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BEST IN SHOW EVENT
JANUARY 2020

 
 
 
 

WELCOME!!
Please join us as we honour and celebrate the "Best In Show" winners
from our previous shows of 2019 with this exclusive exhibition and contest.
The winning artworks are featured alongside two new works from each respective
artist that are eligible to win one of three "Diamond Awards Of Excellence".
Winners will be announced by the end of January 2020.

The artists below are listed chronologically by show.
Thank you to these twelve exceptional artists for sharing their talent and artistic vision!!
Enjoy the show!!
(to enlarge images visit the gallery section at the end of the show)


see the THREE WINNERS here


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STEPHANIE LAWING
BEST IN SHOW -- FLOWER -- JANUARY 2019

"TULIP FEVER"
Acrylic on canvas -- 30 X 40 inches
www.stephanielawing.com

 
 
 
 
 
 


"ENDLESS SUMMER"
Acrylic on canvas -- 48 X 24 inches
www.stephanielawing.com

 


"JARDIN DU LUXEMBOURG"
Acrylic on canvas -- 30 X 24 inches
www.stephanielawing.com

 


BIOGRAPHY
Stephanie Lawing lives and works as an artist in Virginia Beach, VA.  Her painting career has followed a winding path to its current success.  It started with a BA in Fine Arts from Roanoke College and then working in the publishing industry in New York City.  She decided to refine her focus on painting, attending and receiving her MFA in painting from Savannah College of Art and Design, in Savannah GA.  Although her painting career took a pause while fully immersed raising her three great kids, she continued to create original work, ran her own online business, conducted 8 military moves and supported military deployment after deployment for her USMC aviator husband.  Every twist, turn and hardship along the way developed a drive to create works that simply bring out a lighter side of our lives.  She brings out something colorful with big, fresh, beautiful blooms.  While appearing somewhat familiar, Stephanie shows it from an uncommon perspective.  Seeking daily inspiration through her backyard garden, the nearby Norfolk Botanical Gardens and a macro lens of an IPhone, she has the ability to make us pause on her work and take a moment to focus on the detail of nature.  She strives to bring the outdoors in and fold nature into interior design - a contemporary take on art that is easily understood by all.



ARTIST STATEMENT
“Macro floral painting reflects and combines what I think is beautiful and what I would like to see on my own walls. I am intrigued and enjoy capturing the dichotomy between the flower’s fragility and dynamic explosion of color. In an
increasingly difficult world, I hope to express an experience that goes beyond current events – a universal desire to find a moment where the world fades away in favor of something simple, natural and beautiful. The aesthetic pleasure of a macro flower painting is something people respond to.  It is an opportunity to slow down, let the mind and eye rest and enjoy a moment of quiet beauty in a different light.” -- STEPHANIE LAWING


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MICHELLE WOITZEL
BEST IN SHOW -- ABSTRACT -- FEBRUARY 2019

"BLUSH 2"
Mixed media digital -- 40 X 30 inches -- $425.00
mmwoitzel@gmail.com
www.woitzelphotography.com

 
 
 
 
 
 


"MORNING FLIGHT"
Mixed media digital -- 36 X 36 inches -- $300.00
mmwoitzel@gmail.com
www.woitzelphotography.com

 


"VIM"
Mixed media digital -- 50 X 40 inches -- $600.00
mmwoitzel@gmail.com
www.woitzelphotography.com

 


BIOGRAPHY
Michelle Woitzel, the daughter to a couple of creatives, grew up watching her parents paint.  She soon became caught up in the world of creativity and excelled in many disciplines; however her practical parents suggested a career choice with a more reliable form of income.  Michelle attended and graduated from North West Technical College with a degree in Commercial Art.  She was immediately hired as a graphic artist and after gaining enough experience, opened and operated her own graphics art business in Fargo, ND.  In 1998, Michelle’s husband was transferred and she sold the business to follow her husband’s career and to grow their family.  Seven moves and four children later, they landed in Omaha, Nebraska.  Once settled, Michelle returned to her love of art through photography and soon started her photography business, Woitzel Photography. Still not satisfied with the level of creativity in her daily life, she started combining her education in graphics with her love of painting and photography to create her unique mixed-media digital works of art.  Michelle was soon recognized and has won many local and international awards. She loves the challenge of creating custom work for clients who need a special piece to fit a particular design space and/or style. Her mixed-media digital art is quickly growing in popularity and demand in the world of custom art.

ARTIST STATEMENT

“I enjoy combining my photography skills, education in graphics and love of painting to create mixed-media digital works of art. Using all three disciplines enables me to diversify my style.  My first love will always be abstracts.  I create these with more of a feeling rather than starting with a vision of the end result.  As I get older, I find myself leaning toward more of a modern style of work.  The less complicated feel and composition appeals to my "less is more" aesthetic.  I am an optimist and generally positive person.  I focus on creating art that has movement and light and that is colorful and uplifting.  There's enough darkness in the world, I choose "HAPPY"!” -- MICHELLE WOITZEL

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NATASHA JABRE
BEST IN SHOW -- STILL LIFE -- MARCH 2019

"RATTLE"
Acrylic on canvas -- 24 X 24 inches
natashajabre@gmail.com
www.natashajabre.com

 
 
 
 


"LUMINOSITY"
Acrylic on canvas -- 24 X 24 inches
natashajabre@gmail.com
www.natashajabre.com

 


"TETINE"
Acrylic on canvas -- 24 X 24 inches
natashajabre@gmail.com
www.natashajabre.com

 


BIOGRAPHY
Natasha Jabre is an artist whose practice encompasses multiple disciplines including drawing, printmaking, ceramics, abstract and representational painting.  Jabre received her B.F.A. from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada and her M.F.A. from The University of Massachusetts in North Dartmouth.  Her artwork has been exhibited in Canada, the United States and internationally.  She currently resides with her husband and children in Kingston, Ontario.

ARTIST STATEMENT
“Each work in my series develops as an intimate exploration into color, which I isolate from prepared photographic materials and flesh out through sequential glazes of paint. The result is the creation of a tableau whose posed image is simultaneously intensified and counterbalanced by optical abstraction.  To my eyes, this uncanny mixture of unassuming source material, tender brushstrokes and surreal lighting draws to the surface mixed feelings of guilt and affectionate longing.  My work is about instigating moments of dreamlike reverie in banal scenes of children and their playthings and, in doing so, present to viewers what I believe to be the central conundrum of parenting: how the sight of one’s child remains bewitching in spite of the exhausting routine of raising them.” -- NATASHA JABRE


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WALT CURLEE
BEST IN SHOW -- LANDSCAPE -- APRIL 2019

"AUTUMN WHEAT HARVEST"
Oil on canvas -- 16 X 20 inches -- $11,500.00
waltcurlee@bellsouth.net


ARTIST STATEMENT
“I invite you to take a stroll into my Appalachian farm landscape paintings to a slower time, when life was simpler.  A timeless world of rolling hills and patchwork farms; where you can almost smell the fresh cut hay and air and hear the sounds of nature around you.  I strive to create an enchanting world in my folksy style with a nostalgic feel of good times past.” -- WALT CURLEE

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ELDON CASE
BEST IN SHOW -- COLOUR -- MAY 2019

"REEF"
Oil on canvas -- 16 X 20 inches -- $400.00
EldonCase1922@gmail.com

 
 
 
 


"YELLOW"
Oil -- 18 X 14 inches -- $325.00
EldonCase1922@gmail.com

 


"DIVIDED NEIGHBORHOOD"
Oil -- 16 X 20 inches -- $400.00
EldonCase1922@gmail.com

 


BIOGRAPHY
Born in 1949 in Logan, Kansas, Eldon currently resides in Okemos, Michigan.  He was always interested in art, having won a county-wide poster drawing contest (Boulder County, Colorado) when he was eleven years old.  However the tenor of the post-Sputnik era lead him to a technical career.  He was a research engineer at the University of California, Berkeley, CA (1982 – 1985) and then was Professor of Materials Science at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI for 30 years until he retired in 2014. Ten years ago, an inner call led him to pursue oil painting.  He is largely self-taught although he also has taken several workshops/short courses from nationally known artists.  Eldon paints both landscapes and abstracts, using oils and acrylics.  For all of his paintings, he likes to explore color.  The use of brilliant colors by artists Gary Jenkins and Robert Wyland are inspirations to Eldon.   

He has had work in shows at a number of Michigan venues including Riverwalk Theater (Lansing), Clinton County Arts Council Gallery (St. Johns), Studio West Gallery (Brighton), Shiawassee Arts Center (Owosso), Williamston Theater (Williamston) and Framer’s Edge Gallery (Okemos).   In addition, his paintings are in a number of private collections. Outside Michigan, Eldon has exhibited at The 311 Gallery, Raleigh, North Carolina and at the Mildred M. Cox Art Gallery at William Woods University, Fulton Missouri.  Also, since February 2017, Eldon has had 40 paintings accepted into national or international on-line art exhibitions.


ARTIST STATEMENT
“What keeps me going back to the studio is the exploration of color, light and pattern.  I love to see a painting evolve while seeking to capture a sense of light with oil on canvas.  While I enjoy the challenge of trying to depict light and shadow in landscape paintings, the freedom of abstract painting is exhilarating.  For abstracts, the rhythm of painting, the experimentation with form and the surprise that a brushstroke or finger mark can render are just plain fun!” -- ELDON CASE

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CHRISTINE COLUMBO
BEST IN SHOW -- PEOPLE -- JUNE 2019

"NOVEMBER"
Oil -- 12 X 16 inches
Christine.columbo@mail.com
www.christinecolumbo.com

 
 
 
 


"STUDY OF MODEL IN PASTEL"
Pastel -- 12 X 9 inches -- $500.00
Christine.columbo@mail.com
www.christinecolumbo.com

 


"MACY"
Oil on linen -- 11 X 8 inches -- SOLD
Christine.columbo@mail.com
www.christinecolumbo.com

 


BIOGRAPHY

Christine Columbo is a recognized watercolor and oil painting artist, exhibiting at multiple galleries in the US.  An OPA (Oil Painters of America) member, she has received over 25 awards for her oil and watercolor paintings in the last two years.  Growing up in New Jersey, Christine learned how to draw before she learned how to read. Her artistic father gave her lessons starting at 5 years old after noticing her ability to draw from life. After receiving an undergraduate degree in Art from the State College of New Jersey, she went on to get a computer programming degree and then a master’s degree from NYU in business and philosophy.  During her subsequent career years, she worked in New York City as a computer graphic artist, programmer and financial consultant. Hoping her academic studies and New York City lifestyle and career would create a life of happiness, she was surprised to find a very different calling at the age of 35. Following her heart, she “walked out of her life” and for the next 19 years lived as a monastic.  In 2010, she emerged from this cycle with a new lease on life and spent the next 5 years integrating her new perspective and experience of life.  In 2016 she moved to a monastery in Crestone, Colorado.  For the next two years she stayed in retreat.  It was during this time she began drawing and painting again. Her work can be seen at christinecolumbo.com and at the Crestone Artisan Gallery in Crestone, Colorado.


ARTIST STATEMENT
“Reflecting back, for much of my life although it appeared I had achieved success, I didn’t feel inwardly fulfilled or that my life had purpose.  This led to my monastic journey, meditation, service and eventually exploring the depths of my own heart.  At the end of my years as a monastic it was as if nothing had happened and everything had happened.  I appeared the same but the lens through which I viewed the world was completely different.  My heart was transformed.  I felt compassion and a state I can only describe as being ‘in love with the world’.  My paintings are how I now try to capture the beauty I experience in all of life and share my heart. I recently started a series of portraits of women, trying to capture the vulnerability, strength and resilience I witness in family, friends, and fellow artists.  Every day I experience how we are all connected and how a social network of support and encouragement can make a world of difference in each other’s lives.” -- CHRISTINE COLUMBO

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KRIS CRESTEJO
BEST IN SHOW -- ANIMAL -- JULY 2019

"MINE"
Pastel pencils -- 15 X 13 inches -- $1200.00
kris.cres@gmail.com


ARTIST STATEMENT

“I wanted to capture the essence of the mother-baby bond. Through such mild gestures by both, you come to see how in tune they are with one another by their body language.” -- KRIS CRESTEJO

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GABRIELE GRACINE
BEST IN SHOW -- WATER -- AUGUST 2019

"FROZEN"
Digital -- 12 X 12 inches
www.abstractgaby.strikingly.com

 
 
 
 


"POWER"
Digital -- 12 X 12 inches --$400.00 (metal print)
www.abstractgaby.strikingly.com

 


"CAUGHT"
Digital -- 11 X 14 inches --$400.00 (metal print)
www.abstractgaby.strikingly.com

 


BIOGRAPHY

In 2015, thinking she had no artistic ability, Gabriele unexpectedly discovered a gift for
digital art.  After her revelation, she spent up to 10 hours every day for the first two years teaching herself all aspects of digital art, practicing and exploring her newly-found passion.  As her confidence and abilities grew, she began submitting her work for events near her home in Colorado.  In June of 2018 she traveled to Santa Fe, New Mexico, a magical city she had spent time in for over three decades that she considered her "heart's home".  In the eclectic artists' community of Madrid, 25miles south of Santa Fe off historical Route 66, she was accepted into a gallery.  In January of 2020 Gabriele will be 69. She is what she never knew she always wanted to be, an ... Abstract Digital Artist.


ARTIST STATEMENT
“My process is a free-form technique I've developed and refined.  I use only a touch-screen device and a variety of photo editing applications.  I do not edit photos to create my images.  When I approach the creative process, I'm seeking spontaneous expressions of direct feeling that emphasize the energies of essential form, movement, light, color and texture.  I intend, with each realized conception, to design an expression of visual poetry that is unique and deeply personal to each viewer.  I often say my images create themselves using me as the medium.  My creative experience
is pure delight.” -- GABRIELE GRACINE

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DEBORAH KOMMALAN
BEST IN SHOW -- OPEN -- SEPTEMBER 2019

"STEVE'S SUNFLOWERS"
Oil on panel -- 11 X 14 inches
Deborah@deborahkommalan.com
www.deborahkommalan.com

 
 
 
 


"OMELET"
Oil on panel -- 11 X 14 inches -- SOLD
Deborah@deborahkommalan.com
www.deborahkommalan.com

 


"LONDON BRIDGE"
Oil on panel -- 11 X 14 inches -- $2250.00
Deborah@deborahkommalan.com
www.deborahkommalan.com

 


BIOGRAPHY

Born and raised in Baltimore area, Deborah lives in Pasadena, Maryland. She studied graphic design at MICA and worked in an ad agency but was not suited.  She held many jobs, working as a needlewoman sewing high-end lingerie and French hand-sewn and smocked children’s clothing while running a small shop of specialized materials.  She also owned her own business as a kiltmaker for 45 years.  Various tartan projects number over 800 of which the majority are regulation kilts made by hand, NOT with a sewing machine. This type of meticulous attention to detail brings understanding to her style of painting.  It is thought that because she attended MICA she is well-trained but consider that the art world in the 60’s was all about Abstract Expressionism.  So she studied graphic design and technical illustration as many realist painters did. Consequently her painting abilities were not realized nor exercised.  Forty years later she was encouraged to join an evening painting class and was fortunate to learn to paint with working artists. She was taught HOW to paint and it opened a whole world for her.  She studied 3 years with Leonard Koscianski, one year with Lillian Hoover, and 1 year with Kim Parr.  She has been showing her work and winning awards since 2010.   Her very first entry into a show won the first place prize.  A full list of accomplishments can be found on her website.


ARTIST STATEMENT
“Although I have been painting for just twelve years, I quickly decided that my favorite genre is Still Life. In this series I work in the Tenebrist style of dark backgrounds with bright light.  I enjoy working with objects and light, causing strong and interesting shadows which are necessary in painting; they anchor objects in space.  A complex shadow is as much a part of the composition as the object itself.  By manipulating the shadows I can play with your conception of a classical still life.  I want objects to have implied movement.  I like to call these paintings “kinetic”.  I often think long and hard about an appropriate title.  I like it best when it is amusing.  My aim is to have you stop and look again… and make you think and smile.” -- DEBORAH KOMMALAN

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PAUL SUDMAN
BEST IN SHOW -- CITY -- OCTOBER 2019

"NUKED CITY"
Digital -- 30 X 40 inches
directpb@gmail.com
www.paulsudman.com

 
 
 
 


"LONE SKATER"
Digital on metal -- 20 X 30 inches -- $295.00
directpb@gmail.com
www.paulsudman.com

 


"SOLITARY FISHERMAN"
Digital on metal -- 24 X 24 inches -- $295.00
directpb@gmail.com
www.paulsudman.com

 


BIOGRAPHY

Paul Sudman is a self-taught artist born and raised 20 minutes south of Boston.  Paul has always been an entrepreneur whose career started in 1983 with a small custom jewelry store in Wellesley, MA, which is still in business today because of his wife Jill.  He then went on to co-found a chain of Pet Supply Superstores in four states which he then sold to Petco in 1995. For the last 20 years he has been involved with online retail companies with his two sons, Jeff and Dan.  His main media has mostly been acrylics, oils and charcoal but has recently turned his interest to Abstract Digital media. Paul has taken lessons from watercolor artist Davis Carroll which has contributed to his growth as an artist.  In June of 2018, Paul’s work came in 5th place in an International Art Contest which had over 3,000 submissions.
Paul has also won awards including a “Best in Show” and an “Emerald Award of Merit”.


ARTIST STATEMENT
“In my earlier art I would capture common objects and places that inspired something in me.  I mostly used oil, charcoal and some acrylic.  Then by sheer accident I developed a process using paint and digital manipulation to create dramatic pieces of art.  It is a proprietary method that I continue to refine today that I do not believe has ever been used before in the art world.  These unique pieces clearly stand out from any other art out there today, however I do find myself returning to acrylic and charcoal quite often.” --  PAUL SUDMAN

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ALICE HELWIG
BEST IN SHOW -- SKY -- NOVEMBER 2019

"ILLUMINATION"
Acrylic -- 48 X 36 inches -- $3500.00
avanmil@shaw.ca
www.helwigart.com

 
 
 
 
 
 


"OVER HORLEY"
Acrylic on board -- 48 X 36 inches
avanmil@shaw.ca
www.helwigart.com

 


"THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE"
Acrylic on board -- 48 X 36 inches
avanmil@shaw.ca
www.helwigart.com

 


BIOGRAPHY
A. S. Helwig was born in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.  From an early age she drew and painted.  In fact, she has painted in acrylics since she was 14 years old in the coulee hills close to her family home.  Helwig took a two-year commercial art program at the Medicine Hat College and then a Bachelor of Education Degree (with Distinction) from the University of Lethbridge.   Looking for adventure Helwig moved to Fox Lake, a small remote Indian village in Northern Alberta.  There she taught English and art while maintaining a studio in her home.  Presently residing in Calgary, Helwig remains an art educator and studio artist.  You might have even seen her teaching a painting show called “Canvas” that aired on Shaw TV’s Channel ten.  Mountain Galleries in Banff and Jasper, Bluerock Gallery in Black Diamond and Rouge in Saskatoon represent her work.  Helwig’s award winning paintings are also in many private and public art collections.


ARTIST STATEMENT
“I utilize techniques such as collage, texturing, glazing and under-painting to explore the prairie landscape. I am painting the landscape that is familiar to me.  The imagery that I have been working with has become spiritual and dreamlike.  The images are quick glances we have of the landscape as we move through it.  The fleeting moment transcends itself to reveal that feeling, that truth, which we intuitively understand but find difficult to articulate.  My work examines themes of alienation, awe, prayer and personal epiphanies.  By looking at what exists immediately in front of me, I try to grapple with the eternal.  Painting helps mark my place in the world.  Painting helps me share these truths.” -- ALICE HELWIG

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LESSA CLAYTON
BEST IN SHOW -- WORLD -- DECEMBER 2019

"NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE, GERMANY"
Oil -- 24 X 36 inches -- SOLD
lessaclayton@gmail.com
www.paintings.lessaclayton.com

 
 
 
 


"ASPENS AT BLACK BUTTE RANCH"
Oil -- 20 X 24 inches -- $325.00
lessaclayton@gmail.com
www.paintings.lessaclayton.com

 


"SUNSET STREET, SHERWOOD"
Oil -- 24 X 30 inches -- $450.00
lessaclayton@gmail.com
www.paintings.lessaclayton.com

 


BIOGRAPHY
Lessa Clayton grew up traveling the United States while her father served in the military. When he retired the family moved to Oregon.  After graduating from Oregon State University with a degree in Art, Lessa moved to Los Angeles and spent a career doing commercial art.  After retiring, she returned to Oregon and took up painting full time. Traveling around Oregon has provided Lessa with an abundance of inspiration.  The best of Oregon is captured from the crashing waves on Fogarty Beach, to the pristine high mountain lakes, down to the covered bridges and old barns of the Willamette Valley.  Lessa’s paintings have been showcased in juried shows and exhibitions.


ARTIST STATEMENT
"When I started painting as a teenager, my rush to complete a painting quickly led to my use of acrylic paints.  But as I grew older and more patient, I switched to oil painting.  I wanted to experiment with the use of glazes.  It is a time-consuming process to wait for each layer to dry before going over it again and again but I love the richness of the colors and the depth they have.” -- LESSA CLAYTON



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