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"The Eucharist" by Liz Beard,Private Collection

Narrative Still Life Exhibition

The late Sir Roger Scruton wrote: “The true work of art […] is a consciously created thing, in which the human need for form triumphs over the randomness of objects. Our lives are fragmented and distracted - things start up in our feelings without finding their completion. Very little is revealed to us in such a way that its significance can be fully understood. In art, however, we create a realm of the imagination, in which each beginning finds its end, and each fragment is part of a meaningful whole.”

This exhibition focuses on narrative still life painting; paintings which illuminate the meanings we find through and beyond the fragmentary objects in our lives. These are original still life paintings with symbolic, allegorical, or narrative connotations.

We'd like to graciously thank our juror, Liz Beard, award-winning realist painter and instructor at the Grand Central Atelier in NY.  The following gallery reflects her selections from nearly 200 submissions from many countries including Azerbaijan, Canada, Italy, Mexico, Ukraine, and the United States.

We'd like to thank all the artists who participated in the competition and warmly congratulate the winners!

If you are interested in purchasing any of the finalist works, please email


Best in Show - 1st Prize

"Ochre Harvest"
by E. Vincent Wood III
Oil on linen   |   18" x 24"   |   NFS

Narrative: Being from Kansas, there is an overarching cadence of sowing and reaping. Generations came and went working the land. Even present, urban, population centers are very much tied to the soil being built upon the same vast grasslands. Ochre, a predominant color used in the composition, is also a pigment derived from the soil. All this history remains woven into every prairie-dweller (and stroke of the painting) no matter how distant it seems.The best part of the sowing and reaping rhythm is the celebration following harvest. It may come from appointed feast days or simply the conclusion of harvest, the gathered fruit of the land. While this celebration may seem like an act of gratitude, it also observes the great balance of labor between God and his image-bearers, appointed to us in the beginning. On the one hand, it acknowledges the abundant life present in creation, where the land produces food of its own accord. On the other hand, it recognizes the responsibility taken to sow, to care, to cultivate, and to gather that available life. As the fruit is gathered, so are families. There is plenty.

There is rest.


2nd Prize

"El Camino del Peregrino"
by John Folley
Oil on canvas  |  39" x 33"  |  NFS

Narrative: God's Providence provides for every need of the Christian, as we are reminded in the Gospel when Jesus has Peter catch a fish and from it draw two coins to pay the temple tax. Likewise in our lives, the Seven Sacraments are Our Lord's gifts that feed and sustain us along the journey. Camino del Peregrino represents all of this in the form of a dinner table scene which might take place in a tavern on the Camino de Santiago; a place where the pilgrim finds refreshment and repose.


3rd Prize
"Times Past 1"
by Martin Dimitrov
Oil on canvas  |   28"x36"  |  NFS

Dramatic Narrative: There was a time, when objects had more dings and scratches, more character, and many memories associated with them. A hand-woven table cloth, or a cooking dish, like a cast-iron pot, was sometimes passed down from one generation to the next and seemed to carry the family history with it. It could spark distant memories. For me, these are childhood memories of endless summers spent at the seaside with my grandparents. But that old pot can also help us see how quickly our years go by and how irrecoverably gone are the days of our childhood. The roses in the composition are dry, suggesting the passage of time and death itself. It is that sense of beauty, character and passage of time that inspired me to paint these old objects.

Technical Narrative (composition): I wanted the scene to appear impromptu - as if the owner of the house placed these objects there temporarily, and then left home never to return, leaving the viewer with a window through time. To achieve this mood, I placed some of the objects at the edges of the composition and slightly cropped them. In addition, I used diffused cool lighting (which created almost no shadows). Thus, the objects do not appear to be purposefully lit, but rather receive ambient light from elsewhere.  Painted from life.

 Juror  Liz Beard, Self Portait


Curated by Liz Beard


Liz Beard exhibits with Williams Fine Art Dealers, Principal Gallery, Eleventh Street Arts, and at the Salmagundi Club. Her education includes a BFA from Miami University of Ohio, a classical training at Ingbretson Studio, Academy of Realist Art Boston, and Grand Central Atelier. Her education included working exclusively from life and this practice remains at the center of her art making process. Awards and Honors include three years Fellow at the Hudson River School Fellowship where Liz practices landscape; Copyist at the National Gallery and Metropolitan Museum of Art; Curator and Artist for CS Lewis Institute Art Collection in Youngstown, OH; Awarded the CFW Artist-in-Residency; Awarded 2-week Artist-in-Residency at Chateau LA Napoule in La Napoule, France. Liz teaches in the core program at Grand Central Atelier in NY, and is an active member of the Salmagundi Club. She was born in Youngstown, Ohio and currently lives in Queens, New York.



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