An Oneonta artist has won a high-profile international art contest.
David Kiehm’s oil painting, “Foundation Wall,” has been selected as the winner of the BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year Competition 2013 in the International Artists: Birds category.
“It’s a huge confidence-booster for my work,” Kiehm said.
The contest, which is in its fifth year, is organized by the magazine BBC Wildlife. It features 13 categories, 11 of which are reserved for artists from the United Kingdom, while two are reserved for international applicants. An overall award is also given, the winner of which is named BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year. That award was given to Georgina Gibbons this year for her painting “Dangerous Waters.”
The 2013 competition had 1,400 entries.
Kiehm grew up near Utica, and currently resides in the Oneonta area. A former art director for the Danbury Mint’s wildlife programs, for the past five years he has worked full time as a wildlife painter.
Kiehm said that he had won regional and national awards, but that the BBC Wildlife contest was his first venture into international competition. He submitted two paintings to the competition, “Foundation Wall” and “Slow Jay,” both in the International Artists: Birds category, and both of which made it to the final round of judging.
On having both his paintings make the finals Kiehm said, “I won in my own mind, in a way.”
“Foundation Wall” shows a great horned owl next to a old foundation wall, while “Slow Jay” shows a peregrine falcon that has just captured a blue jay.
As for winning the category Kiehm said: “I am shocked, and still am.”
Kiehm also praised the level of competition.
“I think they’ve already attracted incredible talent,” he said.
Kiehm said he found inspiration for “Foundation Wall” during his daily walks with his golden retriever, Maggie. On these walks, the two pass an old, abandoned farmstead on state land that borders Kiehm’s property where a great horned owl has taken residence.