebly.com/ “Grandpa” 12x17" Graphite on paper.
3RD PLACE-TIE GIANNIS VARSAMOUDIS GREECE email@example.com “Simple Beauty” 29.7x42cm Carbon pencil, graphite and white pastel. Inspired from online photo.
3RD PLACE-TIE EDI MATSUMOTO USA www.edimatsumoto.com “Tough Decision” 20x16" Oil on canvas.
4TH PLACE-TIE DANGUOLE SERSTINSKAJA LITHUANIA https://petdrawings.net/ “Heidi & Bailey” 19x13" Oil on paper.
4TH PLACE-TIE ANDRÉA VEIGA FRANCE www.andreaveiga.co.uk “Jazz” 60x80cm Oil on canvas.
5TH PLACE-TIE JANA VODESIL-BARUFFI AUSTRALIA www.janavodesil.com “Black Swan” 48x59.8” Oil on linen canvas.
5TH PLACE-TIE ZHAI YANQI CHINA firstname.lastname@example.org “Mission” 100x120cm Oil.
5TH PLACE-TIE KRISTEN EISENBRAUN USA www.kristeneisenbraun.com “Iris” 18x14” Oil on linen.
6TH PLACE DANGUOLE SERSTINSKAJA LITHUANIA https://petdrawings.net/ “Slava” 12x17" Oil on paper.
This is the 11th anniversary for the international awards organization which decides the 25 Best Galleries and Museums in America, who decide the World’s Best Contemporary Artists. Gallery decisions are based upon years established, industry reputation, online buzz, location, size, socially relevant exhibits, motivational and educational programs, represented artists as well as artist, client and visitor references.
2019’s 25 Best Galleries & Museums asked to vote on art were:
BEST IN ARIZONA — EXPOSURES INTERNATIONAL GALLERY OF FINE ART: Rising like a gigantic mystical temple in Sedona, this 20,000 sf showplace displays the finest of every style from classical to contemporary. Serving private or commercial needs, offering small maquettes to monumental bronze and stone sculptures, original oil and acrylic otherworldly paintings, fine art jewelry, enchanting glass art… https://www.exposuresfineart.com/
BEST IN ARKANSAS — FORT SMITH REGIONAL ART MUSEUM: Originated in 1948 but fully re-branded in 2013. AWARDS: Preservation through Rehabilitation Award (2013), American Institute of Architects (AIA) Gulf State Region Merit Award (2014), and American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Gold Award… http://fsram.org/
BEST IN CALIFORNIA — EXCLUSIVE COLLECTIONS: History of six galleries between California and Nevada honed expertise to assist significant collections of fine art and enduring legacy. Their red-carpet events showcase today’s most celebrated artists — from young emerging masters to established international masters… http://ecgallery.com/our-galleries/solana-beach/
BEST IN COLORADO — MIRADA FINE ART: Both the booming Denver gallery and owner/curator Steve Sonnen continue to be prominently featured in national and international art publications as well as appearing on numerous ‘Best Of’ lists. Lively spirited art, insightful exhibits, a Colorado vortex. http://www.miradafineart.com/
BEST IN HAWAII — SUNSHINE ARTS: 4,000 square foot structure on the Windward side of Oahu, offering over 2,000 original art images by 75 best-selling artists. For 23 years, this heralded Kaneohe landmark has been a favorite of local artists and nearby residents as well as international designers and collectors. http://www.sunshinearts.net/
BEST IN ILLINOIS — TRICKSTER ART GALLERY: The only Native American owned and operated arts institution in Illinois. 10,000 sf facility exhibits contemporary Native art (post 1960s) and first-voice multi-cultural arts with themes of veterans and social justice. https://www.trickstergallery.com/
BEST IN INDIANA — HAAN MANSION MUSEUM OF INDIANA ART: Holds the most extensive Indiana art collection in the US, including paintings from the Hoosier Group and Brown County Art Colony. Specializing in major oils, over 100 artists are represented. Haan is a true find; a rare hospitable time-capsule cradling a precious past. http://haanmuseum.org/
BEST IN IOWA — MOBERG GALLERY: Exceptional eye for contemporary masterpieces and represents 50 phenomenal Iowan artisans, procured work for museums, corporate collections, private collections and public art projects across the nation. Sets the standard for modern art in the Midwest. https://www.moberggallery.com/
BEST IN KANSAS — EVA REYNOLDS FINE ARTS: 30 years specializing in European and American contemporary original paintings and sculpture. A world-renowned fine arts service record among collectors and represented artists. Recognized by Ingram’s as a “Top Gallery in Kansas City.” https://evareynoldsfinearts.com/
BEST IN KENTUCKY — E&S GALLERY: For 30 years an iconic African-American gallery. 11,000 sf. Three stories of stunning space and empowering art. Unmatched selection of artists, mediums, subject matters and genres. Premiere selection of original graphics and sculpture by renowned old master artists. https://www.eandsgallery.com/
BEST IN LOUISIANA — NEWCOMB ART MUSEUM: Since 1886 acknowledging the contributions of women to the fields of art and design. Continually presenting innovative exhibitions and programs that engage communities, spark idea-exchange and instigate cross-disciplinary collaborations. https://newcombartmuseum.tulane.edu/
BEST IN MARYLAND — ANNAPOLIS MARINE ART GALLERY: For 40 years providing the best of marine art to the Mid-Atlantic collector community. Located at City Dock in Annapolis, they have an extensive collection of originals and limited edition prints of renowned artists John Stobart, John Barber, Willard Bond, Patrick O’Brien, Paul Landry, John Ruseau, and more. https://www.annapolismarineart.com/
BEST IN MINNESOTA — MODERN ARTIFACT: Buys and sells some of the world’s most collected and demanded fine art, antiques and memorabilia. Innovative. Headquartered in Minneapolis with clients all over the world. Daily relationships with many art dealers, collectors and top artists. https://modernartifact.com/
BEST IN MISSOURI — HILLIARD GALLERY: 45 years… one of the oldest and largest fine art galleries in Kansas City… voted by Kansas City Visitor Center as Best Gallery In Kansas City in 2012… voted by Kansas City Magazine as the Best Gallery In Kansas City 2014… https://www.hilliardgallery.com/
BEST IN NEW JERSEY — EVALYN DUNN GALLERY: For 60 years, a family legacy serving the community with expert, innovative and personable staff. Features the finest 20th Century American and European art. http://www.evalyndunngallery.com/
BEST IN NEW MEXICO — PIPPIN CONTEMPORARY: On historic Canyon Road, an uplifting world of vibrant color as expressed in contemporary art. The richly sensuous visual experience is complemented by a warm, engaging and insightful staff. Passionate artists; energetic and tactile, elements of surprise and beauty. A special oasis to access pure emotions. https://pippincontemporary.com/
BEST IN NEVADA — THE METROPOLITAN GALLERY OF LAS VEGAS ART MUSEUM: 20,000 sf facility dedicated to raising awareness, understanding and accessibility for a wide range of fine art by local, regional and international artists. Also offers insightful educational programs and cultural events. https://www.mglv.org/
BEST IN OHIO — LEE HAYDEN GALLERY: Mastered the Mid-western art business. Very prominent Cleveland gallery; a collector’s favorite for decades, offering paintings, sculptures and rare prints from both emerging and world-renown artists. https://www.leehayden.com/
BEST IN OREGON — BRONZE COAST GALLERY: In its 24th year. Oregon Coast’s premiere fine art gallery specializing in limited edition bronze sculpture and original paintings by more than thirty award-winning regional, national and international artists. Also provides education in sculpture and the in depth process of bronze casting. http://www.bronzecoastgallery.com/
BEST IN SOUTH CAROLINA — MARY MARTIN GALLERY: Located in the heart of downtown Charleston, Mary Martin Gallery is a gem of the city. Representing artists internationally in her two locations, Mary exhibits an eclectic mix of paintings and sculptures that appeal to collectors from all parts of the world. No matter if you own a large collection of art or only one painting Mary believes everyone should experience the joy of having their very own art collection. http://www.marymartinart.com/
BEST IN SOUTH DAKOTA — SOUTH DAKOTA ART MUSEUM: Since 1970, for almost fifty years, this museum beautifully houses the artistic legacy of South Dakota in all its diversity. 7,000 objects in its collection include Harvey Dunn paintings, Native American art, Marghab Linens, and much more. https://www.sdstate.edu/south-dakota-art-museum
BEST IN TEXAS — AO5 GALLERY: Austin’s largest contemporary art gallery, featuring hundreds of emerging and established artists from around the world. With over 7,000 sf to explore, there’s something new to see on every visit. https://ao5gallery.com/
BEST IN UTAH — SOUTHAM GALLERY: Premier Utah gallery for almost 40 years. Sells the work of some of the most highly regarded artists in the western United States. Stunning realism and impressionism. Experience and insight to guide serious art portfolios. Endless satisfied collectors. http://www.southamgallery.com/
BEST IN WASHINGTON DC — LIK FINE ART WASHINGTON DC: With 17 locations across the country, LIK Fine Art showcases some of Peter Lik’s most notable and award-winning photographic masterpieces. Peter has spent over 30 years pushing the boundaries of fine art. A self-taught pioneer in the field of landscape photography, Lik’s works make up four of the top 20 most expensive photographs ever sold, the highest selling for an astounding $6.5 million in 2014. https://lik.com/pages/lik-fine-art-washington-dc
BEST IN WEST VIRGINIA — WEST VIRGINIA STATE MUSEUM: Established 125 years ago with the intent to collect, preserve, present, promote and document West Virginia’s every aspect of history, culture, art, paleontology, archaeology, and geology representing all its people and industries. http://www.wvculture.org/museum/State-Museum-Index.html