The Face of Love by Jessica J. Johnston basset hound painting

On Winning “Best of Show” at Inspire KC Competition

art, featured, life
art, featured, life

Recently, the company I work at full-time joined the Inspire KC Corporate Arts Challenge here in Kansas City. The local competition focuses on the creative efforts of employees at various companies spanning all industries here in KC. Categories include literary, performing arts, and visual. I decided to enter two of my paintings into the Visual Arts category. I had already finished up my portrait of Charles Bukowski painting, and kind of decided to enter it into the competition last minute. But the one I ended up actually winning for was a painting I’d had the idea for when first hearing about the show last February.

The Idea

When talking with the director & organizer of Inspire KC in the frozen month of February months ago, I sat silently listening to her talk. I was trying to picture what I wanted to paint: what I wanted to show the world more than anything else. Naturally, my mind’s eye eventually settled on an image of my basset hound, Moose, that I’d taken a photograph of years before. It was a photograph I’d taken at Antioch park, one of Moose’s favorite places to go for a walk, back in 2012. He was lying on the brick ground, overlooking the lake with a longing in his eyes.


With a clear image in mind to work from, I got down to painting. Two months later after hours and hours of dedicated work, the painting was complete and ready for showing.

The Face of Love by Jessica J. Johnston basset hound painting
“The Face of Love” by Jessica J. Johnston – The finished piece.
The Face of Love by Jessica J. Johnston basset hound painting
On display in the Inspire KC Corporate Arts Challenge at Union Station in Kansas City.

The Face of Love by Jessica J. Johnston basset hound painting

Jessica J. Johnston Basset Hound Painting
Painting Progression

The Award

After twenty years of painting, I can now say that I am an award-winning artist.

At the ceremony on April 22nd, I was awarded “Best in Show” in the Visual Arts category for my painting of Moose, which I titled “The Face of Love.” I was so nervous at the ceremony I thought I’d pop like a balloon. When I heard my name called, I stumbled to the stage, managed to mumble out a few sentences (“My dog’s named Moose, I paint a lot of basset hounds, I like painting dogs, thank you!”) and then hurried back to my seat. I was elated. I was in disbelief. After so many years of creating art! How did I ever get here.
To say that I’m humbled & amazingly grateful may be the understatement of the year: I spend so much time painting, but it’s mainly a private hobby. I hang out in my little home, painting my paintings, and I do post them on my painting website but let’s be honest- rarely do many people see them. I was very honored to represent my company as well.

Jess Loves Moose.Not to mention, Moose has loved the gifts I’ve been showering him with. (More than usual, in fact.) He’s my muse after all- I couldn’t have done it without him.

Also, I should mention a huge thank you to all who rooted for me. A lot of friends and acquaintances went out of their way to make the trek to Union Station to view and vote for my paintings, and it really means more than I could put into words.


Next up: The Fringe Festival 2017!

I’ve never entered the Fringe Festival before, but am stoked to be displaying my art again here in Kansas City.

award, inspire kc, moose

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