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Book of Jenness Cortez paintings awarded Outstanding Book of the Year Gold Medal
In this book, Cortez reexamines the classic paradox of realism: the painting both as a "window" into an imagined space and as a physical object.
TRAVERSE CITY, MI.- “Homage to the Creative Spirit: The Paintings of Jenness Cortez” by Baylor University art historian Karen Rechnitzer Pope (AMI Publishers) has been named recipient of the 2012 Independent Publishers “Outstanding Book of the Year” award.

According to Jim Barnes, Independent Publishers’ awards director, the Cortez book, winner of the gold medal for most original book concept, exhibits “the courage and creativity necessary to take chances, break new ground, and bring about change––not only to the world of publishing––but to our society. The masterful realist paintings by Jenness Cortez and insightful commentary by Karen Rechnitzer Pope, represent the most heartfelt, unique, outspoken and experimental literary and creative achievement among our 5,023 entries.”

Robert Yassin, Executive Director of the Palos Verdes Art Center calls Jenness Cortez one of the world’s most eloquent and successful visual conversationalists. Yassin says that, “All art is a dialogue, a conversation through the medium of the artwork between the artist and the viewer. It is the level of that dialogue that establishes the intrinsic value of a given work. Among the many characteristics of a real work of art, two are most significant and define both the quality and significance of the dialogue. The first is that what the artist is saying must be meaningful; the second, that it is clearly communicated and understood. In Cortez’ paintings, both criteria are more than fully met. The work talks to us at many levels and creates in us a sense of both understanding and well being. This happens because there is nothing arbitrary in Cortez’ paintings. The choice of the painting reproduced, the elements surrounding it, the space the elements occupy, the lighting, the color, everything is carefully selected and orchestrated following a fully articulated plan determined by the artist . . . The paintings of Jenness Cortez make my heart sing.”

In the award-winning book, “Homage to the Creative Spirit,” Cortez reexamines the classic paradox of realism: the painting both as a “window” into an imagined space and as a physical object. According to painter Jenness Cortez, the artistic development for each of her works is similar. “Every painting begins with a vision seen in the artist’s mind,” Cortez says. “Sometimes the finished piece appears in the mind full-blown, and at other times it is amorphous––yet with some beguiling character that begs to be developed. In either case, between that first inspiration and the finished painting lie hours of research, thousands of choices and, of course, the great joy of painting. The process is organic. Even with a well-conceived composition in place, the painting has a life of its own and the best ones surprise even the artist with twists and turns that outshine the most clever of plans. It’s as if the creative spirit insinuates itself into the work, wanting to serve its own best interest with solutions that far exceed the artist’s original, limited vision.”

In this volume, author Karen Pope surveys and celebrates fifty-four paintings that display the range and variety of Cortez' achievement. A key to the impact and success of each work of art is the skill with which Cortez achieves meticulous likenesses of everyday objects. This quality of realism, both sensuous and immaculate, offers exceptional visual pleasures.

Each Cortez work challenges the viewers’ intellectual curiosity and celebrates the sheer pleasure of beautiful painting. She plays the roles of author, architect, visual journalist, art historian, curator and pundit to help open our eyes to what we might otherwise have overlooked or taken for granted. Each painting presents a specific theme, mixing straightforward cues and obscure allusions, complemented by references to other artists’ lives and times. The paintings pay homage to the works of Albert Bierstadt, Winslow Homer, Claude Monet, Leonardo DaVinci, Rembrandt, Jan van Eyck, Jean-Bapitise-Camille-Corot, Johannes Vermeer, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Vincent Van Gogh, Norman Rockwell and more.

By masterfully presenting iconic works of art in unexpected modern settings, Jenness Cortez inspires us to see differently––to rediscover and revalue our own creative power in everyday life.

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