A Win of Historic Proportions – Arizona Artist Sharon Brening Takes the Gold

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For the first time in its history, the Gold Medal for best Oil Painting has been awarded to a woman –Sharon Brening, a Arizona master artist wins the gold medal award for best oil at the Western Artists of America Annual Show and Sale held at the Pearce Museum in Corsicana, TX. Forty master artists and sculptors displayed their work for judging and purchase during the six-week long exhibit.

(Phoenix, AZ)  -  When Western art is mentioned names like Charles Russell, Frederic Remington, Albert Bierstadt and Howard Terpning come quickly to the tongue - but Sharon Brening (www.sbrening.com), a master artist from Peoria, Arizona - is looking to add her name to the list of master painters of the Western genre.   After competing with dozens of other painters in the prestigious Western Artists of America Show & Sale at the Pearce Museum in January 2011, Brening won the Gold Medal for Oil Painting, considered by many to be the annual show’s top award.

“This is a major step for me in my artistic career,” said Brening.  “The competition featured many of the best artists in the world in western art and I am honored that my painting – I Saw an Eagle Fly - was selected for the gold medal.”

Ed Holmes, president of Western Artists of America, was not surprised Brening won the award.

“For the first time ever, the gold medal award for best oil painting has been awarded to a woman artist, one of many women who have been inducted into Western Artists of America.  It is so exciting that Sharon Brening won the gold for her work in oil,” explained Holmes.  “The piece was very deserving of the award. Even established artists need to strive to go to next level of artistic skill, and Sharon took the initiative to spend time with WAA Co-founder Ed Copley for some serious mentoring.”

Brening agrees with that assessment.

“I took the glazing techniques that Ed Copley shared with me and applied it to the piece that won the gold,” Brening stated. “It is one of the mission statements for Western Artists of America that the wealth of knowledge among the members be shared with other artists.  I am definitely thankful for their generosity in passing that experience along to others.”

Brening began painting when she was eight years old. Even then, her subject was a young Native American girl about the same age that she was at the time.

“Native American children melt my heart,” shared Brening.  “When I travel to photograph my models, many times in their homes, or on the reservation, I spend days getting to know the rhythm of their lives. I realize how precious they are and how fragile their traditional lifestyle is.”

Each time and for each painting Brening documents all that she sees. Using her photographs for reference material, capturing the details of the traditional dress and other artifacts, Brening carefully gathers information to accompany each piece of artwork.

“I feel driven to continue painting the stories of the Native Americans that I have come to know as friends and help to preserve their rich heritage,” Brening explains. “From the beginning, I felt the need to preserve these cultures. Their rituals and traditions deserve to be saved and revered. To understand the significance of tradition in daily life adds more than just paint on the canvas. ”

Brening displays her art at various art festivals and shows around the country. Her upcoming schedule includes the Casa Grande Fine Art Exposition (Casa Grande, AZ); Las Cruces Art Festival (New Mexico); and the Arizona Western Art Festival at Pueblo Grande Museum (Phoenix, AZ). Brening also invites collectors to her studio located in Peoria, Arizona.  Brening’s artwork is collected in major museums and by private collectors around the world.  In 2010, Brening also had a traveling museum exhibition called Traditions Are Alive.

HD Video of Sharon Brening from the WAA Show at the Pearce Museum:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PwsJj6ZMEo

About Sharon Brening

Award winning artist Sharon Brening, a member of Western Artists of America, has been painting since she was eight years old. At an even earlier age, she was introduced to the Southwest and the cultures of Native America. She has a rich body of work unrivaled by many artists and her paintings hang today in museums, galleries and private collections around the United States. She is a member of the Western Artists of America, a prestigious invitational member group of artist dedicated to the America’s Western heritage. In 2011, Sharon won the gold medal award for oil painting at the 7th Annual Western Artists of America Show and Sale.

When she was still in her twenties, Brening was an award-winning graphic designer working with several of the Southwest’s top advertising campaigns.  Her passion for art was never far from her daily life. She continued developing her art in different mediums until finally she focused on her painting. Charles Pearce, one of America’s foremost collectors of Western Art, personally chose “Wrestling with Innocence” for the Pearce Museum’s prestigious permanent collection.  Her work can also be found at the Turn West Design Studio in Carefree, Arizona and the Silver Linings Gallery in Ouray, Colorado.

Her sons now grown, Sharon and her husband make their home in Peoria, AZ where her art studio in the desert provides the perfect creative surroundings for her talent. 

Website:  www.sbrening.com

About Western Artists of America

Western Artists of America is an organization formed in 2000 for the purpose of promoting the talents of professional fine artists specializing in the genre of cowboy, Native American, pioneer, cattle and horse subjects with backgrounds appropriate to the subject matter. Founders started the Western Artists of America to open western art up to more artists, and to expand the current understanding of what comprised western art. Formed to showcase the talents of the many qualified fine western artists of today irrespective of gender, the more seasoned members seek out up and coming talent who exhibit a high interest in the western genre for mentoring. Members of the WAA include forty of the world’s best artists and sculptors. Their works feature our Western heroes with the integrity, strength of spirit, and moral character that is an integral part of our Western heritage.  Art lovers and art collectors will view the American West, in all its splendor: cowboys and cowgirls, Native American children, elders and warriors, rodeo, western landscapes, mountain men, buffalo, stagecoaches and more.

These artists’ works are showcased in an annual event sponsored by a national art museum. The Pearce Museum on the Navarro College campus in Corsicana, Texas will host the 2012 show and sale for the WAA on March 23 and 24, 2012.  Website:  www.WesternArtistsOfAmerica.com

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Sharon Brening, Master Artist