The top five artists in each category were given awards in the 6th Annual Animal Kingdom 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 6th Annual Animal Kingdom Exhibition page for contact information.
Congratulations again to all the winners and thank you for sharing your talent with us.
Best in Show (Traditional) – Durwood Coffey – “Showdown on Main Street” – acrylic
Following in the footsteps of such childhood hero’s as Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth and Norman Rockwell, Durwood Coffey learned the art of illustration and practiced this visual skill for over 30 years in the corporate world. His clients came from across the country representing such firms as Detroit Edison, Anheuser-Busch, General Motors, SeaWorld, Capital Cities and Marvel Comics. It was in this commercial visual training ground where projects ranging from spot illustration in periodicals to the creation of major series of paintings for corporate boardrooms were made. This business environment is where Durwood kept his artistic vision and skills honed for a day in which he could unleash them upon the personal subjects of his choice.
In only a few short years after his birth in 1951, Durwood would pick up pencil and paper and begin to draw. Influenced by his artistic family, especially by his father and an older brother who were both enamored by the practice of drawing, Durwood found his natural attraction and enjoyment in the creation of images from the animal world.
Throughout his school years he found his true passion and always excelled in art classes. Immediately after high school graduation, Durwood enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he had the job title of Combat Artist. After serving his term of duty, he attended college where he majored in Fine Art and Illustration.
Living and working under the urban Detroit smokestacks of the automotive capital of the world, where the practice and need for wildlife art is not highly in demand, Durwood found raising a family and being a provider to be a challenge for those with artistic talent. His success depended on his ability to produce artwork in a wide variety of subject matter, ranging from cars, trucks, architecture, cartoons, portraits and landscapes. Many of these works won him awards and recognition among his peers in the field of illustration.
In time, Durwood felt it was important to return to painting the subjects that he most enjoyed as a child, the images that never left his creative imagination. The world of the animal kingdom and its habitat soon came back to life on canvas and paper. With the freedom to explore the vast variety of wildlife subjects that exist in the world and reference them through his personal artistic expression, a collection of insects, fish and animals took form and await the eyes of the world for consummation.
Durwood can be reached via his email.
Best in Show (Photography & Digital) – Sara Victoria Sandberg – “Transience” – digital photo artistry
Artist Biography: Sara Victoria Sandberg is an internationally awarded photo composite artist based in Stockholm. Sara has always had a great love for the arts and has pursued the medium of watercolors for many years. Sara developed her skills in digital photo artistry through attending various courses and has developed a personal style in her work where she combines photography and digital painting with her artistic vision. She works with light and shadow to mold the scene she visualizes into a finished piece adopting a combination of photo-realism and painterly style.
For the last few years Sara is a member of an international group of Photoshop artists run by Sebastian Michaels (founder of Photoshop Artistry and the internationally acclaimed AWAKE Group). Sara has been featured in a number of international magazines.
Artist Statement: In my art, I wish to go beyond the boundaries of the real world and touch on the surreal and the juxtaposed. I am in search for the beauty and mystery inherent within and around us. I strive to create dreamlike realities with nature as my greatest inspiration. I would like the viewer to be carried away into another world and encouraged to create his or her own story or simply pause for a moment of contemplation. The world is a busy place, modern life styles have come to dominate. I hope for my art to provide a moment of respite and perhaps inspire to the thought “What if?”. Being an artist means for me bringing your artistic vision into your everyday life. It means harnessing the moments of inspiration and creativity but likewise trying to embrace all aspects of the process especially when it means adversity and hard work.
Sara’s website is http://www.saravictoriasandberg.com
Best in Show (3 Dimensional) – Xin Fang – “Shore” – bronze
The direction of his work is the interpretation of traditional culture in the current era, thinking about the mutual positioning of the world and humanity based on the relationship between heaven, earth and people, and expressing the spiritual power of traditional Chinese culture in the context of contemporary people.
The theme of his recent creation is “War. Country”. It borrows the first major social transformation stage since China’s own civilization history, and depicts the pre-Qin style of the period when it was in the same ideological discussion with ancient Greece and Rome. It also takes the speculation, ethics, and values of the original Chinese ideas that are different from the West as the connotation of the work and shows the poetry and the distance under the power game in ancient China.
Xin can be reached via his email.
2nd Place (Traditional) – Keri Fisher – “Ignite” – acrylic
All too often people get caught up in their own lives and forget about the natural world we live in. I paint with pastels, coloured pencils and acrylic paints to capture the emotions and complete sense of awe I experience when connecting with wildlife. My goal is to express and share that brief encounter which moved me so profoundly. Highlighting the beauty of each animal I paint, from the incredibly intimidating massive rhino to the commonly overlooked backyard squirrel, reminds us to look around at the nature that surrounds us.
Keri’s website is http://www.kerifisherart.com
2nd Place (Photography & Digital) – Debby Thomas – “Romancer” – digital photography
I’ve always felt a special affinity with animals. As a young child I found myself drawing horses. When I was gifted with a camera, it opened a new artistic avenue to capture the special beauty, personality and the spirit of each animal. I now work in pencil, oil, acrylic and photography.
As a horse trainer, I studied the behavior of horses. My greatest joy is to portray the individual animal’s personality, either with horses, pets or wildlife. While creating a portrait I sometimes remove, soften or add a background to keep the focus on the most important elements.
Other times, often with wildlife, I want to show the animal’s relationship with his/her environment. Realism, as well as the creative abilities of the photography process lets me infuse the images with the emotion I feel when in the presence of a horse.
Debby’s website is https://animalartandphotography.zenfolio.com
2nd Place (3 Dimensional) – Douglas Aja – “Just Having Fun” – bronze
The title of this sculpture is obviously from the point of view of the elephant. It’s unlikely that the guineafowl are getting a lot of fun out of it. Like all babies, elephant calves enjoy playing, which includes roughhousing with other calves, playing with objects such as sticks and chasing other animals that aren’t too big. They will often hide behind a small tree to ambush their unsuspecting target.
Doug’s website is https://www.artistsforconservation.org/artists/1238/gallery/all
3rd Place (Traditional) – Jianhe Zhong – “My Cows” – oil on linen
Born in Hangzhou in January 1991, Jianhe Zhong is a member of Zhejiang Artists Association, the Zhejiang Oil Painters Association, the Hebei Young Artists Association, Hangzhou Artists Association and the Hangzhou Library of Calligraphy and Painting. He has enjoyed painting since he was a child and has studied under many famous artists.
Now he is professionally engaged in the study and creation of oil painting. He has participated in various exhibitions and won numerous awards. His work is in many collections throughout China.
Jianhe Zhong can be reached via her email.
3rd Place (Photography & Digital) – Barbara Mierau-Klein – “Horse Portrait” – digital photo collage
Barbara Mierau-Klein is a digital artist recognized for her multi-layered, imaginative and colorful fine art images. A native of Germany, Barbara lives in the Washington, D.C. area but often travels the world as a passionate landscape and nature photographer since her teenage years.
Much of Barbara’s work is highly stylized and focuses on beautiful moments and evocative moods across a wide range of subjects. The inspiration for her images comes from many sources, often her own nature photography, but also books, song lyrics, movies, and works of other artists, old masters as well as contemporary digital artists.
Barbara’s work has been exhibited in a number of galleries in the US and Europe and has received numerous awards. Her images also appear regularly in international art magazines. Barbara is represented locally by Waverly Street Gallery in Bethesda, MD.
Barbara’s website is http://www.barbaramierauklein.com
3rd Place (3 Dimensional) – Dave LaMure Jr. – “Serengeti’s Crown” – bronze
I have implemented various materials and techniques to deliver engagement; a paint brush, a welding torch, or a piece of clay to keep me inspired. This process manifests a spirit with form, movement, and composition, therefore, knowing that a great artist stays challenged being multidimensional.
My tethers to inspiration come from being a wilderness river guide and an avid outdoorsman. I resonate with how mysterious, revealing and diverse nature is while stumbling around in the outdoors of Idaho. This gives me courage to explore in my art with narratives of the primal natural rhythms in life, death and belonging, leaving a symphony of art with stories.
Dave can be reached via his email.
4th Place (Traditional) – Kathy Christian – “Pana Park Tigress” – colored pencil and gouache
Kathy specializes in working dogs and wildlife. She is a self-taught artist relying on her hands on animal experience to guide the direction of her art. She has always been compelled to draw what surrounds her in everyday life and or what she has experienced on a personal basis. She has been privileged to work hands on with big cats in a wildlife rehabilitation compound and has spent quite a bit of time in East Africa. Now farming in rural Victoria, Australia she also trains working sheepdogs.
Kathy believes that there are two important aspects that come into play in depicting animals realistically. The first is one must study the anatomy and structure of the animal they are painting. Knowing what is under the skin is as important as what is on the outside. Without knowledge of anatomy paintings appear flat and lifeless. The second is the ability to draw and not trace photographs as seems to be the current rage. Tracing does not teach one to observe, only to copy.
She enjoys depicting animals in their natural environment and doesn’t romanticize them. Sometimes this means painting them “warts and all.”
Kathy’s work has won multiple international awards including inclusion two years in a row in the prestigious “Strokes of Genius” book of 130 artists drawings selected from a highly competitive international field.
Kathy’s work can be seen on her Facebook page.
4th Place (Photography & Digital) – Richard Condlyffe – “Liquid Gold” – digital photography
Born in the UK, Richard grew up watching the amazing wildlife documentaries of the BBC and developed a fascination with the underwater world. That spectacular submerged world seemed a million miles away from Northern England! After moving to the US over 20 years ago, Richard became a SCUBA diver. Next came the camera and the obsession of creating inspiring underwater photographs.
Richard dedicates his artistic and technical skills to his passion for underwater photography, and enjoys sharing the majesty of the ocean and its creatures with others.
He also teaches a class on Shark photography, helping other passionate photographers to get the most out of their interactions with these awesome and important creatures.
Richard believes that through sharing images of the spectacular underwater world we can educate more and more people on the need for aggressive conservation efforts to protect endangered species against illegal fishing, shark finning and ocean pollution.
Richard’s website is https://www.richardcondlyffe.com
4th Place (3 Dimensional) – Peter Zaytsev – “RhinoRAW” – Concrete
Peter Zaytsev is a famous Russian architect and co-founder of Zabor Architects. Peter’s portfolio lists dozens of architectural projects in Europe and Asia, including Moscow Metro station “Nagatinsky Zaton”, Yandex offices, Badoo, Castrol BP, etc. and many private interiors.
Having achieved success in his chosen field, Peter decided to move away from architectural functional tasks, turning to the beauty of shapes and in 2018 he began working on sculptures and artworks.
In his works, Peter uses natural materials and texture combinations. The main material – concrete – is a reference to his architectural past.
Today the work of Peter’s artworks can be found in modern art galleries and private collections all around the world.
Peter’s website is http://thepeterzaytsev.com
5th Place (Traditional) – Kathy M Paulus – “Looking Back” – pastel
Kathy Paulus resides in Moreno Valley, California. She considers herself a self-taught artist specializing in pastel work. She specializes in domestic/wild animal portraits and still life subjects. She enjoys realism and the challenge to capture the real beauty in animals.
Kathy has a special love for horses and all wild cats. She has done many commissioned animal portraits and enjoys the joy it brings to a devoted pet owner. She is also a scratch artist and she became a member of the International Society of Scratchboard Artist in 2018. Scratch art enables her to achieve fine detail in realism in her animal studies. She alternates working with pastels and scratch work.
Kathy is an active member of the Redlands Art Association in Redlands, California and Yucaipa Vision Quest Art Association in Yucaipa, California. She is involved in Paint My Photo, an international group of artist and photographers. She is also involved in many online groups as well.
Kathy enjoys teaching in workshops and sharing the knowledge she has developed through the years in the area of pastels and scratch art. She enters many local and international art shows and has won many awards for her pastel work and scratch art.
Kathy’s work can be seen on her Facebook page.
5th Place (Photography & Digital) – Paul M. Murray – “My World” – color photography
My photography remains a work in progress. I am very much a visual traveler who interacts with people, places, objects, and ideas on a variety of levels through several planes of vision that intersect with time and space. At those intersections, I may capture a moment and portray it with my implied perspective. The journeys to those intersections afford the opportunity to see and perhaps become intrigued by what I am experiencing.
Often the storytelling aspects of the photographic art form capture my attention and motivate a series of related images. Although my perspective is predominantly reality-based, I acknowledge not only the subjective nature of what I portray in my images but an interest in pursuing at times more abstract images.
To the extent that my images enrich the experience and vision of others, I feel that I have achieved a way of communicating that is unique to me as a photographer.
Paul’s website is http://www.harmonicthreads.com
5th Place (3 Dimensional) – Susan Sullivan – “Forester’s Dream” – polymer clay
For many years Suzie has been better known as a textile artist working with wool and fibre, but in 2019 she changed direction and started working with polymer clay. This new material has opened a whole new world of texture and creativity.
Suzie’s work represents a unique vision of an imaginary world of nature, capturing extravagant forms, colours and patterns derived from the natural world we live in. This latest body of small sculptures is titled ‘If you go Down to the Woods Today’. These sculptures are meticulously detailed and are intended to evoke dreams, myths and the desire to escape to a world of one’s own making. They are made with polymer clay and a wire armature and feature unique colour blends and complex polymer clay cane work.
Susan’s website is http://www.derryauncrafts.com
Fusion Art, LLC
Santa Fe, NM