Metro-East News

Michigan watercolor painter takes best of show after four years among top Art on the Square artists

This year’s top artist is no stranger to Art on the Square: he’s been its best painter for four years running.

Scott Hartley began painting in high school, and has been touring professionally for about 37 years. He began by doing landscapes, and eventually found a different style for his work: the intricacies of urban architecture, of alleys and fire escapes in a city neighborhood.

“I’ve always been drawn to an offbeat subject matter, different than what we would ordinarily consider to be beautiful,” Hartley said. “I’m drawn to the challenge of a design that is not commonly lauded in our culture and yet they’re everywhere. Just the fact that they’re not commonly thought of as a normal subject matter, to me, is a challenge.”

Reserving the white of the paper to represent the lightest values of the subject requires careful planning, according to artist statements on Hartley’s website. He said he spends a lot of time manipulating the shapes and light and dark values in small “pre-studies,’ until he has achieved the most expressive composition.

His artwork is based on real places. When Hartley finds an alley or cityscape he might be interested in painting, he takes numerous photographs from various angles before he begins painting. He uses a transparent watercolor technique, using as much water and pigment as he can put on paper to create nearly translucent colors in his cityscapes.

His grandfather was watercolor artist Leslie Austin Hartley, who was born and trained in England. Hartley himself has attended workshops with artists such as Nita Engle and Tom Lynch. Hartley grew up in the Catskills of New York, but now lives in the Ann Arbor, Mich. area. He said this has taught him to develop an eye for the unique American landscape, seeking to capture “the rich, colorful, impressive, complex and intriguing views of the common subjects all around us.”

Among Hartley’s many festival honors are: three-time first place in watercolor in the Walt Disney World Festival of the Masters; invitational award at Madison Museum of Contemporary Art; and first place or best of show at art festivals from Minneapolis to Chicago to Naples, Fla. - including first place in painting at Art on the Square in 2012-15.

Nearly four decades of creating (and selling) art, many shows and several best-of-show placements later, Hartley advises new artists to “go their own way.”

“Absorb lots of different styles, then strike off on your own,” he said.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald

Award winners

  • Best of Show, $3,000: Scott Hartley, booth 38
  • Ed L. and Helen Karasek Purchase Award, $1,500: Nancy Beard, booth 27
  • Joan Voss Renner Purchase Award, $2,000: Laurel Peterson Gregory, booth 13
  • Mayor’s Choice Purchase Award, $1,000: Deborah Falls, booth 16
  • Barb King Jewelry Award, $500: Katherine Goulandris, booth 20
  • Rotary Club of Belleville Purchase Award, $1,000: John Mascoll, booth 71
  • Joni Quaas Memorial Purchase Award, $1,500: Daniel Lager, booth 18

      Best of category awards

      • Clay: Debra Stiedel, booth 43
      • Digital/Graphic Design: John Leben, booth 15
      • Drawing/Printmaking: George Raab, booth 73
      • Fine Craft: Hetty and Norman Metzger, booth 102
      • Glass: Sam Stang, booth 48
      • Jewelry: Obayana Ajanaku, booth 2
      • Mixed Media: Mark Johnson, booth 64
      • Oil and Acrylic: M. Shawn Cornell, booth 24
      • Photography: Jill Bedford, booth 52
      • Sculpture: David Bryce, booth 72
      • Watercolor: David Dallison, booth 33
      • Wood: Matthew Hatala, booth 94

      People’s Choice Award

      • Oil and Acrylic: Marc Villanueva, booth 93

        Awards of excellence

        • Jewelry: Joseph Cyberski, booth 109
        • Drawing and Printmaking: Robin Lauersdorf, booth 107
        • Photography: Bill Lemke, booth 63
        • Photography: Igor Menaker, booth 30
        • Wood: Steven Potts, booth 1
        • Clay: Yael Shomroni, booth 30
        • Glass: Mark Sudduth, booth 107
        • Glass: Warner Whitfield, booth 10

        Best of Show — High school

          • Charcoal: “Screwed Up” by Jennifer Clifton, of Triad High School

          Awards of excellence — High school

          • Watercolor: “Bananas” by Jordan Eiland, of Althoff High School
          • Fiber: “1000 Wishes” by Harrison Thomas, of Carterville High School
          • Charcoal: “Marsha Marsha Marsha” by Brooke Sulcer, of Centralia High School
          • Charcoal: “Taps” by Natalie Stratemeyer, of Centralia High School

          Awards of merit — High school

          • Acrylic: “Abusive Father, Schizophrenic Mother” by Rebekah Robbins, of Centralia High School
          • Charcoal: “The Beauty of Senility” by Gabriela Skyoka, of Lebanon High School
          • Collage: “Aves” by Hannah Niles, of Marissa High School
          • Colored Pencil: “Descendent” by Alayna Wells, of Belleville West High School
          • Watercolor: “Unidentified” by Chaney Schneider, of Belleville West High School
          • Graphite: “Beast Within Beauty” by Hannah Wineinger, of Triad High School
          • Mixed Media: “Torn” by Victoria Adamske, of Althoff High School
          • Digital: “Curse Of The Seer” by Carrie Thompson, of Marion High School

            Art on the Square Committee Award — High school

              • Oil: “Mesha” by Sara Hladick, of Triad High School

                People’s Choice Awards — High school

                • Fiber: “1000 Wishes” by Harrison Thomas, of Carterville High School
                • Graphite: “Ageless” by Rachel Monken, of Althoff High School
                • Charcoal: “Marsha Marsha Marsha” by Brooke Sulcer, of Centralia High School
                • Acrylic: “Welcome Home” by Maria Cerny, of Belleville East High School

                Belleville Kiwanis Club Awards — High school

                • Watercolor: “Unidentified” by Chaney Schneider, of Belleville West High School
                • The following winner was awarded $125.
                • Digital: “Star Child” by Summer Brooks, of O’Fallon High School
                • The following winner was awarded $75.
                • Pastel: “Old Dark Tree” by DonJerrmae Jackson of East St. Louis High School

                  Gateway East Artist’s Guild Award — High school

                  • Mixed Media: “The G.O.A.T.” by Nathaniel Curry, of New Athens High School

                      Portraiture Award — High school

                      • Acrylic: “Abusive Father, Schizophrenic Mother” by Rebekah Robbins, of Centralia High School

                      Whimsy Award — High school

                      • Ceramic: “The Enlightened One” by Madeline Harter, of Belleville West High School

                        George Gasparich Ceramic Award — High school

                        • Ceramic: “La Cadavre” by Kendall Butler, of Althoff High School

                            St. Clair County Historical Society Award — High school

                            • Colored Pencil: “Cheval De Carrousel” by Emma Harris, of O’Fallon High School

                            Belleville Jaycees Awards — High school

                            • Paper Mache: “Majestic” by McKailin Ryder, of Belleville East High School
                            • Collage: “Aves” by Hannah Niles, of Marissa High School
                            • Fiber: “1000 Wishes” by Harrison Thomas, of Carterville High School
                            • Ceramic: “La Cadavre” by Kendall Butler, of Althoff High School
                            • Ink: “Peacock Parade” by Maggie Jackson, of Bellevill East High School

                            Evelyn Jaunita Ettinger Award for Fiber — High school

                            • Mixed Media: “Torn” by Victoria Adamske, of Althoff High School

                            Lindenwood Artist’s Choice Awards — High school

                            • Altered Book: “River of Knowledge” by McKayla Brooks, of Belleville East High School
                            • Mixed Media: “General Harvey” by Gillian Maloy, of Belleville East High School
                            • Oil: “Mesha” by Sara Hladick, of Triad High School
                            • Graphite: “Ageless” by Rachel Monken, of Althoff High School
                            • Mixed Media: “Audrey Hepburn” by Kayla Gillspie, of Belleville West High School
                            • Graphite: “96” by Sydney Krisher, of Althoff High School
                            • Fiber: “1000 Wishes” by Harrison Thomas, of Carterville High School
                            • Charcoal: “@ Pratt Pratt Quack” by Drew Brittin, of Centralia High School
                            • Charcoal: “Marsha Marsha Marsha” by Brooke Sulcer, of Centralia High School
                            • Charcoal: “Clothed In Strength And Dignity” by Emily Reinneck, of Lebanon High School

                            St. Clair County Awards — High school

                            • Mixed Media: “Mine” by Pauline Cabrera, of Belleville West High School
                            • Ceramic: “Jar” by Alex Langenstein, of Althoff High School
                            • Charcoal: “Lady of Strength - Bititi” by Abigail Reinneck, of Lebanon High School

                            Belleville Mayor’s Choice Award — High school

                            • Ceramic: “Untitled” by Decker Gramlich, of Althoff High School

                            Illinois American Water Co. Award — High school

                            • Photography: “100 Hands” by Leah Schneider, of Belleville East High School

                            Delta Kappa Gamma Sorority — High school

                            • Graphite: “Artist In The Studio” by Victoria Toenjes-Brown, of Belleville West High School
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