first, second and third place winners at Texas National 2015

Left to right: First place at Texas National 2015 went to Jason John of Jacksonville, Fla., for "Carrier," 2014; second place went to Sherman Finch of Cypress, Texas, for "Be Sure of Your Target and What's Around It," 2014; and third place went to Kenneth Baskin of Lake Charles, La., for "Crucible Series #15," 2013.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Jacksonville, Fla., artist Jason John won first place in the 2015 Texas National Competition and Exhibition at Stephen F. Austin State University.

Commenting on the high quality of work entered in the 21st Texas National event, Juror Zhi Lin selected an unprecedented 10 works of art as honorable mentions.

"Mr. Lin had a very difficult time choosing the winners this year," said John Handley, director of art galleries at SFA, "which is why we had an unprecedented number of honorable mentions - 10 in all. Normally there are maybe four honorable mentions, but Mr. Lin could not get the number below 10."

Lin selected John's "Carrier," 2014, for first place honors, calling the painting of a young woman "stunning," and commenting on the "exceptional rendering of her delicate hands," Handley said.

Second place went to Cypress, Texas, artist Sherman Finch for "Be Sure of Your Target and What's Around It," 2014, and third place went to Lake Charles, La., artist Kenneth Baskin for "Crucible Series #15," 2013.

An honorable mention went to SFA student Arley Morales of Nacogdoches for "Fearless," 2014. Another honorable mention went to retired SFA art professor Robert Kinsell of Fort Davis for "Chili Fiction," 2014.

The other honorable mention entries were by Margaret McCartney, "Refrigerator from Bianca's House," 2014, Houston; Jon Mahnke, "Yell," 2014, Saint Paul, Minn.; Justin Nguyen, "Grandmother from Vietnam," 2013, Garland; Amanda Sweet, "A History of Water," 2014, Seattle, Wash.; Kathy Liao, "Red Hat," 2014, Saint Joseph, Mo.; Karen Ferrer, "Lichen Fade," 2013, Arlington; Leslie Magdaleno, "One Eyed Monster," 2014, Houston; Clifford Blanchard, "Sleepwalker," 2013, Morristown, N.J.

The SFA School of Art's annual juried competition and exhibition attracts entrants from across the United States, providing artists an opportunity to have their work juried by highly acclaimed artists and critics, such as Lin. The exhibition includes photography, painting, sculpture and mixed media pieces.

Texas National 2015 and an exhibition of Lin's work, "Chinaman's Chance: The first transcontinental railroad" run through June 13 at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House, located at 329 E. Main St. in downtown Nacogdoches. These exhibitions are features of the SFA College of Fine Arts' University Series.

For more information, call (936) 468-1131.