Dixie State art student takes 4th place in major oil painting competition – St George News

ST. GEORGE-Melissa Ferguson, a local art student at Dixie State University, entered her oil painting into the student art competition by Oil Painters of America and proudly ranked as only 1 of 5 winners and an honorable mention.

Melissa Ferguson stands in front of her series of oil paintings, March 22, 2022, St. George, Utah | Photo by Jessi Bang, St. George News

The second annual competition encouraged students between the ages of 14 and 23 to submit up to three oil paintings for a prize. Ferguson received the fourth place prize along with a $250 cash prize and one year student membership in the Oil Painters of America for his piece titled “Exit 10 on Green Springs Drive”.

In an interview with St. George News, Ferguson said she had been painting for a long time and her love for the art came to fruition in high school. In college, she quickly veered into a health sciences degree, but she couldn’t stay away from her true passion – art – and opted for an art degree. She is now a senior and completing her fourth year at Dixie State.

Ferguson’s award-winning oil painting is actually part of a rain-inspired art series consisting of seven paintings, each carefully brush-drawn onto a 16-inch by 20-inch canvas. This series, titled “Summer Storms”, depicts views from inside a car on a rainy day.

Ferguson said the series was inspired by quiet moments of introspection, adding that seeing the rain from inside a car can be like stepping into a different world. Originally from Washington State, she expressed that rain scenes are also nostalgic for her, bringing more inspiration into her art.

Oil painting by Melissa Ferguson, winning entry in student art competition, date and location not specified |  Photo courtesy of Oil Painters of America, St. George News
Winning oil painting by Melissa Ferguson, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Oil Painters of America, St. George News

“I’m truly honored to get any kind of recognition,” Ferguson said, adding that entries for the competition came from across Canada, Mexico and the United States.

When Oil Painters of America contacted competition juror Jane Hunt to ask what she found unique and award-winning about Ferguson’s entry, she said it was an unusual composition and point of view. , had a pleasant harmony of colors and was very well drawn .

To see more of Ferguson’s work in person, visit the Senior Exhibit on April 8, 6-9 p.m., at the Atwood Innovation Plaza on the Dixie State University campus.

About the Oil Painters of America

One of the nation’s leading arts organizations today, Oil Painters of America, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, dedicated to preserving and promoting excellence in figurative art. Its membership is made up of more than 3,500 talented artists from across the United States and Canada.

St. George News sat down with representatives Liz Pusch, head of marketing, and Amber Lang, intern and student membership coordinator, to discuss the organization in more detail.

In 1991, Shirl Smithson founded Oil Painters of America to fill a void. Lang said Smithson was unhappy with the disappointing education of figurative art in colleges and universities at the time and wanted to make sure figurative art didn’t die out, Lang said. With only pastel and watercolor organizations in existence at the time, Oil Painters of America was the very first national association of oil painters for artists.

According to a press release issued last week by Oil Painters of America, the second annual student art contest ran from Jan. 15 to Feb. 15. 15 and was open to student artists who paint in the figurative style.

The release also said the student art competition saw competitor growth this year, with 37 students from 15 states participating in their work. The winner of this contest awarded the top six performers cash prizes ranging from $50 to $1,000. Winners were also invited to exhibit their work in the National Oil Painters of America Tradition Oils Exhibition at the Steamboat Art Museum in Steamboat Springs, Colorado from June 3 through August 31. 27.

Pusch encourages students to participate in their art next year, saying the third annual student art competition will include a high school division for ages 14-18 and a college division for ages 19-23.

Click here to see the full list of 2022 Student Art Competition winners.

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Kayleen C. Rice