International Prize Winners
All the Prize Winners in International Artist magazine Challenge No. 107, Wildlife.
Beauty in Nature
Cher Anderson says her wildlife artwork can be described as “an interpretation of what I see filtered by the emotion of the moment.” She paints realistically with the aim of rendering the creatures and environments as accurately as possible. She will analyze her paintings by reviewing and correcting the elements that are critical to the composition. Anderson elaborates, “I think it is important to represent my subject accurately in its environment. Seasons change, plumage, fur and the colors surrounding the animals, and it is very easy to make a mistake by placing an animal in the wrong surroundings with the wrong coat for the season. Birds go through plumage changes not only during the seasons, but also at different stages of their lives. I research and study what I will be painting to make sure that doesn’t happen.” Inspiration can strike at any moment for the artist, who resides in Arizona, so she takes a camera with her everywhere. “Sometimes the best photos are the least expected,” Anderson says. She adds, “I find myself especially fascinated by birds and have painted more birds than anything else because they are so unique to each other and incredibly beautiful. They never case to amaze me.” In the last two years, Anderson has won awards internationally and has become a member of the Artists for Conservation and Women Artists of the West. “My husband, John, and I have built environments and have rescued exotic animals such as giraffes, zebras and we raise Andalusian horses on our ranch in Chandler, Arizona.”
Wildlife in itself is fascinating and ever changing. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for birds and have photographed hundreds of varieties. Fancy Feathers began as an observation trip to the zoo where I spent several hours watching the greater flamingos interact with each other and wade in the water primping and preening their feathers. I realized the incredible palette of colors that their wings, when expanded, exposed to the eye. I wanted a unique pose and point of view of the magnificent bird and waited patiently for the right lighting and for the one bird that would be willing to offer me the view I had already visualized in my mind, and then, there it was! Perfectly opened and hard at work arranging its feathers.
My Design Strategy
My ideas always begin with my camera and finding the right opportunities. My husband and I travel around the world and my camera is always ready for the one shot that I know in that exact moment will become my next painting. Although I am a graphic designer by trade, I never Photoshop my images because the beauty of the photograph is in it being captured exactly as it is.
My Working Process
Once I have the image, I decide the medium to best work it in. Sometimes watercolors are preferred because of the blending versatility; most times, I work acrylic paint because of the opacity, vibrant pigments and durability. I often choose to work with both mediums where I start in watercolors and then add the detail in acrylics. In the case of Fancy Feathers it was all done in acrylic paint with hours of fine detail work that took approximately four months to complete. My final goal is always to produce a work of art that is true to my subject and its surroundings and is as realistic as it is alive.