Runcie Tatnall holding to pieces of artwork to be included in the annual 12x12 scholarship fundraiser this year

Artwork by Runcie Tatnall will be among the pieces included in the annual 12X12 scholarship fundraiser of the SFA Friends of the Visual Arts. Silent bidding starts June 29, and the party and sale begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 16, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Treasured works of art created by Runcie Tatnall will be among the pieces featured in this year's 12X12 scholarship fundraiser of the Friends of the Visual Arts at Stephen F. Austin State University.

A former assistant professor of drawing and painting in the SFA School of Art, Tatnall recently left SFA to pursue other career interests, but he continues to support the Friends of the Visual Arts and the organization's efforts to provide scholarship opportunities for deserving young artists.

The silent auction features 12-by-12-inch pieces created by approximately 70 artists from Nacogdoches, Lufkin and other areas of East Texas. The art is on display beginning June 29 in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches. Anyone may silently bid on the pieces. Bidding will continue until Saturday evening, July 16.

At 6 p.m. that evening, pieces that have no silent auction bids (minimum $250) are available to purchase for $100. Unsold art will be awarded as raffle items, with tickets available at the event. Texas State Rep. Travis Clardy is scheduled to be the evening's MC and will announce the winners of the art pieces. The public is encouraged to attend this free event.

Among this year's sponsors are The Daily Sentinel, Vida Raney and Liquor Mart.

A 12X12 participant for six years, Tatnall will have three pieces in this year's fundraiser. Currently living back in the Newark, Delaware, area where he grew up, Tatnall began painting and drawing at an early age. Portrait and figure paintings (including dogs) have long been the dominant subject matter in Tatnall's work. His body of 26 large boxing paintings was completed in 2009.

"I use layers of paint vigorously applied with minimal manipulation to convey the immediacy of life," he said in describing his work. "Taking deliberate risks with illusionistic representation, I incorporate impulsive paint application, 'unfinished' areas, and distortion of the figure.

"The characters that inhabit my paintings I view as performers," he continued. "I am interested in creating pictures that invite the viewer by engaging them in the enjoyment of the performance and the narrative."

After receiving a degree in illustration from the University of Delaware in 1995, Tatnall lived in Washington, D.C. working as an exhibiting artist, portrait painter and caricature artist. In 1999, he moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he continued to work as an exhibiting artist, as well as a muralist and teacher. Tatnall received an M.F.A. degree in painting from the University of Miami in 2009. He has been exhibiting nationally since 1995 in Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C and Houston. His portraits, landscapes and still life paintings are part of collections throughout the United States.

While exhibiting large figurative paintings for many years, Tatnall works simultaneously on smaller, non-representational pictures that allow him to "experiment with materials and technique to achieve a greater freedom and spontaneity," he said.

Within the past year, the FVA awarded more than $16,000 in Friendship Grants and scholarships to 46 students; the grants ranged from $200 to $400 per student, while the scholarships ranged from $750 to $1,000. The grants were awarded to help defray the costs of special projects for their art classes or M.B.A./B.A. exhibition. Some recipients have attended conferences or gone on school trips that will help with their professional development. This has included Maymester trips for art students to go to Big Bend for a special photography project. This summer, the organization also awarded scholarships for several elementary school students to attend the SFA Art Academy.

The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. For more information about 12X12, call The Cole Art Center at (936) 468-6557.