It takes some artists years to find inspiration, those participating in the Stars of Texas Juried Art Show Paint-Off had only hours.
Dozens of artists filled the Old Train Depot in Brownwood for the annual paint-off, which tests the focus of artist with only 6 hours to visualize and craft their works and with cash prizes ranging reaching $500 there was not a moment to spare.
“I really got finished a little bit early so I started checking to see if there were any more details I needed to pay more attention to,” said Paula Vaughn, who won best overall for her portrait. “I quit and then I went back and looked at it and thought, oh my gosh I left something out. I went and grabbed some pastels and put a little bit more work into it just touching up.”
Vaughn was one of the first arrivals Saturday morning. Similar to many other artists she used an image she took while visiting a lake near Comanche. While portraits are often reserved to honor a loved one, Vaughn said her portrait was of a complete stranger. Someone she never met, but he gave off an aura she felt compelled to capture.
“It’s so amazing. The competition was tough. I had no idea I was going to win,” Vaughn said. “They’re all good. I don’t know who he is (in the portrait). I’m a people person and I think he is a re-enactor. He just looked interesting and I asked him ‘would you pose for me’. He said ‘sure’ so I took his picture. That’s how I get a lot of my subject matter. There is someone out there that doesn’t know.”
While Vaughn spent the last few moments hammering out the final details, runner-up Bob Stuth-Wade was simply happy to be inside. He spent Saturday morning and early afternoon with sitting along a train track capturing the image of a nearby grain silo. Although familiar with the subject matter having practiced in preparation for the competition, Stuth-Wade did not factor in the strong wind.
“I love being outside, but it’s incredibly difficult. Painting is hard enough itself. Today, the wind was 40 miles-per-hour I would be painting and having to hold the easel because it would fall over and hit me or sling paint holding the aisle because it would fall over or sling paint. It blew hard enough to blow my brushes off of the pallet. It was extremely frustrating.”
Event organizer Marla Stanley said Saturday’s submissions showed a talent level that continues to increase year after year. She credited the glut of talent to community support for the paint off both in participation and financial support.
“It’s amazing. A lot of it is because they know what they do is appreciated,” Stanley said. “We always have a good turnout. We always sell most, if not all, of the work that is made here and they know the people here in Brownwood really work hard to support the artists and vice-versa. They work really hard to support us … When the weather is a little nicer, we have more artists because they can do en plein air and go outside. This year, only one person risked the winds and cold to go outside.”