Thursday, August 3, 2017

Dead Vehicle Challenge Results

The Dead Vehicle Challenge invited you to go outside to paint a car, truck, or bus that didn't work anymore. The response was overwhelming, with more than 70 entries. Many of you in Europe and Asia said it was difficult to find abandoned cars. Some of you had to deal with extreme heat, mosquitos, wind, and rain.

I was very impressed with the results, and it was hard to choose winners. In addition to the announced awards, I added two special awards: Best Story and Plein-Air Family.

FINALIST: Spencer Meagher
Since this was in transparent watercolor, all the highlights had to be planned. It's well drawn, the values are accurate, and the colors convey the rust and sunshine.

"This has been a fun challenge inspiring me to a deeper exploration of my surroundings."



"Once I began looking I discovered so many possibilities. I found this '51 Packard in a hidden boneyard of vintage vehicles. There is a quiet beauty that develops as these vehicles age."
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FINALIST: Shari Blaukopf
It took me a second to realize what I was looking at. Creative angle and great subject.



"My dead vehicle is a van that is parked under the shade of a tree at a garage on St. Viateur St. in Montreal's Mile End district. The front windshield is all shattered and covered with leaves and dirt. It's not going anywhere for sure."


"I guess even the mechanics in the garage have given up on it. I wanted to paint a side view but the only bench in the shade was across the street facing the back. It was lots of fun to render the graffiti."
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FINALIST: Tim Hodge
Another painting of a "painted" vehicle. The treatment of light and color, together with the surrounding plants, give an uptempo vibe to this cheery van


"Here's my entry. I often drive by this house about 2 miles from my home, and admire the old Ford van painted up as Scooby Doo's Mystery Machine. I knew I had to paint it before they towed it away, but never took time to meet them until this painting challenge. Thank you for the kick in the pants!"

"I work in animation, and was raised on Scooby Doo, so this old beauty was a natural attraction for me. It looks like Fred, Daphne and Velma have gone on their merry ways and Scooby and Shaggy have been living out of the Mystery Machine for awhile now."


"I got rained out of my first day of painting and had to return a few days later."

"P.S. I didn't use an easel for this one. I sat on the ground to get a more dramatic angle. Not sure I quite got it. My eyes need a wide angle lens!"
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FINALIST: R Allen Harrington
The surfaces are convincing, and there's a great deal of attention to detail.



"This 1963 Pontiac Catalina is located behind an auto service garage that has been closed for quite some time, and has "For Sale" signs posted on the building. It appears that the contents of the building are are also for sale, and most likely this old Pontiac will be included as well. I visited the location 3 times to complete the painting, and never once saw another individual on or about this property or any of those adjacent to it...I learned from an acquaintance the owner of the shop parked the car there in the mid 1990's with plans to remove the 421 cubic inch V8 from it, but never achieved that goal. "



"From the looks of it, instead of losing the engine, it appears the car acquired an accumulation of automotive parts and cushions in the interior, along with a family of woodchucks living underneath. According to the windshield sticker, it was last registered in New Jersey in 1990. On my first visit I sketched the vehicle with pencil in a Strathmore Toned tan sketchbook, then I removed the page and stretched it in my studio on a piece of homosote board like I would do with watercolor paper; I used gouache and some watercolor as a painting medium when I worked on location. We had a week of clouds and rain in between my second and third visit, and during that time some one mowed and trimmed around it... I hope the woodchucks weren't too disturbed..."
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FINALIST: Al Skaar
This one is memorable and compelling because of the way it is hidden by foliage. Well painted foliage, by the way. 

"This clunker has been buried under a tangle of blackberries and ivy for at least 3 years. "

"It certainly qualifies as a dead vehicle. The challenge was painting something that is barely visible, and still have it recognizable."
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GRAND PRIZE WINNER: Forrest Dickison
Forrest's painting stands out for its solid drawing, excellent value structure, convincing setting and attention to detail where detail is important, such as the cracked window.



"Dethroned" 6x8" gouache


"I drove about half a mile out of town and found this old, dead Dodge pickup truck, sporting ample amounts of rust and just a touch of chrome. Cheers!"

SPECIAL AWARD: MULTIMEDIA
There were several videos submitted, and it was tough to choose between them, but the award goes to:

Will Pitney painted a prison bus, and created a short film (complete with stunt work and some bold locations) showing how he got authenticity for the prison experience. (Link to YouTube)

SPECIAL AWARD: HUMAN STORY
I'm adding this category to honor an entry with a moving human story behind the painting.



Dani Maupin
"Dieter and Yeti... 1972 Citroen 2cv and 1993 Dodge Ram diesel. Painted at my father's house. My father has had these cars for as long as I can remember. The Citroen he got when we were living in Germany, where I grew up. I remember driving all over France with him picking up two other Citroens to use as parts for Dieter when he broke down the first time. I've been under the hood of this car with him more than once, and helped choose the Charleston look for him the last time we repainted him."


"Right now, Dieter is a dead car, sitting in my father's driveway in Wisconsin, after having been dragged all over Europe and New England for years. Dieter is my car, my father says so (my brothers each have dibs on other classic European cars which my father owns) and I'm looking forward to spending a summer restoring Dieter with him."

"I love the little put-put feeling of his 2 cylinders. 20 years ago, when we repainted him (from white to silver-grey) my father let me paint 'Dieter the Duck' (as these cars are typically called ducks) on the trunk, and this visit I was very pleased to discover that my painting was still there. It's a strange thing to realize as an adult, that your father has always loved you enough that he let you help make so many powerful decisions about a car and never 'unmade' them, even 20 years later."
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SPECIAL AWARD: PLEIN-AIR FAMILY
There were several families that went painting together, so I wanted to create a special award for an artist who brought the family along and got them all involved in the fun.
Greg Preslicka
Greg Preslicka with Evan Preslicka and Leah Preslicka.
"Midwest Military. I painted in the yard of this salvage yard for military vehicles. Three of my kids; Leah Evan and Alec, Leah's friend Haley and I painted for this challenge on an evening a couple of weeks ago."
The Preslicka Family
"Unfortunately a storm rolled in pretty quickly and only Evan, Alec and myself finished. The business was closed at the time so we were not able to talk with the owner and get some of the stories behind some of these hard working vehicles. I am sure there is a lot of history that they could tell us."

Alec Preslicka
Evan Preslicka
Head on over to the Facebook page to see all the rest of the entries in the Dead Vehicle Challenge. Thanks to everyone who entered and who tried something new.

For all who won the above awards, please email me your mailing address so I can send your Department of Art patch, and let me know which download or DVD you would like.

8 comments:

bernicky said...

Good choices all. Congrats to all the finalists.

Steve Gilzow said...

Wonderful to envision the experiences set in motion by this challenge. The process -- the journey -- was as meaningful as the result -- the destination. "Dead" they may be, but those vehicles continued to take people places.

dragonladych said...

What a wonderful challenge this was! It finally got me out to try and do something in plein air. Really hard.
And the stories behind all of the entries were so fabulous, it made me travel around the world.

Can't wait until the next challenge!

Sherry Schmidt said...


Great choices for this fun challenge! I really enjoyed seeing everyone's interpretation and reading their stories.

scottT said...

I enjoy these challenges and seeing what people come up with. There is some nice work here. Congrats to everyone who participated!

Lauren Foster-MacLeod said...

What a wonderful challenge, and well done, everyone! I'm impressed with the wonderful artworks -- so much character! Great stories, too. I look forward to the next thing you challenge us to paint, James.

Nic Human said...

This challenge yielded SO many good and interesting artworks and stories. The winners definitely deserve their spots - they are excellent! Quality mark-making, colour choices, compositions, and visual narratives. It is great to form part of such an enthusiastic art community. Well done to James and everyone that participated.

Tim said...

The Human Story award was especially touching. (And a lovely painting to boot!)