Prints that Win: Snowy Morning

Snowy Morning by Cheri MacCallumCheri MacCallum, owner of Art by Cheri, Idaho Falls, is a photo painter extraordinaire. Photographers around the country send her files to paint digitally in Corel Painter to add that extra value that comes from painted portrait photo.

Moreover, MacCallum’s work has won various awards, including the LexJet Sunset Award two years running at the PPA Western District Competition. We profiled last year’s winner, Dennis the Menace, and had to wait for national competition judging to unveil this year’s winner, entitled Snowy Morning, which scored 100 at the PPA Western District Competition.

Snow Morning Award Winning Photo by Cheri MacCallum
This is the original capture of Snow Morning before Cheri MacCallum applied her digital painting magic.

MacCallum found the scene depicted in Snowy Morning on a little dirt road outside of Idaho Falls. The first snow had just blanketed the landscape and MacCallum saw great potential in the composition.

However, it wasn’t until she added the digital painting that she thought it would be competition-worthy. And competition-worthy it was, grabbing the attention of the judges for its composition, lighting and use of accent colors so that the viewer can almost feel the chill of that day, contrasted to the warm tones of the wood in the dilapidated fence and early winter foliage. “Adding the accent colors really helped a lot in the feeling and mood of the image,” she says.

“We went back a couple of weeks ago to see what it looked like in the summer, but we couldn’t find it,” says MacCallum. “We’ll have to try to figure out where it is so I can capture it in another season and contrast it with the winter scene.”

MacCallum printed the image for competition on LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin on her Canon iPF8300S, and says she chose the eSatin in part for its thickness and durability. “The year before I used a gloss paper. I liked how it looked, but it was very easy to ding and crimp, so I went with a thicker, more durable paper,” she adds.

Prints that Win: Dennis the Menace

Award Winning Print

Cheri MacCallum, owner of Art by Cheri, Idaho Falls, Idaho, is one of those talented few who have had the honor of winning a LexJet Sunset Award two years in a row.

Unfortunately, we can’t show you MacCallum’s latest winning image; she’s entering it in a national competition and it’s not a good idea to let it leak out to the public. There are affiliated jurors who might see it, who would then have to disqualify themselves from judging.

We had the same issue last year following the PPA Western District competition. The good news is that we can now reveal last year’s winning Sunset Award winner from the PPA Western District: Dennis the Menace.

MacCallum says Dennis the Menace, a portrait photographed in New Orleans, was likely an award winner in the Portrait category for three factors: expression, lighting and painting. MacCallum is a masterful artist in Corel Painter who also paints for other photographers.

“I work on it in Photoshop and re-touch it, take it into Corel Painter and bring it back into Photoshop to prepare it for printing,” says MacCallum. “When I enter print competitions I don’t think about awards, I think about improving myself and pushing the envelope. If the judges think it’s worthy, all the better. Any good photography makes a good competition print as well: posing, lighting, color, composition, subject material… the whole nine yards has to come together.”

MacCallum adds that for competition, the print itself could spell the difference between winning and losing. For this image, MacCallum printed the image on LexJet 8 Mil ImagePro Gloss with her Canon iPF8300 and applied it to art board.

“I called LexJet and told my rep what I was doing and that I didn’t need anything really thick and heavy, or what I normally provide my clients: fine art paper and canvas. Based on that, we came to the conclusion that ImagePro Gloss would be a good fit. Print presentation is definitely one of the elements they look for, and this print material worked well,” adds MacCallum.