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    BEST IN SHOW: Viviann

    Above: BEST IN SHOW, Viviann by Nicole Moné.

    December 2017 Judge: Kathie Odom

    “In a strong-valued, soft-edges, reflected-light sort of way, I am cold and warm all at the same time.”
    — Kathie Odom

    Read more about professional artist Kathie Odom.

    See judge's comments on all 12 finalist paintings below (shown in random order).

    Name of Artist: Lon Brauer
    Judge's Comment: This has to be said: The artist painted this piece plein air while on his belly… now THAT is dedication! But there is a lot achieved here – abstract shapes conveying light and shadow and the evidence of an active paintbrush which ushers me back to my childhood near the Delta. I don’t think I’ll be dropping to the ground anytime soon, but maybe I can dream about it.
    Name of Artist: Suzie Greer Baker
    Judge's Comment: I love drawing. In this piece the tools of chalk, pastel and charcoal have really elevated this portrait! What perfect mediums for the costume of textures, tattoos and ornaments. The attention to realism that flows into simply beautiful, raw free-handed marks was a pure enjoyment!
    Name of Artist: Deborah Tilby
    Judge's Comment: This painting is the breather that I need right now. The Bicycle and the Boat is an invitation to come relax, stroll, ride or float. The beautifully textured boat is resting perfectly at home in the sand. Painting quiet space is vital to communicating mood and this oil painting does it both humbly and with such skill. Thank you for this treat.
    Name of Artist: Tom Shropshire
    Judge's Comment: Have you ever tried to paint a nocturne? Much less, let it be raining! And on top of that, let it be a downtown, neon, urban setting? This painting is masterfully rendered beginning at the focal point, bleeding out the edges to glowing light and then to mist. Don’t ask me how it’s done, I have no idea!
    Name of Artist: john mccartin
    Judge's Comment: Is that tree smack-dab in the middle? Maybe. But the way he leans and spreads has me mesmerized. The cows, beautifully painted, do not steal the show but allow this old soul to do his job of shading well. What a wonderfully told story!
    Name of Artist: Morgan Samuel Price
    Judge's Comment: Within this work I sense the spirit of John Singer Sargent. Such movement is created with the expressive brushstrokes while also creating a glow from the lacy white fabric. The hard edges of the underneath limbs are located in the figures gaze and caught my eye because of the exquisite calligraphy. This painting is the definition of lovely.
    Name of Artist: Heather Arenas
    Judge's Comment: Texture, action, one hand flooded with light and the other… oh my, that red thumb! The perfect change of background color behind the dancer’s head is just so smart. So strong! And the fabric full of countless abstract shapes… can I say oh my again?! So painterly!
    Name of Artist: Mary Pettis
    Judge's Comment: How many colors does it take to paint a waterfall? Whatever the number, the artist found it! And layered it and textured it and restrained it and blurred it… enough so to feel the mist on your face. Here the artist gives us a unique view from below, one of those views that traveling the bridge won’t get you.
    Name of Artist: Nicole Moné
    Judge's Comment: BEST IN SHOW: When I first viewed this piece I wondered what kind of brushstrokes took me to the eyes and soul of this dear woman. The values, reflections, shadows and choice of colors were put together creating the perfect map to woo me in. The simplicity of white space surrounding her, the red sweater and mock turtleneck… all tell me that great things can show up in small packages. Nine inches by six inches!
    Name of Artist: Bruce Bingham
    Judge's Comment: My latest travels have proved to me that the prickly pear should be way up the list of outdoor items to paint. This piece is so vibrant that it feels as though the artist put a timer on herself… how expressive! And all the elements are included beautifully: values, texture, composition, temperatures and restraint. Well done!
    Name of Artist: Jane Hunt
    Judge's Comment: The words majestic and glorious well up in me as I enjoy this painting. Winter Sky speaks the story of this extraordinary painting in which we get to visit here. In a strong-valued, soft-edges, reflected-light sort of way, I am cold and warm all at the same time.
    Name of Artist: Patrick Saunders
    Judge's Comment: This one-hour portrait screams of a spontaneous reaction from the artist… see this, paint this! I can count the oh-so-few number of strokes that collectively bring both the moment AND personality out of this cowboy. Check out the cad red light on top of his ear! This is one talented artist.



    Monthly Best in Show wins $1,000.00 cash. All 12 monthly Finalists win a free promoted painting entry. Finalists chosen and critiqued by a different professional artist judge each month. All 144 monthly finalists from 12 months compete for Grand Prizes awarded in August. Entry fees support artists without access to art supplies or art instruction. Sign up here to stay informed.