Meet Tim Reilly, winner of the December PleinAir Salon Award for Artist over 65. The prize can be awarded to a painting in any media and this time, a pastel  – Wanda the Wonder Chicken – takes the prize!  

Here’s the winning painting:


Tim Reilly, "Wanda The Wonder Chicken," pastel on paper, 24 x 28 in. Winner of Artist-Over-65 Award - Tim Reilly
Tim Reilly, “Wanda The Wonder Chicken,” pastel on paper, 24 x 28 in. Winner of Artist-Over-65 Award


Ohhhhh, I thought, I want to see more work by Tim Reilly! So he kindly sent a few more images which you’ll see scattered throughout. 

I also asked Tim specifically about Wanda the Wonder Chicken. (Love that title!)

Q. Tim, tell us something about the inspiration behind this piece.

I came upon this interesting little cookie jar on the kitchen counter. My wife brought it home one Saturday afternoon after a shopping trip – it made me smile. The jar was in the shape of a funny little chicken, the lid shaped like the head with a red comb, and the base complete with black tail feathers and a pattern of white polka dots. I thought, “This would be a fun subject for a drawing.”

Q. How did you decide on the composition?

I felt the cookie jar had wonderful potential for a whimsical narrative image. Several themes in my recent work seem to go in that direction. I experimented with different objects placed around the centre of interest – the jar – and finally arrived at the idea of grouping hard-boiled eggs and Wanda in a triangular composition. The title, implying a magical connection between the eggs and the chicken jar, seemed to fit.


Tim Reilly, "Macaron Parisien," pastel, 15 1/4 x 18 3/4 in - Tim Reilly
Tim Reilly, “Macaron Parisien,” pastel, 15 1/4 x 18 3/4 in


Q. What was the most challenging part of painting Wanda the Wonder Chicken?

For me, the most difficult aspect of drawing this piece was rendering the reflections of the pink cloth and eggs as believable on the glossy surface of the ceramic jar which had a pattern of black and white tear drop shapes all around. Rendering between these shapes proved to be quite a challenge!


Tim Reilly, "Outsider," pastel, 15 1/4 x 18 3/4 in.
Tim Reilly, “Outsider,” pastel, 15 1/4 x 18 3/4 in.


Q. How did you feel hearing you’d won the award?

I was flattered, encouraged, and gratified. I felt validated that my work was selected out of more than 1000 pieces submitted. My work has been featured in many publications over a six-decade career but a positive response from well-established fellow artist judges always feels great!

Q. What advice would you give others thinking about entering the PleinAir Salon competition?

Entering competitions like PleinAir Salon is a wonderful way to receive exposure for your artwork. It motivates artists to continue doing what they love doing. It affords us the opportunity to see work done by other artists and to learn more about the creative process which in the long run improves our skills and the quality of the work we create.


Tim Reilly, "Legacy," pastel, 20 1/2 x 17 3/4 in. October 2022 Drawing Honourable Mention - Tim Reilly
Tim Reilly, “Legacy,” pastel, 20 1/2 x 17 3/4 in. October 2022 Drawing Honourable Mention


Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share about your work or artist journey?

I derive my inspiration from several historical and contemporary sources. Many talented artists come to mind, artists such as Daniel Greene, Andrew Hemingway, Henri Fantin Latour, Robert Vickrey, and Claudio Bravo. These are some of the artists I’ve followed and admired since I began working in the pastel medium years ago.

Though Robert Vickrey worked almost exclusively in egg tempera, I found his technique of rendering stone texture to be quite fascinating. I’ve adapted his method and recreated it in pastels for a number of my pieces.


Tim Reilly, "Remember #9," pastel, 8 x 8 in
Tim Reilly, “Remember #9,” pastel, 8 x 8 in


Thanks so much Tim Reilly! And congratulations on your win! Those challenging reflections in the cookie jar are glorious!! And gosh, you certainly figured out the whole stone texture thing!

And in case you thought Tim only painted still life, here are a couple more of his paintings!


Tim Reilly, "Portrait of the Artist," pastel on paper, 18 x 24 in.
Tim Reilly, “Portrait of the Artist,” pastel on paper, 18 x 24 in.


Tim Reilly, "Bubbles," pastel on paper, 14 x 11 in
Tim Reilly, “Bubbles,” pastel on paper, 14 x 11 in


You can see follow Tim Reilly on Instagram and Facebook.



You still have two more days…


To get the early bird rate! You can get 25% off the entry fee if you enter by the 15 February! So what are you waiting for?? Enter now. Good luck!


PleinAir Salon entry image


Check out all the December winners.

And that’s it for this time!




    • I know, right!! He’ll be writing a blog for in April 2023 on that very topic. Watch for it!


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