Steverson’s figurative painting “Mariposa” (shown above) won in the Best Oil category in the February/March 2020 round of the PleinAir Salon.
Ann Moeller Steverson on “Mariposa”:
I find in creating an ambitious piece, it is essential to really love your subject, and there is nothing I love more in this world than my two daughters. I enjoy the opportunity to play in costumes that feel like they are from another time, and so we had a photoshoot playtime in the upstairs storage room of my studio.
The setting lent itself to an “upstairs attic playing in stored antique clothes” narrative. I chose the images of them that best seemed to capture each of their personalities – my oldest daughter’s serious nature, and my youngest’s irrepressible energy shown in the upwards curl of her toes.
Details such as the butterflies, moths and oval window were added to enhance the composition and story. Some of the moths and butterflies are intentionally hard to see and offer the viewer an Easter egg for looking closely.
The painting was created on a special matt textured copper panel, which allowed for a lovely warmth and very fine detail. The panel’s smoothness benefited the creation of the tiny interwoven knit dress, which took many weeks to paint. I loved playing with the intricate light-dark pattern of small shapes while keeping an awareness of the overall gradients. For the background texture of the painting I used mineral spirits over oil thinned paint reticulation on the copper. I rolled over the wet solvent and wet paint layers with a rubber brayer to aid the background’s aged and ethereal effect.
I originally painted “Mariposa” as an entry for the Portrait Society of America in 2018, and it was not chosen. It is one of my favorite pieces I have ever created, which is why I chose to enter it for the Plein Air Salon and I am delighted that it was as a finalist for the Plein Air Salon and ARC. It reminds me of how subjective competitions can be, and it is best not to get discouraged if you believe in your work.
Join Us for the FIRST EVER ONLINE PleinAir Salon Art Competition Awards Ceremony
The September competition is open and is accepting entries until midnight on September 30, 2020. Helena Fox, owner of Helena Fox Gallery, is the September judge.