July 23, 2024


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On the Rise: Artists to Watch

On the Rise: Artists to Watch


You know them when you see their work—those emerging artists whose talent is too big not to be noticed. Some are quite young; others have developed their skills later in life. Artists Magazine is happy to present 15 of these individuals—winners of the 2022 Artists to Watch competition.

Still Life/Interior

First Place: Lauren Rosenblum
Regeneration by Lauren Rosenblum (oil on wood panel, 35×61)

“When composing Regeneration, I was drawn to the sway of the stems that seem to bend toward their destiny. In autumn, colors are subdued but laced with subtle tones and hues as the leaves dehydrate and crumple. This end to the cycle of seasons is beautiful to me and speaks of what’s to come.”

ABOUT ME: After studying life drawing at the Arts Students League of New York and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, I later found my finest teacher, who gave me classical training in drawing and painting. My current work combines influences from my experiences as a painter, muralist, textile designer and fiber artist.

Second Place: Elizabeth Jiang
A Humble Feast by Elizabeth Jiang (acrylic on paper, 24×18)

“I was alarmed when I learned that food waste produces billions of tons of carbon dioxide, which contributes to climate change. I now embrace simplicity in cooking, as reflected in the meal of a few fruits depicted in A Humble Feast. As I built form with color, I tried to emphasize the various visual textures, using long brushstrokes for the smooth, shiny vase and and shorter but distinctive strokes for the folded napkins.”

ABOUT ME: I’m a high school student who has been taking art lessons from a young age. I’ve always admired the bold, emotional and impulsive paintings of Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne. I feel that expressive styles like theirs are what differentiate art from photography.

Third Place: M. Joy Lemon
Drapery Study III (charcoal and chalk on toned paper, 211/2×153/4)

“Two years ago I took a sabbatical from painting to focus on observation-based drawing, using graphite, charcoal and chalk. Drapery Study III is part of a larger body of work depicting various forms of drapery in still lifes. Although this drawing is based on direct observation, it’s also interpretive. My goal was to capture the feeling and beauty of light as it illuminates a form, washing over its surface while being absorbed and reflected.”

ABOUT ME: I have a BFA from Grand Valley State University. Currently I’m studying classical painting methods through the Sadie Valerie Online Atelier.


First Place: Carrie Cook
Louie by Carrie Cook (oil on linen, 40×20)

“I’m a portrait artist who’s currently focused on great apes, including orangutans, such as Louie. He was born in a breeder’s compound, taken from his mother as an infant and trained for live stage shows and films. At age 9, he’d grown too strong to handle and was relinquished to the Center for Great Apes, a sanctuary in Florida.”

ABOUT ME: I’ve been an elementary school teacher, a graphic designer, a student of Disney artists and a middle school art teacher—but it was my work as the head of graphic design at the Dallas Zoo and Children’s Aquarium and the distress I felt around captive animals that led me down my current path. I’m a Signature Member of both the Society of Animal Artists and Artists for Conservation

Second Place: Scott D. Ferguson
Council by Scott D. Ferguson (oil on canvas, 30×40)

The Bali starling—one of the rarest birds—builds a strong social community. Its members rely on each other for finding food and avoiding predators—hence the title of my painting. The area around this bird’s eye is featherless, revealing its vibrant blue skin. I struggled to match that color, ultimately using three blues instead of one. The experience has since encouraged me to use colors I’d ordinarily have overlooked.

ABOUT ME: I have a B.A. in animation and was a digital artist for 15 years, but I was always drawn to the tangible beauty of fine art. Three years ago, I attempted my first oil painting, and I haven’t stopped since.

Third Place: Jia Ying Khor
The Golden by Jia Ying Khor (pastel pencil on black cardboard, 21×30)

“A golden eagle represents strength, courage, wisdom and power. I painted this bird in black and white so viewers would first notice its sharp eyes and courageous temperament rather than the brown color of its feathers. Because The Golden is on a black surface, much of what I painted is a depiction of the light-colored edges of feathers and highlights. I enjoyed this detail work; my biggest challenge was to keep the overall shape of the bird correct.”

ABOUT ME: I’m a college student and a largely self-taught artist. I’ve been a bird-lover since childhood, and besides drawing eagles, I like painting peacocks, with their vibrant colors, in watercolor.


First Place: Kent Blackmon
Beach Life by Kent Blackmon (watercolor on paper, 151/2×191/2)

“The painting Beach Life was inspired by the carefree days of summer. I painted wet-into-wet to create a rolling sense of movement in the clouds. The bold darks on the horizon and the expansive sky contrasting with the small figures on the beach lend drama. The lifeguard station provided a wonderful opportunity for showing context, shadows and perspective. The rocks and twigs in the foreground, painted with drybrush, help frame the scene and move the viewer into the picture.”

ABOUT ME: I’m a self-taught artist who enjoys painting landscapes, cityscapes and waterscapes in watercolor. I think of my paintings as backdrops that allow viewers to imagine their own stories.

Second Place: Henry Bosak
Crown Street Vagabond by Henry Bosak (oil on canvas, 36×24)

“The rusted metalwork and weathered wood and stone of a brownstone in New Haven, Conn., caught my attention. My reference photo includes more of the building, but for the painting, I focused on the door, steps and windows. Those windows presented the biggest challenge because they showed not only the blinds inside but also reflections of buildings and trees. I added the cat, using a separate reference photo. He’s my daughter’s pet, but in the painting, he becomes the vagabond referred to in the title.”

ABOUT ME: I took art classes throughout high school and studied commercial art for two years at a community college. Other than that, I’m a self-taught painter who has gone through a lot of canvases.

Third Place: Patricia McKeen
Remembering Ireland by Patricia McKeen (soft pastel on black UART sanded paper, 8×141/2)

“I love everything about Ireland, from the people to the fast-changing weather patterns and lovely skies. While on a bus tour from Dublin to Avoca, I snapped the photo upon which I based Remembering Ireland. I wanted to capture the movement of the clouds and to give the viewer a sense of a typical day in this beautiful country.”

ABOUT ME: I’ve had an interest in art my entire life but was unable to pursue it fully until I retired in 2019. To increase my skills, I’ve taken online courses from Marla Baggetta and followed Tony Allain, Liz Haywood-Sullivan, Alain Picard and Karen Margulis on YouTube. This is the first year I’ve felt confident enough to enter a competition


First Place: Jodie Sutton
Bubble Gum Rocketship, 8 by Jodie Sutton (encaustic and wax pigment stick on raised wood panel, 7×5)

“I made up the name ‘Bubble Gum Rocketship,’ which, in turn, inspired a series of works with cheery colors. In painting No. 8, phthalo green balances the bold indigo lines. I made the more subtle markings by running beekeeping tools, such as a spur embedder (a wheel that pushes wire into wax) on the encaustic surface and then filling the grooves or holes with a wax pigment stick. I created the cell- like webbing at the bottom by applying heat to encaustic paint pigment.”

ABOUT ME: I have a BFA with a focus on computer graphic design from Missouri Southern State University. Seven years ago, I took a break from technology and taught myself the basics of encaustic painting with the help of YouTube and other resources.

Second Place: Debbi L. Homola
Stillness by Debbi L. Homola (acrylic on cradled wood panel, 30×30)

“I started Stillness with saturated primary colors, but after applying several paint layers, I felt the piece was going nowhere. I started journaling what I like about my favorite abstract artists: limited palettes; big, loose brushstrokes; visible layers of texture and paint; and large areas of space. I realized I needed to use more paint and proceed without rushing or judging—letting everything come together in its own time.”

ABOUT ME: After nearly 20 years as a glass artist creating beads, marbles and jewelry, I decided to switch to abstract painting in acrylic. I sold my glass tools and supplies and took classes from accomplished abstract artists— Tracy Verdugo, Gwen Fox, Louise Fletcher and Jodi Ohl. I strive to create relaxing, intriguing paintings that invite viewers to look and linger.

Third Place: Alyson Veit
The Walk by Alyson Veit (acrylic on canvas, 24×48)

The Walk came about organically through the use of traditional painting tools plus finger painting. The pink figure showed itself and transported me to a walk down the sunny side of a New York street—with bright storefronts, glass displays and shadowy alleyways. The point of view is from near the ground—from the level of a cat or child in a stroller.”

ABOUT ME: I have a B.A. in psychology, but professionally, I own and direct a dance studio with more than 500 students. As an artist, I’m primarily self-taught.


First Place: Stacy Weitz Minch
Rachel in the Rain by Stacy Weitz Minch (oil on linen mounted on foam board, 24×18)

Rachel in the Rain” depicts a teenager who was going through a rough patch. She would spend time at my house after school until her parents returned home from work. One rainy afternoon, I saw her in my backyard with an umbrella and was struck by the way the image captured her emotional tenor. The umbrella seemed to symbolize the safety net that had been thrown around her by friends and neighbors. I worked from a reference photo, and the painting came together quickly, which often happens for me when I find a design particularly inspiring.

ABOUT ME: My art training comes from workshops and from my studies at the Master’s Academy of Art, in Springville, Utah, under the direction of Ryan S. Brown.

Second Place: Chenglu Li
Mother by Chenglu Li (charcoal on paper, 211/3×152/5)

“I have deep feelings for rural life, based on my own experiences. Mother is a simple, honest drawing of an ordinary farm mother, created with subtle and delicate strokes of charcoal. This quiet image reflects the unadorned external beauty of the subject as well as her noble inner beauty.”

ABOUT ME: In 2022, I received a bachelor’s degree in sculpture from Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, in China. I’ve also studied at the National Taiwan University of the Arts.

Third Place: Yuije Pan
Pondering About Life by Yuije Pan (mixed- media collage on paper, 12×9)

“In Pondering About Life, I wanted to convey a teenager’s confusion about coming of age and stepping into society—but also a hint of hope. Young people can feel trapped in bubbles of inequity, poverty and other difficulties that they’re born into, but there will always be those who, while pondering the future, prepare to rise and make changes. Initially, I planned to use only colored pencil, but the tightly controlled look of that medium didn’t reflect the emotional conflict I wanted to convey. Adding blocky, torn- paper collage elements helped bring this out.”

ABOUT ME: I’m a high school senior taking art classes at YK Pao High School, in Shanghai. Other than that, I’m mostly self-taught.