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Art Abounds

Meet our 2016 Cover Contest winner and 12 finalists.



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The more than 200 participants in this year’s cover contest certainly brought their artistic gifts to the game. And once again they used them to full effect, turning in a stunning selection of photography, painting and illustration for our tenth anniversary competition. We’re proud to introduce our winner and 12 finalists (in no particular order). Click through to each page to learn more about the artists and check out the gallery below to view the beautiful works of art created by our finalists and winner.

Marin Magazine's 2016 Cover Contest Winner

FOR AN ARTIST with an impressive creative family legacy who began painting at age 9, received her first commission at age 12 and was a working portraitist by 21, the hardest thing was to hear that she had to stop.

“It was the low point of my life,” says Sausalito artist Barrie Barnett, 57, a pastelist who discovered in 2000 that the dust created during her work was dramatically affecting her health. “To find that the medium I loved was killing me created a huge dilemma; I was secretly planning my funeral.”

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Barrie Barnett.

Called “the finest living pastelist” by renowned dog painter William Secord, Barnett was going to have to leave that medium and find another way. So the artist, then recently divorced, donated her more than 1,000 pastels to a local art academy in Maryland (her home state) and in 2013 came to Sausalito, where she took up residence on a houseboat, opened a studio in the ICB Building and continued doing animal and human portraits, this time in oil.

“I got through it and discovered it could loosen me up,” Barnett says about transitioning to oil. “It was a more fluid outcome, less overworked.”

Still, something was missing: Barnett was working constantly on commissions but wanted to “paint something that I love.” And then it hit the Marin Rowing Association member (another activity her family excels at): why not paint people participating in that sport?

“I started thinking how I could capture the beauty of the sport in a painting,” she says. “Not easy at all, as to me the beauty is in the fluid, perfectly synchronized movement.”

She began in January, aiming to have the painting done in time for the contest, and she just made it — after a few nights of sleeping on the studio couch and drinking tea and French brandy. What inspired her was the youthful energy of the athletic Juniors, but she got much more than just a piece of art from the experience.

“This painting restored a fire of ambition in me,” Barnett says. “It’s a milestone; I discovered that I really want to paint rowers.”

Meet Barrie Barnett and the finalists at our Get Covered Contest Celebration event May 12, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at 302 Bon Air Center in Greenbrae. It’s a great chance to celebrate with the contest winner and to view art by this year’s Marin Open Studios participants.


Our 12 Finalists

PEGGY MURPHY: Inspired by her mother’s love of painting, Peggy Murphy, a 20-year resident of Marin, studied with other artists, visited many museums and taught herself everything else she needed to know to become a painter herself. She also finds inspiration in the works of masters such as Édouard Vuillard, Édouard Manet and Wayne Thiebaud.

“I am drawn to subjects that capture beauty as well as the grit and patina of daily life,” Murphy says. “This truck with its dents, rust and weathered paint was already a piece of art. I just knew it would make a great subject.”

BARBARA LIBBY-STEINMANN: Born and raised on a dairy farm in Switzerland, Barbara Libby-Steinmann moved to Marin in 1996 to study English and pursue an arts career. She teaches art at Bacich Elementary in Kentfield, where she strives to help students develop their creative and artistic skills.

“My passion is to be outdoors, breathing in the fresh cool air of a new day, feeling the sea breeze on my skin, climbing a mountain and enjoying stunning views,” Libby-Steinmann says of what ignites her creative spark. “I experiment with simplifying essential shapes and lines, moving toward the abstract, while never completely losing touch with the essential details.”

INGRID LOCKOWANDT: Last year’s Cover Contest winner is back with another piece reflecting life in Marin. The full-time artist and Tiburon resident began painting at a young age and says she enjoys portraits the most, finding they provide the greatest challenge and satisfaction.

“I drove to Point Reyes National Seashore and randomly turned off Sir Francis Drake Boulevard onto a road paved with crushed oyster shells,” she says of this painting’s genesis. “At the end of that road, I found myself at the source of the shells, the now-defunct Drakes Bay Oyster Company. While I was taking pictures of the workers, a young oyster farmer, who seemed a little shy, caught my attention.”

DEBORAH HAMON: Deborah Hamon is a full-time artist who grew up in Australia but has lived in Novato, where she loves to run or hike the local trails when she isn’t holed up in the studio, for the last 12 years. This photograph is part of her “Polar Pom- Pom Project” designed to help children engage with art and climate change.

“I worked with third- and fifth-grade classrooms across Marin in 2013 discussing things kids can do to help the environment and how art can be used to help continue the conversation,” Hamon says. “Then I packed up over 2,000 yarn pom-poms and set off on a three-week journey into the remote Arctic (where this photo was taken) on a tall ship.”

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