Joanna and I took a full day to look at each of the almost 250 exhibitors - checking for attention to detail and a personal interpretation of the medium. It was a hard decision in some cases and an easy one in others. Finally, we presented this list of 14 for recognition. Some of the artists were overwhelmed and grateful; others were ho-hum. Neither should have been.
-----ooooo-----ooooo-----ooooo-----NOTE: I have added some comments since very few of these artists have a web presence.
Fine Art Best of Show
Mark Edwards, Hudson FL - metal sculpture -Edwards
Mark's large metal sculptures are like three dimensional abstract paintings with a perfect balance of shape, texture, space.
Awards of Excellence
David Gill, Richmond, VA - watercolor painting - Gill
David's highly detailed interiors make beautiful use of the juicy and transparent characteristics of watercolor.
Tim and Erika Peters, Winter Haven, FL - porcelain
Tim and Erika handle porcelain clay like no one else - carving into the dried clay pots or painting on a flat surface and then glazing in just the right places.
Maurice Cook, Birmingham, AL - acrylic painting - Cook photo
Maurice uses acrylics to paint stories filled with people and colorful shapes in a primitive style which sits just at the edge of outsider art.
Kathleen Green, Groveport,OH - oil painting
Kathleen uses layers of traditional oil pigment to tells stories of silent empty spaces filled with light and shadow.
Suzanne Bellows, Valrico, FL - batik/mixed media
Suzanne's beautiful silk batik creates the basis for such diverse pieces as jewelery and framed designs.
Fred Draper, Knoxville, TN - photography
Fred's photography covers a variety of subjects from found landscapes to interesting studio work but all have strong composition.
Craft Best Of Show
Connie Nabholz, Pensacola, FL - mixed media/beadwork
Connie Nabholz strings beads into exquisite abstract designs, into tiny little purses and amulet bags and into copies of her own paintings.
Awards of Excellence
William White, Jacksonville, Beach, FL - clay sculpture
Bill sculpts intriquing and humorous figures in layers of variously textured clay.
Robert Howell, Moultrie, GA - wood carving
Robert carves and paints fish leaving the suggestion of delicate movement.
Robert T. Roller, Bowden, GA - kick-wheel pottery
Robert uses a kick-wheel to throw his pottery which he fires in his own unique glazes.
Jeff Zaffino, Rossville, GA - mixed media/wood
Jeff creates intricate and amazing pictures using sheets of wood and a scroll saw.
Jerry Zefft, Statenville, GA - wooden puzzles
Jerry's wooden jigsaw puzzles appeal to both children and adults with color, shape and clean lines.
Janice Kirkland, St. Mary's GA - clay garden sculpture
Janice begins with a beautiful red clay and creates a wide variety of simple garden sculpture.
Another note: In case you think judging is simple and that a peacock would win over a rooster hands-down, take a look at the scraggly old peacock in the picture. The rooster gets my vote.