Retired contractor stunned by top art award

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PENDLETON — Artist David Bradshaw covered his face with his hands after hearing his name announced before a crowd at Gallery 119 in Pendleton.

He said he never expected he’d win first place in the Pendleton Artists Society’s fourth annual juried art show.

“There’s a lot of good art here,” Bradshaw said afterward, explaining his shock.

Bradshaw, a member of the artist society and resident of Anderson, won the $350 top prize for his piece “Woman of the World,” a 9-by-12-inch portrait of a woman he painted from a photo in a magazine.

First- and second-place awards, as well as a People’s Choice Award, were presented at a reception Friday, Nov. 4, marking the opening of a show that will be on display through the end of the year.

The show includes 39 works of art from Pendleton Artists Society members and non-

members. The juror for the exhibition was Mark J. Ruschman, chief fine arts curator for the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites in Indianapolis.

Ruschman spent several hours at the gallery last week judging the artwork.

Ruschman, who said he’s been judging contests for many years and working with art for 40 years, said he “was pleased with the variety and quality of the work” in the show; he shared thoughts about Bradshaw’s piece in particular.

“I thought it was a beautiful composition and extremely well done,” Ruschman said on Monday. He said Bradshaw’s painting showed talent from the technical side, such as in the brush strokes, and from an overall aesthetic standpoint.

“It’s a terrific likeness of a person,” he said. “I congratulate him on the work.”

Shirley Willoughby, event chairwoman for the art group, said Ruschman was thorough with his judging of the works, even rejecting about a dozen submitted pieces for reasons he explained in detail.

Bradshaw said his oil- painting-on-board portrait was one of the first works he did after he retired from construction and moved to Indiana from California.

He said he chose the subject of his painting from a picture in a magazine for the World Social Forum, an international gathering for solving societal challenges.

He’s always had a natural gift for drawing, he said, and early in his life had considered being a street artist in California.

But, he went into construction instead because of the greater income potential and didn’t return to art until decades later.

“About 30 years later I was sick of it (construction),” Bradshaw said. “I began painting when I moved here (in 2008).”

He painted “Women of the World” in 2011.

Second place and $200 in prize money went to Fran Auker, also a PAS member and Pendleton resident, for a 12-by-12-inch pastel work titled “Hayden’s Swim Hat.”

The People’s Choice award and $50 in prize money went to Aubree Lanman, a Pendleton Heights High School senior, for “Rosenquist” an 18-by-18-inch graphite drawing.

The show will be on display through Saturday, Dec. 31 at the gallery, 119 W. State St. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. For more, call 765-778-0986 or visit www.pendletonartistssociety.org.