For Candace Mitchell, the timing could not have been more perfect.
The Newburyport painter was with her “two best artist friends in the world” when she found out she won Best of Show in the Newburyport Art Association’s Fall Members Juried Show, Part One.
“It couldn’t have been nicer to get the news with the two of them with me,” Mitchell said. “I was just so stunned, but so happy. My friends were just as happy, so it was just a wonderful moment.”
Her friends and fellow association members, Annalee Johnson and Linda Tasker, also have artwork in the show, which opened last week and runs through Oct. 26.
Mitchell won for her oil painting “The Great Marsh — Fall 2012.” A former associate professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Mitchell took up painting when she retired two years ago and just started working in oil last fall, after first dabbling in pastels and acrylics.
“I hadn’t painted since I was a little kid actually, but it’s bringing me great joy now,” Mitchell said. “I’m just one who loves beauty, color and light and enjoys representing them on canvas.”
For this particular piece, Mitchell was inspired by the shades of The Great Marsh in autumn.
“I love and always have loved my whole life the magical colors, the bright, intense colors that appear in the fall and particularly the grasses, which one would never expect to burst forth with such glorious colors,” said Mitchell, who worked from a photograph. “When you capture the color in the perfect light, it’s just spectacular.”
Juror Lauren O’Neal, director of the Lamont Gallery at Phillips Exeter Academy, said she picked Mitchell’s painting because it was one she felt herself continuously drawn to.
“It was a traditional subject matter, but it was done in a very contemporary way,” she said. “It was a lovely color palette that the artist had used. It had a real cohesion and vibrancy to it that struck me.”