4th Annual Skies Art Exhibition Monthly Winning Artists

The top five artists in each category were given awards in the 4th Annual Skies international online art exhibition.  Below are the biographies and/or artist’s statements along with the artist’s websites or emails.

To contact these artists directly for purchase inquiries or to see more of their work, please visit the 4th Annual Skies Exhibition page for contact information.

Congratulations again to all the winners and thank you for sharing your talent with us.

Best in Show (Traditional) – Virginia Kamhi - "First Light, Malibu Lagoon" – pastel

Much as a poet uses words to express spirit, emotion, and beauty of thought, pastel artist Virginia Kamhi paints expressive realist paintings that convey the poetry, imaginative power, and rhythms of the natural wonders that surround her.

Growing up in Southern California, Kamhi spent many childhood hours roaming the hills around her home and many weekends bodysurfing in the ocean. These early memories perhaps influence her art, because California landscapes and seascapes are her preferred subjects.

A graduate of UC Santa Barbara, Kamhi studied Fine Art at Academy of Art University. She has studied extensively with many eminent artists, among them Richard McKinley, Albert Handell, Lorenzo Chavez, Liz Haywood-Sullivan, Alain Picard, and Jacob Aguiar.

Kamhi is a member of the Pastel Society of America, the Pastel Society of the West Coast, the California Art Club, the Santa Barbara Art Association, SCAPE, and the Westlake Village Art Guild. She serves on the board of the Pastel Society of Southern California and the Allied Artists of the Santa Monica Mountains and Seashore and is a frequent plein air demo artist for this organization. Her work has been juried into numerous local, national, and international shows and has received countless awards. It has been accepted in many museum exhibitions and is included in private collections across the United States and in Europe.

Although Kamhi also works in other media, pastels are her passion because of their tactile quality and unique ability to paint the visual poetry that nourishes her soul. She loves to hike in the local mountains and observe the essence of the sunlight, the complexity of form in the landscape, the interaction of light and shadow. She feels it is a privilege to closely observe what others fail to see in the course of their hurried lives.

To see more of Virginia’s work, please visit her website.

Best in Show (Photography & Digital) - Mildred Lai - "Look at You" – photography

I am an amateur photographer living in Hong Kong. I am very passionate about photography - a world full of wonder, surprises and beauty.

I began to take photos as a hobby and learnt the basic knowledge and technique of taking photos by joining the local photo workshop. From novice to competence, I have practiced this interesting job with joy and surprises for a few years now.

People perceive images differently. Nevertheless, what you see through lens sometimes reflects with delight on the happiness of your thinking.

I like to capture beautiful objects with a click of a camera button. Can you imagine a picturesque landscape photo in long exposure would bring you to a wonderful world of misty scenery?

Currently, I am looking at simplicity in photography composition, and enjoy taking shots in B&W as well as long exposure. Photography brings me everlasting fun. Cheer for everybody.

To see more of Mildred’s work, please visit her Instagram.

2nd Place (Traditional) – Antonio Bagia - "A Momement of Stillness" – acrylic on canvas

Born in Constanta, Romania I have been close to art since a very young age. After participating in an art project mentored by a teacher I had drifted away from painting for a decade only to realize something was missing from my life. The most important thing - ART. Therefore I decided to join the Art University in my city. There I learned in more detail the study of landscapes and human body.

After few years I graduated and went on to earn a masters degree in Art. Along the journey I have learned many things but I will discover my style later in life.

Why do I paint? If I can make a person drift away in to the Cosmos for only just a minute, far away from the life we live and its construct then I have secretly succeeded.

To see more of Antonio’s work, please visit his Facebook page.

2nd Place (Photography & Digital) - Theodore Heublein - "Uluru Sunrise" – photography

Whenever possible, in addition to photos I take while traveling, I make time to sit and paint on site. This infuses all your senses with the immediate experience and enhances your memories of the site. Paintings produced after the fact of these locations retain this working memory and enhance the piece. I have carried art supplies all over the world on my travels to create pieces onsite above (en plein air) and below (sous marine) the water. The rest of the pieces are produced after the fact from my photos taken on these trips.

To see more of Theodore’s work, please visit his website.

3rd Place (Traditional) – Linda Lindus - "Outside the Walls" – acrylic

“My perception of landscape was challenged and I was awakened to the point of inspiration.” ​

When Linda first arrived in Arizona in the 1970ʼs, it was love at first sight - red rocks, texture and rough edges all around. The visual scenery of the Southwest was an immense change from the days of her youth, which began in the Pacific Northwest, the rocky shores of upper New England and congestion of Los Angeles.

She had been painting since a young child, and yet the landscapes she discovered in Arizona became a dream for the artist. Her perception of landscape was challenged, awakening an inspiration and desire to create. The artist tried her hand at capturing the ever-changing light as it moved across the textures. Eager to learn more, Linda continued her art education taking numerous workshops, individual classes and also opened an art shop. Her work was received with awards and Best of Show acknowledgments. Later, the community college recruited her to teach oil painting and share her knowledge with hungry adults. ​

As a business major and a single parent responsible for her daughters, the corporate life became her full time focus. After a climb up the corporate ladder, the business glamour dulled. With a new decade she decided it was time to explore her artistic talents. Reigniting her art career with great enthusiasm she is, again, a full time artist active in art associations and mentoring artists.

She paints with brush and knife, enjoying the knife work and how it mimics the rough textures and boldness of her surroundings. Arizona’s magical, brilliant sunsets and Monsoon seasons are her fodder for abstracts and impressionist work as are the cities in which she lived. She said "My imagination calls me to create, to interpret what I see, and paint what I feel. I paint beyond what is real by reaching for a deeper connection."

Art movements that have impressed her work over the years include Abstract Expressionism, Impressionism and Representational Abstract. Artists who have formed her work come from a broad cross section of genres such as Modigliani, Picasso, Georgia OʼKeefe, and Eric Mack, to name but a few. Her most recent works have been selected for inclusion in juried Arizona exhibits and have been shown at the Shemer Center for the Arts and Museum, Sedona Arts Center, the Gallery at el Pedregal, Small Works Invitational and Artists in Arizona. She has won multiple awards including those from international competitions.

Linda continues to express her perceptions of landscapes and the details each unveils, with each canvas evoking emotional qualities that awaken us all to the magic that is uniquely revealed in paint.

To see more of Linda’s work, please visit her website.

3rd Place (Photography & Digital) - Douglas Aja - "Mombasa Sunset" – photography

Douglas Aja has been sculpting African wildlife since the late 1990s. Since that time he donates a portion of the sales proceeds to various conservation organizations as well as donates sculptures for fund raising events.

Though he sculpts a variety of species, he specializes in the African elephant. Many elephants are known individuals from Amboseli National Park in Kenya. He has been a longtime supporter of Amboseli Trust for Elephants (ATE), ElephantVoices and The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT). Recently he has begun supporting Action for Cheetahs in Kenya (ACK) and Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF).

Aja's bronze sculptures are in the private collections of elephant researchers Cynthia Moss and Joyce Poole, wildlife cinematographer Martyn Colbeck, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the Bennington Center for the Arts and NBA great and Basketball Hall of Famer Sam Jones.

Traveling to Africa for the first time in 1978, Doug took part in a wilderness education program with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). There he studied wilderness and mountaineering skills, outdoor leadership, minimum impact camping and Kenya's culture.

He continues to visit East Africa regularly to take photos, gather reference material and to further his knowledge and understanding of his subjects. He often backpacks on Mount Kenya, through Maasailand and has climbed Kilimanjaro.

To see more of Doug’s work, please visit his website.

4th Place (Traditional) – Dinara Aristo - "Sunset at the Sea" – oil on canvas

Dinara Aristo was born and grew up in Chelyabinsk, Russia, where she currently lives. She paints mainly landscapes, seascapes, abstracts in oils and acrylics. The preferance goes to large canvases (100x100 cm) which perfectly decorate the interiors of houses and offices. She sometimes paints on small canvases (10x15 cm) which look like photographs or postcards.

She draws her inspiration from travelling around the Ural region and other countries. Basically, she uses her own reference photographs from these journeys. Although she tends to depict more realism, it is more about creating certain atmosphere in her paintings which evokes the feelings of serenity and tranquillity, freedom and happiness by showing the beauty of nature, its power and its uniqueness.

To see more of Dinara’s work, please email her directly.

4th Place (Photography & Digital) - Lynne Deutch - "LA Sunset" – photography

The works of Lynne Deutch are studies in spontaneity and spirit. Lynne would consider herself an artist and travel photographer. Her photography focuses on capturing life as it might appear every day; rugged, demanding, and joyful. Her travels have taken her to Kenya, Burma, the Galapagos Islands, and even Antarctica, each trip cementing her love of exploration and fascination with humanity. The adventurous travel that Lynne enjoys leads to images that are often unusual but always fascinating. Her subjects range from personal studies of villagers, vast penguin colonies, and chaotic city life to the abstract compositions of remote sea ice. When photographing people, she captures her subjects in their most natural state; sometimes working, other times playing. When her subjects are not human, Lynne accentuates the most interesting aspects, focusing on texture and composition. Lynne creates images that are unique by portraying her subjects in ways that people might not imagine.

To see more of Lynne’s work, please visit her website.

5th Place (Traditional) – John Ressler - "Gathering" – casein on board

John Ressler comes at art from an academic background, as a Professor of Earth Sciences and Geography at a university in Washington state. Graphic phenomena have fascinated him for as long as he can remember—he was a professional cartographer during his professing years. Every image has a story; every one IS a story. Drawing and painting become visual story-telling. Each artist gets to personalize the story in his or her own graphic way. To him, that’s the challenge of being an artist.

Whether rendering wildlife or humans, their contextual environment forms part of the story—the stage where the story takes place. Sometimes that is a vast landscape, sometimes a minuscule part of one; but in all cases the element of “place-ness” is a critical component. No story takes place in no-where.

John prefers watercolor above all other mediums owing to its directness, its luminosity, and its technical challenges--but he works in other mediums as well: currently casein, oil, and digital art. One of the greatest attractions of watercolor is that it makes painting on location (en plein air) so wonderfully simple; and getting out into the natural environment has been important to him for scores of years.

To see more of John’s work, please visit his website.

5th Place (Photography & Digital) - John Diephouse - "Night Flight" – photography

Mr. Diephouse is a primarily self-taught photographer who migrated to digital photography about fifteen years ago. This transition marked a qualitative shift in both his interest level and satisfaction with the results, due to the advantages of digital over traditional film photography. The ability to take a large volume of images without the expense of film and the ease of edits in the “digital darkroom” has encouraged John to experiment and expand his skills significantly. After retiring from a professional management career, Mr. Diephouse has taken advantage of his time in retirement to more fully explore the technical and creative sides of this media more fully.

At this point in his development, John seeks to share images with which he has a strong and instinctive personal connection. Images may be simply documentary, invoke a sense of time and place, or resonate as an abstract blend of color, shape or form. Others provoke an indefinable question that does not readily yield answers without further study and reflection.

His creative process follows an intuitive yet patterned path, from capturing a digital image through the process of interacting with and refining the image, searching for the combination of elements that produces an instinctive but undeniable connection. Most often the images that provoke the strongest connection are those that do not produce an immediate reaction but provoke a response through repeated contact and consideration over time.

Mr. Diephouse has exhibited widely in local and regional exhibitions and have been published in Nature Photographer and Black & White Magazine. His photographs have won over 50 commendations for merit ranging from Honorable Mention to Best in Show. John’s photographs were also selected to hang in the Michigan Governor’s Mansion as part of a year-long exhibition highlighting the State of Michigan.

To see more of John’s work, please email him directly.

Monthly Competition
Monthly Competition 3
Monthly Competition 2
Monthly Competition
Featured Artist Membership
Quarterly Exhibition-Button-new-website
Monthly Exhibition Slide
Monthly Exhibition Slide
previous arrowprevious arrow
next arrownext arrow
Join our Mailing List 
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram