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Yvonne Park Wins First Prize in AAG Juried Show

The 2020 Anderson Artists Guild Juried Show opened on July 10 and will run through Aug. 14 at the Anderson Arts Center. The exhibit includes 109 works by 58 members.

First Place ($750) was awarded to Yvonne Park for Under the Dogwoods (oil), Second Place ($500) to Matthew Brophy for Peddling Together (ceramic pottery), and Third Place ($300) to Donna O’Hara for Many Shades, Many Memories (pastel).

The Watercolor Award in Memory of Ruth Hopkins ($675) went to Michael England for Gardner’s Peaches (watercolor).

The $200 Merit Award went to Melody Davis for What Gramma Knows (in the End Zone) (mixed media).

Nine $100 Merit Awards were also awarded. The recipients were Diana Walter for Lot No. 14 (mixed media), Kathy Moore for Cardinalis (mixed media), JoAnne Anderson for Table for One? (mixed media), Evelyn Beck for County Fair (fiber), Patricia Walker for Garrick Creek (alcohol ink), Al Morris for Savage Mills #3 (watercolor), Jeannine Holmes for Rhythms (acrylic), Hamed Mahmoodi for Cease Fire (water media), and Rebecca Carruth for Knowing When (acrylic).

The juror was Russell Jewell.

Donors for the merit and watercolor awards included Evelyn Beck, Diana Gilham, Deane King, Hamed Mahmoodi, Mary McDonough, Rosemary Moore, Wesa Neely, Wendy Rogers, Sylvia Woodall, Marion Harvey Carroll, Rebecca Carruth, Michael England, Ann Heard, Marion Hursey, Mary McAlister, Diann Simms, Jerry and Sue West, plus two anonymous donors.

Below are reflections about their pieces from the top five award winners:

Yvonne Park’s Under the Dogwoods (oil)

This painting just sort of happened. I was taking a walk around the neighborhood, and as usual I am constantly on the lookout for inspirations for my paintings. As I walked under my neighbor's dogwood tree, I just happened to look up, and the blue of the sky was peeking through the branches, and the sun was highlighting some of the white flowers. I snapped a few photos with my cell phone and started painting as soon as I got home. Normally I try to plan out my paintings, but with this one I just started slapping paint on the canvas. I was pretty happy with it from the beginning; it just seemed to paint itself.

Matthew Brophy’s Peddling Together (ceramic pottery)

I have been putting most of my efforts towards large bowls recently. I can’t make them fast enough! Sounds like a good problem to have, but it’s not easy. To throw a bowl between 19 and 21 inches in diameter requires 25 pounds of clay. I’m only successful one out of every three attempts.

To make an interesting design on the inside of a bowl requires that it be very “open,” which is a balancing act. More often than not, it collapses and ends up being a smaller bowl or plate. To throw and trim a large bowl can take over an hour. Care has to be taken during the drying period so cracks in the bottom don’t appear. The piece takes 10 or more days to dry before the first firing. After bisque firing, the piece is hard and porous. I draw my design on the inside of the bowl with a pencil first, then decide on the glazes and colors to use on the piece. I never make the same design twice but do use similar patterns at times.

Peddling Together took almost 30 hours to glaze. Every design has many layers of different kinds of glaze that work well together. Finding glazes that work in harmony is the real fun, and it can change dramatically with different clay bodies. After glazing, the piece is placed in an electric kiln and fired to cone 6 (2232 degrees F). At this temperature the clay fuses like glass, and the glazes turn into glass. The firing process takes two days to happen: 13 hours to get up to temperature, then the kiln turns itself off and cools for a day and a half before you can open it.

High-fired stoneware can last for thousands of years if properly cared for. All my pieces are food friendly and I encourage you to use them. Remember not to use metal serving utensils as they can chip glaze. Rubber, wood or plastic is best.

Donna O’Hara’s Many Shades , Many Memories (pastel)

I created this after attending a workshop focused on pastel painting the night. Spending Christmas in Burlington, Vermont, with our children gave me an opportunity to photograph many new night scenes to paint. This nightscape of Nector’s marquee, with the shadow shapes and play of light on the trees and cars, caught my eye. Nector’s is an icon of downtown Burlington. It was there when I first met my husband 43 years ago, and it is still making memories! The only other thing is to give credit to my husband John for the signature frame he created for all of my night scenes which add to their presentation.

Michael England’s Gardner’s Peaches (watercolor)

The painting is from a local, long-lived fruit stand in Locust Grove, Georgia, not far from where my wife and I lived for many years. As a young kid, maybe 10 years old or so, I remember going there with my dad to get peaches and pears for canning for many, many years. It was also the local gathering place for conversation and occasional gas for the local area. Every year, Mr. Gardner would hang out the peaches sign with the fresh sign when his crop had been picked and ready to sell. That was the sign you looked for whenever you passed the store. The view I chose was one of the most recognizable views of the place as you passed by. Hopefully you can tell the place had been added to off and on for years as Mr. Gardner needed. That sort of adding on of buildings and roofs, to me, is uniquely Southern and reflective of local craftsmen in the building trade of the times. What attracted me most was the irregular roof line of the building, that up, down, zig and zag line of the roof, offset by the large circle of that Pure sign. Those two elements are the most recognizable lines or forms of the painting, at least to me—and the hint of light and shadow, that sort of squiggle line that crawls up the foreground roof piece, then is picked up by the hard lines of the roof fascia of the roof line, zigging and zagging into the distance and finally up the tree line. It took a fair amount of drawing, redrawing, perspective and proportion work to get the overall balance of shapes and lines. Not sure if that makes sense, but it is what my eyes were drawn toward. I wanted the piece to be instantly recognizable and hopefully not overworked. Sort of the core of images I'm drawn to that exist all around us, every day, we just don't see them until we pass by, and suddenly light, proportion and color work to a just-right moment.

Melody Davis’ What Gramma Knows (in the End Zone) (mixed media)

As an artist, I have always sought to inspire emotional reactions to my work—which has always been dedicated to the study of human expression.

Lately, by seeking out subjects highlighting social issues and individual struggles, painting allows me to contribute to the current discourse during the upheaval of the pandemic and racial challenges.

These particular photos were taken as we travelled through Baltimore’s depressed district—only a few miles just across the bridge from the wealth in Washington, D.C. The stark contrast weighed on my heart.

For more information about the show, visit

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