People’s Choice Awards art show announces winners

By Page H. Gifford

The winners of the Fluvanna Art Association’s revived People’s Choice Awards show were announced at a reception held on Dec. 3. Out of 257 votes, the three top vote takers in four categories won. The results were as surprising and as eclectic as the artist’s styles and mediums. Interesting were the types of subjects the public gravitated toward and each category featured a winner who had used animals as their theme.

In 3-D, Tom Ellis won first for his Hummercanna, a hummingbird hovering over gently carved flowers. Following him was artist and woodworker Jeff Bland with his uniquely carved wooden frame on a mirror, and newcomer Dennis Meyer with his eye-catching sculpture Chapel of Wings.

Elaine Bergman took the top honor in intermediate with her mystical deer in the woods titled, Deer in a Misty Forest.

“This was a scene from my back deck,” said Bergman. “And the deer usually is there but this time he wasn’t so I did it from memory.” It was so popular she sold it. Second, went to Ande Kirchenheiter for Purple Mountain Mist and Alyce Walcovich got third place for #408. Walcovich’s was the most intriguing with her photos blended in Photoshop with a pop of potent red.

“I like old things,” said Walcovich, explaining her fascination with the bits and pieces of things she finds and sees that inspire her. She and fellow artist Duffy Dillinger commented on the ancient things seen in Turkey that rev up their creative minds. Artists find inspiration everywhere.

Some cite the work of artists like Walcovich and Paul Stams, who exhibited in the master’s category, as being a separate entity because their work is digital as opposed to traditional art mediums. Yet, mediums are no substitute for creativity and imagination. Digital is being accepted more nowadays in the art world.

In the advanced category, three tied for first, including Anita Paul with Aunt Florence’s Hands. Paul explained what inspired her for this unusual subject she chose. The reference photo was of Nina Monroe’s aunt’s hands as she kneaded bread. Monroe owns the Elephantz Trunk and Paul has vowed to give her the picture once the show is over, knowing it is a cherished memory for Monroe.

There were mixed thoughts on her subject matter but for any artist to draw hands is a challenge. Paul executes her drawings in colored pencil.

“People have no idea how much work went into this and all the separate elements I put into this to create the whole picture,” she said.

Horses seemed to be a theme with other winners, Autumn Wall got first also for her pen and ink of a Bonded Pair, showing the love and friendship between two horses. Newcomer Patricia Bennett tied for first with her Over the River winter scene reminiscent of Currier and Ives with a horse pulling a sled through the snow. Taking second was also another FAA newbie, LeighAnn Ayers, whose charming Cardinals in Berries had that holiday spirit.

Nance Stamper took first in masters with her signature tranquility and solitude in Content for Now with her beloved dog taking a nap in the afternoon sun. Susan Edginton’s cocky (no pun intended) roosters with attitude in the Four Cluckers took second. The defiance of the roosters is evident in their stance and bright bold colorful feathers. Rounding out the top three was seasoned pro, William Snow for his Blue Barrow.

Everyone, viewers, and artists agreed that the shows this season have been some of the best so far. Both the Carysbrook Performing Arts exhibit and the People’s Choice have highlighted the immense talent of the area.

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