8th Annual Figures & Faces Monthly Winning Artists – October 2022

The top five artists in each category were given awards in the 8th Annual Figures & Faces 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 8th Annual Figures & Faces Art Exhibition page for contact information.

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

Best in Show (Traditional) – Mehrnosh Kaecker – “BERND” – oil on canvas

German artist, Mehrnosh Kaecker, graduated in 2001 with a communication design degree in Hamburg, Germany. In the following years, she has deepened her artistic skills by participating in numerous workshops and seminars of renowned artists, including at the Florence Studio, Florence and the Flemish Classical Atelier Bruges.

Her specialty is portrait and figurative painting and drawing. She has shown her art in exhibitions in New York, Paris, Moscow, Virginia and Germany among others. She has received several national and international awards.

To learn more about Mehrnosh and to see more of her work, please visit her website.

Best in Show (Photography & Digital) – Maureen Ravnik – “TAOS ARTIST” – photography & digital

Maureen Ravnik was born in Minnesota.  After attending college in Colorado, she stayed and never looked back.  Working and traveling opened her eyes to the wonders of the American west and reawakened childhood tendencies to creatively document her discoveries.  She began making images of the American west in hopes of preserving the history, the culture, and the dreams that shaped the west. Today, Maureen’s time is spent outdoors capturing the scenery, wildlife, and exploring other methods for interpreting and sharing what she sees and experiences along the way.

Maureen’s techniques are largely self-taught. She is deeply inspired by Ansel Adams and Art Wolfe. Her work is delivered in an array of styles that arc between realistic, passionately abstract and doggedly figurative.

Maureen has accomplished many things with her photography including images placed in the Audubon International Top 250, local, national and international juried photography exhibitions, winning placements in monthly club competitions, state park calendars, images selected for use by the City of Littleton, Colorado, and many images selected as editor picks on National Geographic and for publication. Her work has been the subject of several newspapers. She has co-authored 2 books that document the history, beauty and environment of the second largest natural area in the country.  Maureen has also served as a juror for the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts in Colorado.

Maureen’s goal is to continually look for new ways to challenge herself. That is what inspires her to never reject possibilities in subject matter.

To learn more about Maureen and to see more of her work, please visit her website.  

Best in Show (3 Dimensional) – Douglas Aja – “JUNIOR ELDER” – bronze

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, ElephantVoices, The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Action for Cheetahs in Kenya 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 Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the Bennington Center for the Arts, NBA great and Basketball Hall of Famer Sam Jones and North Carolina Central University.

To learn more about Doug and to see more of his artwork, please visit his website.  

2nd Place (Traditional) – Ginny Morello – “SENTIENCE” – charcoal and graphite

Ginny Morello is a self-taught artist based in Montreal, Canada. She specializes in hyper realistic drawings with graphite and charcoal as her mediums of choice. Ginny has always been fascinated by human faces and their uniqueness, and always aims to capture that individuality within her drawings. She loves the challenge of trying to capture as many details as possible in her drawing, but more importantly, capturing the essence and emotion expressed by her subject. Ginny has always been a highly sensitive person who feels emotions very deeply and intensely, and can therefore easily observe emotions in other people. Her sensitivity allows her to feel a deep connection to her drawing as it progresses, and that emotion transfers to the viewer. She loves the unique combination of charcoal and graphite: charcoal for creating those rich, dark values and smooth grey tones, and graphite for capturing the most precise, minute details.

To learn more about Ginny and to see more of her work, please visit her website.

2nd Place (Photography & Digital) – Cheryl L. Hrudka – “MOTHER’S HANDS” – photography

Cheryl Hrudka has been a professional photographer for over twenty years. Like most new photographers, she initially embraced the assumed verisimilitude of the “out there”. But the dispassion of the camera and its mechanical (documentary) implications were tempered by a warmer vision. Cheryl’s earlier works are lyrical and whimsical. She shuns the concept of the intervening intelligence and invites the viewer into a direct and altogether personal relationship. Like the early masters of the medium, she assumed the role of a fundamentalist. The viewer need not be told what to think, he or she is gently reminded of a knowledge long since and intuitively held. Cheryl’s early work is an engraved invitation. You can return to her work again and again. Cheryl’s photographs become your friends.

Cheryl’s recent work has evolved from “out there” to “in here”.  Each of her new works take an increasing interest in the everyday objects that people see, but don’t really assimilate them as they walk by. The details of a leaf, the veins in a person’s hands, graffiti, or condensation on a window…these all have their own beauty and allow the viewer to participate as they interpret the image. This is what led Cheryl to the infinite possibilities of abstraction. Not strangely, the abstractions retain the intimacy of previous work. Again the invitation is tantamount. The viewer’s conclusions are never threatened, but respected and allowed to prosper. On these mandalas, we each transpose our own version of events, our own stories.

To learn more about Cheryl and to see more of her work, please visit her website.

2nd Place (3 Dimensional) – Li Chenglu – “THE SUN BEAMED DOWNED ON THE PADDY FIELD” – resin colouring sculpture

Li Chenglu is a Chinese artist born in the Harbin, Heilongjiang Province of China. He entered Harbin Children’s Palace at the age of 6 and learned Western modeling painting. He has been trained in both 2D and 3D art techniques and has won numerous international awards for his work.

To learn more about Li Chenglu and to see more of his work, he can be reached via his Email.  

3rd Place (Traditional) – Michael Scherfen – “CAVERN GUIDE” – watercolor

Painting, now, for over 14 years, I specialize in portraiture and landscapes, and love every minute of it!   My interest in landscapes comes from a deep appreciation of both natural and man-made creations, with their endless palettes of texture and color.  A rusting fishing boat in a local harbor; a gilded, medieval clock in France; the shifting waters in a Venice canal, all call to me.  Similarly, the innumerable, diverse faces of the world offer endless opportunities to show the dignity and diversity of humankind: a gnarly blacksmith from Texas; a craggy, roadside vendor on the Amalfi Coast; an Afghan Pashtun tribesman in layers of native garb.  All present a textured, intimate view into a life to be explored.  I feel strongly that they have to be painted.  And detail is key. When painting, I get lost in the details of the subject matter: the deep wrinkles in a weathered face; the distinctive shape of an expressive mouth, or the joyous glint from a child’s eyes. Each detail extends a glimpse of my subjects to those who view my paintings, but not with a style typical of most watercolorists; my paintings have an opacity not generally used in many watercolor paintings. I currently hold Signature Membership in the American Watercolor Society, Allied Artists of America, Audubon Artists of America, North East Watercolor Society, Garden State Watercolor Society, New Jersey Water Color Society, and Hudson Valley Art Association. My watercolors have been shown in local, national and international exhibitions.

To learn more about Michael and to see more of his work, please visit his website.  

3rd Place (Photography & Digital) – Shelley Benjamin – “SUNBATHING” – digital photography

Shelley Benjamin, a resident of southeast Florida, is an award winning digital artist.

She has been published in “Living the Photo Artistic Life”, Somerset Digital Studio and “Awake Photography” magazines. Her work has received Best in Show, and top 10 in the “Fusion Art” gallery and awards in the Light Space and Time Gallery. She has exhibited in group shows at the Louvre, the Cornell Museum, and Grounds for Sculpture.

She received a BS in Textile Design from Cornell University. After a career as a textile designer and weaver, she became interested in mixed media, and ultimately, photography.

Shelley’s experimentation and involvement with digital photography began after she purchased her first DSLR camera. During the learning process, she joined an international group of digital artists. With the advanced training she was able to develop her skills, which has allowed her to transform her images to reflect her vision. The inspiration from the group opened up the possibilities of taking photos into a new realm.

Shelley uses her photos as the foundation for a digital painterly approach, utilizing modern technology to enhance and transform the original image. She is inspired by color, reflections, light, the changing seasons, nature and architectural elements. Shelley is always searching for extraordinary visual imagery in very ordinary environments.

Shelley states that her goal is to share the beauty around her and impart the uplifting feelings to the viewer that are the source of her inspiration.

To learn more about Shelley and to see more of her work, please visit her website.

3rd Place (3 Dimensional) – Mary Ruden – “LIZZIE” – bronze bust sculpture

I am very motivated to celebrate the historic event of women’s right to vote through artistic expression. I have created many works of art in this theme, such as quilts, and have sculpted a bronze bust of a famous Knoxville suffragist. I also have designed an envelope cachet in the theme of votes for women, two postage stamps and a Pictorial Postmark, all official United States postal issue.  I have drawn seven life size portraits of famous Tennessee suffragists that are based on historic photos of them.

My dedication to the theme is due to my family members all being suffragists. I have photos from the turn of the century onwards of them, and have incorporated them into my quilts and used pieces of my grandmother’s quilt that is over 100 years old. For the portraits, I use my great grandmother’s clothing and accessories to create the look of that period in history. Art is a great way to inspire and educate and keep history alive.

To learn more about Mary and to see more of her work, please visit her website.

4th Place (Traditional) – Javid Andalib – “UNTITLED” – acrylic on canvas

My artworks are basically emotional and abstract with a sense of suspension. Colors are often chosen non-hybrid and without colour passages and are in harmony for recreating senses and pointing to a world of figures full of false joy. Avoiding the details helps me a lot to express my main issues and, at the same time, enables me to represent various paradoxes in some parts of my works using a creative focus. Most of my paintings deliberately showcase a satirical and sarcastic reflection.

To learn more about Javid and to see more of his work, please visit his website.  


4th Place (Photography & Digital) – Brian Cann – “THE WHEAT NEST” – digital photography

Brian Cann is a photographer, teacher and writer living in Stuttgart, Germany, specializing in portrait, editorial, fitness, event and art-nude photography.

He taught math at school and university. Studied photography. Stopped. Started again, motivated by early retirement and his wife. An early specialization in the studio slowly shifted to outside images. Portraits of athletes, many of them masters, morphed into figure studies and explorations in erotic and fetish photography, often with the same models: typically strong, fit, and older. His goal is to produce non-exploitative, authentic portraits that stay away from cliché and in which his models are co-creators and collaborators in a process.

His self-published book, ‘Elemental: Environmental Nudes’, is available from Blurb. His work has appeared regularly in IoN magazine, ‘Jaded’ and ‘Mein heimliches Auge’ and others, and he has been featured in juried exhibitions in the USA, Scotland, Hungary, France, Montenegro, Greece, and Germany.

He is originally from the UK, now living in Germany, with his American wife and kids.

To learn more about Brian and to see more of his work, please visit his website.

4th Place (3 Dimensional) – Cara Lawson-Ball – “DIFFERENT AND INCLUDED” – architectural plaster

Today I am creating three dimensionally, tomorrow may be two.  Fickle, No!  Primarily my art is in bronze sculpture which is physically taxing. So, between sculpture projects I paint in multi-media.

For as long as I can remember I have created with whatever was at hand.  Falling leaves on a hiking path, stones on a beach, rows in the garden, the lines created by a canoe paddle moving through cold water, all have been avenues to creating patterns. Subject matter whether native animals, people or landscapes tends to be inspired by the Great Lakes region and its inhabitants.

Each projects goal may be different; however, I find I am forever trying to solve the issue of imagined line.  A line that we may not see completely, but instead feel intuitively.  In sculpture that may come with the rise and fall of fabric, hair or fur. In paintings, cloud patterns can lead the viewer to the corresponding colors in a lake.

There is simply not enough time in the day to hike or canoe or linger in all our wild places. As an artist I have the luxury to go there in my art and I try to create a space where viewers can come along.

To learn more about Cara and to see more of her work, please visit her website.  

5th Place (Traditional) – Laurie Cartwright – “FISHHEAD!” – pastel

I have always loved animals and have attempted to portray them in many different mediums.

I started doing stained glass in the late 70’s, drawing my own patterns, and continued until early arthritis in my right hand forced me to give it up. After surgery on my thumb to remove a bone and a year recovery to get my hand back I began to search for ways to express my art again. I took up the weaving of grass baskets but it soon became apparent that the arthritis in my other hand would not let me continue to pursue that medium.

In November of 2010 I was invited to a pastel class by a friend. I told her I was “not that kind of artist” I can’t draw! She talked me into it anyway. When I picked up my first pastel, I found my passion. It was a medium that allowed me to portray animals in the way that I have always desired. I am still amazed and pleased by the gift that that has been given me!  I hope that my art conveys some of the beauty of the wonderful creatures and world around us.

To learn more about Laurie and to see more of her work, please visit her website.  

5th Place (Photography & Digital) – Nicholas Kozis – “AMANDA WILD 1” – digital

The following paintings show my investigations of the figure and space.  They are made by combining observation and imagination to create the work. The design of negative space as it relates to the muse is of particular importance. Each element defines one another and their union creates the composition. The colors and shapes are played against each other as a reflection of this design and psychological relationship. The pieces are also mixtures of my mixed media combined in a digital platform.

To learn more about Nick and to see more of his work, please visit his website.


5th Place (3 Dimensional) – Sara Ussher – “HUMAN(ITY)” – acrylic paint on a natural stone

I am a self-taught artist beginning my artistic path by making watercolor paintings. However, as long as I remember, I have always been fascinated by natural stones. This interest culminated in 2012 when I seriously turned to stone painting. I thought it was a very attractive way to create art. The use of stone as a material has been in my focus since then.

My interest lies in making the stone entity, per se, visible and communicative and therefore to explore different ways to bring out stones and their characteristics.

I use crude nature stones, not processing them in any way, it is only the painting. The imperfections of a stone are, in my view, a natural part of it and should not be removed or fixed.

Through stone painting I can take a stand and highlight crucial issues. With this stonework, I want to respond to the ongoing world situation of war and conflicts and bring to the fore questions of freedom, choice and humanness. Equally, it is important to bring back voices from the past as they remind us of horrendous suffering and misery.

To learn more about Sara and to see more of her work, she can be reached via her Email.


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