Wildlife artist Debra Otterstein Named 2010 Artist of the Year by the Eskridge Family Trust

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The Eskridge Family Trust, in recognition of the long support given to wildlife art by the late Dean Eskridge, recognizes emerging wildlife artists who show outstanding talent. Geneva Eskridge, trustee, said, “Wildlife painters are among the bravest of artists, the goal of creating a realistic and convincing image of the natural world is beyond the ability of most painters. Those who succeed are to be admired greatly for their dedication to their craft and the years of work required to produce works of real merit. We have awarded Deb Otterstein our 2010 Award of Excellence. We expect Deb Otterstein to soon take her place as one of the masters of the wildlife art genre.”

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Geneva Eskridge, trustee of the Eskridge Family Trust, said, "My late husband, Dean Eskridge, was a long time supporter of young wildlife artists. In rememberance of him the trust annually selects a wildlife artist for its Award of Excellence. Dean always said that wildlife artists were the bravest of painters. Not only do they have to be able to render a convincing image of an animal but they also must produce a compelling scene with all of the complexity of nature. He believed that those who succeed are to be admired greatly for their dedication to their craft and the years of work required to produce works of real merit." Eskridge continued, "We have selected Debra Otterstein as our 2010 artist of the year."

Deb Otterstein, http://debotterstein.com/default.aspx a resident of Cove, Oregon, began painting at a young age and has evolved into an accomplished wildlife artist with pieces in many domestic and international private collections. A unique specialty of Otterstein is animal images painted on delicate feathers, a most unforgiving medium. Her art was recently featured on the Oregon Public Broadcasting program, Oregon Art Beat, http://www.opb.org/programs/artbeat/segments/view/852 that highlighted that unique aspect of her work.

Otterstein began as a largely self taught artist but has perfected her craft studying under well known wildlife artists, Terry Issac http://www.terryisaacsart.com, Daniel Smith http://www.danielsmithwildlife.com and John Banovich, http://www.johnbanovich.com. An example of the respect she enjoys from other artists is illustrated by a comment Terry Isaac made when he first viewed her painting, “Water’s Edge” http://debotterstein.com/Debbie.aspx. He said, “This is a masterpiece”. According to Isaac the definition is one he does not take credit for but is one that he shares from his mentor Robert Bateman. Issac continued, “A masterpiece is when you look at a painting as if you are seeing it for the first time and it looks like it was effortlessly done. This painting (Water’s Edge) is an extremely fresh and neat painting.”

In an unusual second announcement Eskridge said, “the trust also wants to give special recognition to Deb’s husband Michael Otterstein. His work as a wildlife photographer has met with growing admiration for his skill at capturing particularly compelling photographs of animals. His most recent piece was honored at the 2010 Wallowa Valley Festival Of Arts “Nature’s Disguise – Bobcat”, it is a subtle but striking image of a bobcat blending into nature’ backdrop and is a remarkable example of Michael’s artistry." http://debotterstein.com/happenings.aspx

Eskridge said, “It is unusual for us to recognize a husband and wife team, but in this case Deb and Michael produce a unique synergy as many of the inspirations for Deb’s art are rooted in the photographic studies of her husband. We felt that the combination serves to strengthen and expand the contribution of the other and that this unusual working relationship should be recognized.”

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