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  • At Benfield Gallery’s Artist Eye 2017 exhibition in October, Best in Show honors went to Carol Cowie for “Yellow Mist,” a 17-by-20-inch oil painting.
    At Benfield Gallery’s Artist Eye 2017 exhibition in October, Best in Show honors went to Carol Cowie for “Yellow Mist,” a 17-by-20-inch oil painting.

Artist Eye 2017 Exhibit Now Open At Benfield Gallery

Judy Tacyn
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November 3, 2017

Two Annapolis artists, Carol Cowie and Ronaldo Dorado, earned top honors at Benfield Gallery’s seventh annual fall juried exhibition, the Artist Eye 2017. The gallery’s biggest juried competition of the year was held October 7, and featured the works of 26 artists in a variety of styles and media, including oil paintings, watercolor paintings, pastels, ink washes and photography.

Best in Show honors went to Carol Cowie for “Yellow Mist,” a 17-by-20-inch oil painting. Cowie said the inspiration of her painting was the “color, light and serenity of the moment.”

“I see this view from my home every day, and every day it changes depending on the time of day and season,” she said of the scene depicted in her painting. “I am fascinated by the effects the light plays on the water versus the sky. This day presented a dreamy fog that was interesting with the warmth of the light. The light poked out behind the cloud in a field of yellow and it was a magical moment.”

Cowie works with oil paints because she enjoys the flexibility oil has in texture and vibrancy. “I can use it like a wash at times, and other times, pile it on and scrape it away, leaving beautiful effects,” she continued. “The layers of complementary colors create the vibration and glow I look for.”

Cowie has managed her own graphic design business in Annapolis for 18 years, she is a nationally recognized award-winning art director.

“I love to be outside and focus on capturing light, so I mostly enjoy plein air (open air) painting. I prefer to paint from life because I can see so much more color and rhythm of lights and darks that is hard to see in photos,” said Cowie.”

She considers herself a lifelong artist. “As a kid, I was constantly drawing and making cards for people. I ended up focusing on graphic design in my professional career until I finally started painting in oil, and that has really become my passion,” said Cowie. “My design background and editorial work gave me a foundation in composition, color harmony and storytelling.”

Next up on the artist’s agenda is more painting, more experimenting and more storytelling.

“Color, harmony and rhythm excite me!” Cowie said. “I can barely finish one painting before I am off to the next one to discover and express what I see and feel.”

Ronaldo Dorado earned second-place honors for his 6-by-22-inch watercolor titled “Carroll’s Creek, Eastport.” Dorado said he chose this scene because he “loved the red background building and the boats that surround that area.”

Dorado earned the top honor at the Artist Eye 2016 show and was excited to do well again in 2017. In addition, Dorado recently showed at and earned first-place honors at Chestertown QuickDraw 2017, the Linthicum Walks annual show 2017, and Harford County Quick Draw 2017.

“I think I will consider myself an artist when people start to recognize my artwork,” said Dorado. After a year filled with honors, it’s safe to say that people are taking notice.

The Artist Eye 2017 exhibit includes 47 works of art and will remain open through November 18 in Benfield Gallery at 485 Jumpers Hole Road in Severna Park, Monday through Saturday, from 10:00am to 5:00pm. The Artist Eye 2017 was juried by Rita Curtis, a noted Maryland oil painter known for her still life, landscape and figurative paintings.

“It was an honor to win first place in Artist Eye,” said Cowie, “and I am especially excited to have a solo show at Benfield Gallery next September, which is included as part of my first-place win!”

Of the Benfield Gallery, Cowie said, “I enjoy this gallery because they continue to work with artists to participate in shows and keep the quality of work high. I enjoy the professional way the shows are hung and judging presented. I was impressed with the caliber of judging represented at Benfield.”

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