The St. Augustine Art Association presented more than $5,000 in cash awards to twelve outstanding artists during the opening reception of the 6th Annual Nature & Wildlife Exhibit, on display at 22 Marine Street through Aug. 31.
Rusty Frentner, of Ypsilanti, Mich., won the $2000 Bradley/Mayer Best in Show Award for Love Lies Bleeding, a photo-realistic still life oil painting. Frentner drove for two days to attend the awards presentation in St. Augustine.
When asked how he came up with the idea for the painting, Frenter replied,Â “I found the flower thrown in the trash and thought it was so beautiful because the leaves had yellowed.”
The artist photographed the flower in a vase with varied lighting and made numerous study drawings.Â “When the vase tipped over, I knew right away that was the image. Then the title just came to me,” he added.
Frentner works full-time in the construction industry and pursues his art during his free time. He was also an award recipient at last year’s 5th Annual Nature & Wildlife Exhibit.
Sergei Orgunov, of Orange Park, accepted the $1,000 First Place prize for Ceaseless Compassion, an oil painting of Roseate Spoonbill nesting birds. “This is such an honor. I really didn’t expect this. Thank you so much,” said Orgunov, who has won awards in the Nature & Wildlife Exhibition every year since it began.
Brandon Lutterman, of Wiscasset, Me, won the $700 Second Place award for Save the Rhinos, a ceramic rhinoceros head sculpture.
St. Augustine artist Sydney McKenna took home the $500 Third Place award for her oil painting Florida Sunrise. McKenna is also a past winner.
Ted Head, of Jacksonville, received the $300 Jean Wagner Troemel Excellence Award for his large oil portrait, Florida Panther on the Rainbow River.
The Peter Scott Photography Award went to John Doddato, of Palm Bayfor Sea Stacks, a black and white time-lapsed photograph.
Artistic Merit Awards were given to Anelia Crawford, Snellville, Ga.; Deborah LaFogg Docherty, Boynton Beach; Monique Lazard, Coral Gables; and Scott Hiestand, Ormond Beach.
Honorable Mention prizes went to Bill Morris, Mobile, Al, and Peggi Nadeau, Mount Doral.
UNF Fine Art Professor Jim Draper judged the exhibition, which consists of 120 pieces by artists from around the U.S. and three other countries. “Having judged many wildlife exhibits in the past, I knew the quality would be here, but I wasn’t expecting the dynamic breadth of the entries,” said Draper, an acclaimed nature artist. “The thing that makes this such a great exhibition and sets It apart from others is that the artist can stretch the idea of representing nature. This work is very strong.”
The St. Augustine Art Association is openÂ Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. and Sundays, 2 to 4 p.m.Â Visitors of all ages are invited to participate in a “Go Wild for Art” discovery hunt while in the gallery.Â Admission is free.
All of the original artworks in the exhibit are for sale to benefit the education programs of the St. Augustine Art Association, a non-profit organization and exhibit partner, Audubon Florida.Â For more information call (904) 824-2310 or go to www.staaa.org.