Main Competition Judges
Michelle Condrat was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah where she resided to this day. After earning her Art and Art History degrees from the University of Utah, she continued with her artistic journey painting the unique landscape of Utah and the Southwest. When she is not working in the studio, she is spending her time in the outdoors, driving through mountain ranges, fishing on lakes, and hiking through canyons, where she gathers inspiration and subject matter for her paintings.
Many people have described her style as "digital" or "architectural" due to the layering of her linear and blended paint strokes. She is known for this unique painting style as well as her intense color choices that are made from her unconventional paint pallet. Michelle's style also helps to give motion and depth to her paintings, while capturing the feel of the western landscape with a fresh and new visual perspective.
Michelle is an active participant in many art shows throughout the country, especially those that are related to national park and monuments, such as the Zion National Park Plein Air Invitational and the Grand Canyon Celebration of Art. She has won numerous awards throughout the years such as The Zion National Park Invitational Foundation Excellence Award in 2014 and the People's Choice Award in 2019, the Cedar Breaks National Monument Plein Air Festival People's Choice Award in 2017 and the Sears Dixie Invitational Viewer's Choice Award in 2020. To learn more about Michelle, click here.
Bill Cramer is best known for his striking oil paintings of the American West. Growing up in the west, Bill always had an interest in exploring nature and creating art. As a longtime rock climber, he spent much of his youth enjoying the more vertical aspects of the landscape. After receiving a University of California fine arts degree, he moved to Arizona with his wife Michelle to be closer to the scenery they both enjoyed. It was there that he discovered the delight and challenges of plein air painting, his outdoor experiences providing much of the insight and inspiration for his landscape paintings. Bill works in a style best described as Impressionistic Realism, where strong brushwork and colors are used to express the vitality and beauty of the natural world.
“I truly enjoy the essential act of painting, especially on location. I look for a balance between the actual scene and my reaction to it - not to paint precisely what I see, but to paint what I want the viewer to see. Every landscape is greater than the obvious visual elements. The push of an evening breeze, the feel of sun baked sandstone, the scent of sagebrush or the sound of a raven suddenly overhead are examples of the many unseen elements that inform my work. I’m satisfied when a painting is as rich as the landscape that inspired it. My goals are to keep exploring wild places to discover new ideas and express what I find exciting about landscapes and about painting.”
Bill has been selected in numerous shows, competitions and achieved many awards over the years. Click here for more on Bill.