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May 29, 2021
Judging is never easy and it can be even more complicated when you are working alongside another judge. Our method was to individually go through the entire show separately and write down the works we considered outstanding. We then compared our lists noting which artists, and in nine cases, specific works that we both chose. These became the start of our selections. Of course, awards and categories are limited so you struggle with why one work edges out another to stay in the competition. This is generally where aside from standard art rules, one’s subjectivity comes to play. For both of us, we consider miniatures to be more than just small art. They should have an element of refinement to them that rewards a viewer looking really close. That reward specifically is not being disappointed when you continue to examine what the artist has created. They truly are “gems” and marvels of dexterity.
Wes & Rachelle Siegrist
Best in Show
Lynn Ponto Peterson - A Small Case of the Blues
This painting grabbed and held our attention from the start and as we compared it to its competition, we kept noting more aspects of “going that extra mile” to elevate it to the top award. The range of contrast in color, value and texture are all there with careful attention to distorted reflections of the arranged objects, soft and glowing edges as well as variations in the background. We also noted the complimentary framing. With all the awards, this one epitomized what the artist is striving for with miniatures. A “Wow” on the lips of the observer.
Richard William Haynes - Moments Lost in Wonder
Another work we both selected from the outset that continued to rise to the top for the careful attention to surfaces, range of values and contrasting textures. Cold, hard, shiny metal is juxtaposed with a warm, soft delicate flower. As the title appropriately foretells, the viewer of the painting finds themselves lost in wonder as their eyes wander across the composition.
Irina Kouznetsova - Still Life with Grapes
More diminutive in size and jewel-like in execution, this work again illustrates that small works are not completed in small timeframes. The artist’s patience exudes from the painting as she has taken an ordinary clump of grapes and transformed them into a work of fine art.
Harold E. Hansen - John, Ironwork
Surely a charm of miniature art is its ability to draw you into the composition. The viewer temporarily inhabits the work as they explore all the tools of the trade that John has on hand.
Best Watercolor / Gouache
Debby Faulkner-Stevens - The Smallest Twig
This work employs not only watercolor techniques but also the technical ability of the illuminator of old with the graphic design and patterns alongside carefully rendered text. Everything working together to reward the viewer … and reader, as in the days of old. It was also done on a smaller scale by the artist’s choice to have the viewer cradling it close for examination and reward.
Best Oil / Acrylic
Morgane Antoine - Arctic Light
It was the rendering of the arctic environment that edged this work to be our selection. The use of cold colors, limited value contrast and blurred edges in the background made you almost shiver spending time observing it. Even the choice of framing reinforces the temperature impression. Overall, a wonderful package of art!
Best Drawing / Colored Pencil
Sue Adair - Red-bellied Girl
The artist’s technique, close range of values/colors between the bird and tree and the blurred edges all come together to illustrate the softness of the bird. No time was spared in rendering the intricate ladder-backed pattern so indicative of this woodpecker species.
Paul Eaton - The Anticipation
Two things really grabbed us with this sculpture. First was the stance and hint of the environment that gave you the dogs’ sense of anticipation for whatever has arrested their gaze. The second was the sublime treatment of the patina to mimic the pattern these African Wild Dogs are known for that makes them so easily recognizable. Careful attention to a few habitat details also added to the viewer’s reward.
Best Other Media
Mary Serfass - Firedance
Just like dancing flames, this work conveys spontaneity despite the obvious painstaking attention to detail. The artist’s rendering of the foliage is striking and one can almost hear the rustle in the leaves!
Best Landscape / Architecture
Beverly Fotheringham - Lus en las Sombras
The angle rendered in this composition elevates the flight pattern of the bird which is only noticed after you first gaze at the stately architecture. The use of warm and cool colors in this work really conveys the heat of the sun and the respite found in the shadows. It’s a great example of the grandiose diminutively depicted.
Best Birds / Animals
Linda Rossin - No Way!
The exquisitely rendered eyes certainly match the title with their conveyed demeanor. The subtle, but masterful use of cool color in the dog’s fur, nose and mouth all lend themselves subservient to the warm gaze and glint in the eyes. The artist has made sure we know, this painting is all about the eyes and they keep bringing you back to their attitude.
Best Still Life / Floral
Janet Laird-Lagassee - Blue Tea
The unique fabric background has been arranged in a way to draw you in and capture your attention on the still life subjects. The deliberate choice to maintain subtle contrasts in value manage to convey a serenity like the laziness of an overcast day. The simple, subdued reflections on the table surface marvelously depict the shiny surface.
Pauline Higgins - Ink Blotches
It’s hard to not use prehension in abstract art. We all seem to want to find something in there to give it meaning and miss that a purpose of abstract art is to alleviate us of those pressures. It’s art for art’s sake. An expression of color, texture and composition that we find engaging to view. This simple work is just simply beautiful.
Best Other Subject
R.H. Menzel - Hero of Oriskany
Few artists choose to work with wood carving in miniature as a media. For the most part, you just have one shot at getting it right, so you are removing a wee bit at a time with likely far more time observing than ever carving. Opting to do human figures takes even more courage since we’re all experts at what people are supposed to look like and the artists working in 3D have the added challenge of making it right now matter what angle you view it from!
Christian Rzyski - Promenade A Bruges
The award was chosen by the collectors, visitors and artists who came to see the show. Each person could cast one vote and there were 202 votes. Close contenders were Lynn Ponto-Peterson, Melinda Fabian, Luanne Houser and Judith Bayes.
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