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Murrysville art show judge reveals secret to winning

Patrick Varine
| Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, 4:30 p.m.
Above, 'Rembrandt's Eyes,' a self-portrait by Bellevue artist Robert Huckestein, who will judge the 57th annual Murrysville Woman's Club Art show on Oct. 6 and 7.
Art by Robert Huckestein
Above, 'Rembrandt's Eyes,' a self-portrait by Bellevue artist Robert Huckestein, who will judge the 57th annual Murrysville Woman's Club Art show on Oct. 6 and 7.
Above, 'Rembrandt's Eyes,' a self-portrait by Bellevue artist Robert Huckestein, who will judge the 57th annual Murrysville Woman's Club Art show on Oct. 6 and 7.
Art by Robert Huckestein
Above, 'Rembrandt's Eyes,' a self-portrait by Bellevue artist Robert Huckestein, who will judge the 57th annual Murrysville Woman's Club Art show on Oct. 6 and 7.

When the Murrysville Woman's Club's art show kicks off Friday, there will be a sharp eye judging the entries.

Robert Huckestein, 71, of Bellevue will serve as judge for the club's 57th annual show, which will be Friday and Saturday at Redstone Highlands on Cline Hollow Road in Murrysville.

Huckestein, who has been a full-time artist since 2000 after a career as a design engineer, said his favorite medium is oil on canvas, and his favorite subject is the human figure.

He said serving as a judge — particularly being critical of fellow artists' hard work — is challenging.

“When an artist enters their work in an exhibition they need to understand that if it's not selected, it's not a reflection on the quality of their work, but in many cases, the opinion of just one person,” he said. “I know firsthand about being rejected from shows, but I continue to produce work that inspires me and hopefully moves the people that see it.”

Huckestein spoke with the Star recently about his passion for art and his upcoming stint as judge. This interview has been edited for length.

Q: You previously worked as a construction design engineer — how did that inform your work as an artist?

A: Working in the engineering field gave me a sense of focus on a project and an attention to detail. These qualities are reflected in my work as an artist. My career in engineering also gave me the opportunity to travel the world and visit other cultures, and museums and talk with artists from different countries.

Q: What makes for a quality piece of artwork in your eyes?

A: What I look for when selecting work for an art show is the artist's use and understanding of the medium they are working in, how strong the design of the piece is, and how it affects me when I first look at it. A well-done work of art should engage not only the artist while he or she is making it, but also the person who is viewing it.

Q: What is the biggest challenge in serving as a judge for an art show?

A: It's always the same: saying no to a quality work of art. There is only so much space for work to be shown and only so many awards that are to be given. All I can do is choose the art work that best shows me the artist's skill and passion for his or her art form.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, pvarine@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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