5th Artist’s Choice Art Exhibition Monthly Winning Artists – February 2020

The top five artists in each category were given awards in the 5th Annual Artist’s Choice international online art exhibition.  Below are the biographies and/or artist’s statements along with the artist’s websites or emails.

Please visit the 5th Annual Artist’s Choice Art Exhibition Page and contact the artists directly for purchase inquiries or to see more of their work.

Congratulations again to all the winners and thank you for sharing your talent with us.

Best in Show 

Brian Allen

I begin painting with rollers, large brushes and paint flying everywhere. My first layers are loose as I block in color and create the foundation for what’s to come. I create the next layers with brushes, palette knives, and other objects to bring contrast and variety to my work. I start with a plan, but often don’t stick to it. Instead, I let the painting guide me where it needs to go.

I work primarily in oils and spray paint and have discovered that together they are able to create a contrasting balance between both the vibrant colors and the colder, dull colors I strive for in my pieces.

As I have grown as an artist, I found that I use elements associated with fine art, such as light, form and composition and make them dance with disparity against the rawness of street art. The commotion this creates is often echoed by a stillness, where together, they highlight the focal point. I am infatuated with abstraction and use it to set the mood and create a world in which my paintings live.

Painting is the way I am able to communicate and express myself. My work comes from a vulnerable place and I let the honesty in what I feel pour onto the canvas. It is a testimony to my life experiences, who I have become and am becoming, and it is how I choose to share my life with the world.

If you are interested in seeing more of Brian’s work, please email him directly.

Best in Show
(Digital & Photography)
Sheri Emerson

Sheri has been a photographer her entire life, from a child snapping pictures with her 110 camera, to her first SLR, and finally into the digital world. She also has been an artist her entire life, winning her first art competition at the grand old age of five. In the past few years, she has intensively studied both Photoshop and Lightroom to learn how to enhance her photography and turn it into digital art.

She has been published in “Living the Photo Artistic Life” magazine, “Photoshop Creative UK” magazine, “Conceptual Images” magazine, “A5 Magazine”, “MagazineGSPDigital”, and “Fine Eye Magazine” for fine art photography. She was recently named a finalist in the Photographer’s Forum 38th Annual Spring Photography Competition and was one of 40 artists selected to participate in a year-long exhibition celebrating ACLU of Arizona’s 60th Anniversary.

She has placed in the top ten in nine Light, Space and Time competitions, has received several “Best in Show” awards, placed second in the SINWP “Creatures Great and Small” competition and earned a Gold Award in their member competitions, has earned a Best in Show and won an Artist Spotlight Solo Art Exhibition on Fusion Art, and has been exhibited at galleries in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona and Greece. Sheri splits her time between Arizona and Labrador, Canada, and is dedicating herself to pushing her photography and digital art even further.

Please visit Sheri’s website if you are interested in seeing more of her work.

Best in Show
(3 Dimensional)
Mary F. Vivo

Creating Housculptures helps me connect with different structures and their surroundings and to show their importance and simplicity. A bus station, once vital but perhaps forgotten, is resurrected. I am able to combine the use of a variety of materials that I like to work with mainly: wood, colored pencil, paper, board, markers and paint.

My choice of subject has evolved from single homes to scenes and obscure historical structures. I try to recapture the feeling of the landmark and the era in which it thrived.

My current work brings together my past and present: my past love of certain places and my exploration of new places and buildings along with my love for detail.

The piece is complete after I add minor, but important individual nuances that help make the Housculpture come alive.

Please visit Mary’s website if you are interested in seeing more of her work.

2nd Place

Kathy Paulus

Kathy Paulus resides in Southern California. She considers herself a self-taught artist specializing in pastel work. She specializes in pet/wild animal portraits and still life subjects. She accepts commissions for animal portraits and enjoys the joy it brings to a devoted pet owner. She enjoys realism and the challenge to capture the real beauty in animals. She has a special love for horses and all wild cats. She also enjoys painting still life subjects. She also loves to explore other mediums such as colored pencil, watercolor and scratch art.

She became a member of the International Society of Scratchboard Artist in 2018. She is an active member of the Redlands Art Association in Redlands, California and Yucaipa VisionQuest Art Association in Yucaipa, California. She is involved in the international group of artist and photographers, Paint My Photo. She is also involved in many online groups as well. She enjoys teaching in workshops and sharing the knowledge she has obtained through the years in the area of pastels and scratch art. She enters many local and international art shows and has won many awards for her pastel work and Scratch art.

You can see more of her work on her facebook page, www.facebook.com/ElipisFineArt

2nd Place
(Digital & Photography)
Gareth Jones

Photography is Gareth’s artistic release. Beginning photography in 2015, Gareth bring his imagination, vision and inquisitive mind to visual life following a successful career as a forensic scientist.

Gareth’s art explores bold abstracts or unique perspectives created from his original photographs or digital art pieces.

Gareth wants to present moments of beauty, quiet joy or intrigue in balance with the need to draw attention to important issues. Everyone needs a break from today’s unending negative news and Gareth attempts to provide a breather from the stress of today’s world. He still brings difficult issues into his art – but is convinced that balance is the critical life component and as such, hopes his art will heal this disparate world through creative expressions, thoughtful moments and visual enjoyment or challenge.

Gareth photographs everything, big and small, that makes him stop, look, think, smile, or feel and then puts his unique take on it. Gareth’s images are that gift – a moment of balance, to find something in the image. His curiosity fuels the exploration of the world and the abstract, nature, urban and imaginative images that arise.

Gareth believes that whenever viewers purchase or comment on images, they connect with him. Often that connection is the breather he provides. He’s touching people with his images and that is his inspiration.

Gareth’s art can be found in private collections in Canada but have also sold around the world.

Gareth has been a medalist in various competitions including one of the world’s oldest photography competitions, the International Salon of Photography.

Please visit Gareth’s website if you are interested in seeing more of his work.

2nd Place
(3 Dimensional)
Michelle Bourdeau

Michele Bourdeau does not have a formal education in Art or Sculpture. She is trained as a physicist and has worked in academia, and in the private and public sectors. Her scientific background may help explain her fascination with the three-dimensional form and sculpture.

She likes the texture of clay and enjoys feeling a form take shape under her fingers.

She gets inspired from a variety of sources and tends to prefer stylized, abstracted figures and forms. Apart from representing the figure, the artist is much inspired by the wildness of nature and un-tameness of the ocean in creating abstract forms.

Her sculpture pieces do not result from careful planning. She tries to experiment with something new each time. The artist lets the idea evolve as she works along and likes to leave the sculpture speak for itself.

For more information about Michelle and her  work, please visit email her directly.

3rd Place

Jonathan Eiten

I paint because I enjoy the challenge of recreating what I see onto a two dimensional surface. I believe that I have been gifted with the ability to render objects and images in a realistic manner and that I have a responsibility to use this gift.

My intent in composing an image is not only to tell a story but also to let the objects tell their own story. Objects have their own place in our lives and can take on a life of their own. They undergo use and wear as they age and naturally take on character, making them interesting to look at.

Still life is the mode of painting in which I primarily work. Because I consider myself a realist, still life is an ideal genre for me. I enjoy combining old, man-made objects with objects from nature; the comparison of the two is appealing. I paint from life but also use photographs as aids to capture the correct light or, in the case of painting flowers or other ‘live’ objects, to capture the objects before they change.

My creative process has been shaped by a number of people: contemporary painters like the Noordelijke Realisten movement and painters from the past such as

Chardin and the 17th-century Dutch masters. Although aspects of their paintings can be seen in my work, I am striving for a unique look. On the one hand, I paint from life and want the image to be objective, but I also want to present another dimension or reality beyond what one first sees. For example, the scratches in a wooden table or the worn pages of a letter or book are things that tell a story. I use the elements of light and reflection, important parts of my paintings, to help focus the eye and to aid in telling this story, but I want the viewer to look beyond the objects themselves and contemplate deeper.

My method of painting starts with making several drawings to decide on the composition. I then make a fine-line drawing on a masonite panel. Next I do an underpainting of the image- sometimes with the basic colors of the images and sometimes in gray-scale. After the underpainting is dry, I start applying layers of color, which is the main body of the painting. Beyond this I will work on enhancing shadows and highlights of the images by applying further glazes of paint. My painting technique could best be explained as applying paint with thicker, coarser brushes in the secondary areas of the painting while paying attention to the primary areas by using finer brushes and a delicate touch.

To see more of Jonathan’s work please visit his website.

3rd Place
(Digital & Photography)
Jeremiah Gilbert

Jeremiah Gilbert is an award-winning photographer and avid traveler based out of Southern California. He likes to travel light and shoot handheld. His travels have taken him to over eighty countries spread across five continents. His photography has been published internationally, in both digital and print publications, and has been exhibited worldwide. His hope is to inspire those who see his work to look more carefully at the world around them in order to discover beauty in unusual and unexpected places. He can be found on Instagram @jg_travels

To see more of Jeremiah’s work, please visit his website.




3rd Place
Jiyoung Kim

Jiyoung Kim is an artist from South Korea.

She graduated from Ewha Womans University in 2016 and received a Masters Degree from Ewha Womans University in 2020.  

To see more of Jiyoungs’s work, please email her directly.




4th Place

Cher Pruys

Cher Pruys was born in Regina. Over the years she lived in many places including Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Fort Frances, settling into her present home in Devlin, on the banks of the Rainy River with her husband Mark, 4 dogs and 2 cats.

By age three, Cher was seldom found without a drawing tool in hand. She worked in pencil, charcoal and ink over the years, until, she picked up a paintbrush at the age of 35. Beginning with oil paints, she found her chosen mediums in acrylic, water color and gouache.

Although self taught, her dedication and talent has seen her work juried into 98 International exhibits, as well as exhibits in numerous non juried shows. She has won 72 awards for her work at the International Juried Exhibits. Included in these awards, the first recipient of a major Canadian National Award, The Mary Pratt Crystal Award of Excellence at the 2014 SCA Open Juried Exhibition, The SCA 1st place award of distinction twice respectively, 2016, and 2017 at The Canada’s 150 show. The Gold Medal recipient for Figurative Painting in The Mondial Art Academia’s International 2018 Competition. The Aviation Week & Space Technology Award Best of the Best, and the ASAA Award of Distinction for the best painting in the ASAA International Space & Technology Exhibit & Competition, consecutively for 2 years. She has had 14 solo exhibits. Cher is also an avid fused glass artist, and a certified teacher of piano and guitar. Her painting “The Bubble” had the honour of being part of the Masterworks from The International Guild of Realism Tour. She Was Elected to the American Society of Aviation Artists as an artist member in 1996, and eventually Was elected as a Foreign Affiliate Artist Fellow, one of only two Canadians receive this honour. Her work has graced the covers of 3 books, 14 magazines, and has-been featured in over 50 international publications. Cher’s works have found a permanent home in private and public collections worldwide.

Cher’s artistic style can be described as Realism with a hint of Abstract in her

To see more of Cher’s work, please visit her website.

4th Place
(Digital & Photography)
Shelley Benjamin

Shelley Benjamin, a resident of southeast Florida, is an award winning digital artist.

She received a BS in Textile Design from Cornell University. After a career as a textile designer and weaver, she became interested in mixed media, and ultimately, photography.

Ms. Benjamin’s experimentation and involvement with digital photography began after she purchased her first DSLR camera. During the learning process, she joined an international group of digital artists. With the advanced training she was able to develop her skills, which has allowed her to transform her images to reflect her vision. The inspiration from the group opened up the possibilities of taking photos into a new realm.

She is motivated by the art she sees in museums and galleries. From the time she was young she has always been an avid museum visitor. Her background in weaving exposed her to the art of fine crafts and the masters in those fields.

Shelley uses her photos as the foundation for a digital painterly approach, utilizing modern technology to enhance and transform the original image. Drawing upon her textile design background, she imparts a tactile feeling to her work.

She is challenged and inspired by color, reflections, light, the changing seasons, nature and architectural elements. Shelley is always searching for the extraordinary visual imagery in very ordinary environments.

Ms. Benjamin states that her goal is to share the beauty around her and impart the uplifting feelings to the viewer that are the source of her inspiration.

Shelley Benjamin’s work has been exhibited in local and international competitions and in online galleries as well as being featured in national digital photo and print magazines.

To see more of Shelley’s work, please visit her Instagram.

4th Place
Dustin Davis


Dustin Davis was born in Ashland, Wisconsin on November 21, 1945. He received his B.S. degree from Northland College, Ashland, Wisconsin in 1968. He received his M.F.A. degree in Art and Design specializing in 3-D Design from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1971. Dustin started teaching on the undergraduate in 1972 and is currently a full Professor at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Maryland. He has exhibited in many International and National exhibitions. His work has been reviewed in the Baltimore Sun and displayed online the Light Space & Time, Fusion, and Fine Arts America Online Art Galleries.

Artist Statement:

In my current series of metal sculptures, most of the works are not planned out from their beginning to their conclusion; rather they develop as each piece of the sculpture is welded to the next piece. This intuitive way of working suits my creative approach and allows me to quickly change direction without looking forced or contrived. For the most part, I use scrap metal because of sustainability and the bends and twists in the metal created by the recycling process. Most of the works are finished with high gloss enamel paint, while others with an industrial look are allowed to rust and then sealed with a matt finish.

To learn more about Dustin and his work, please email him directly.

5th Place

Colleen Devlin Bang

Colleen grew up in Lancaster County, PA. Between an Amish and a Mennonite Farm. Being in such a rural area made the Family Sunday Drive all the more exciting. May be why she is fascinated with Roadside Attractions. But you will not find extensive landscapes, she crops her pieces to show just what is important. She thinks this may come from being the third child and having to sit in the middle of the back seat, can’t see everything form back there.

To see more of Colleen’s work, please visit her website.




5th Place
(Digital & Photography)
August Naude

After retirement from a successful career in the ICT world, August quickly discovered his immense passion for artistic photography, digital art and low key & grunge photography. Therefore, it was no surprise when he joined the various training programmes of the “father of digital art”, the famous Sebastian Michaels based in Asheville (USA) who has influenced the artwork of August to a large extent. August also graduated at the New York Institute of Photography with distinction, specializing in Intense Portrait Photography.

August almost got molded in a record time, becoming a master in low key studio work, grunge photo art as well as full blast digital art and artistic photography. He was selected as one of Photoshop Artistry’s international Top-500 which is called “Kaizen” and this group of top digital artists produce the most magical works of art. His work has been published in over 40 international publications all over the globe. He was featured artist in a number of publications, like edition 50 of the famous magazine, Living The Photo Artistic Life when he was the featured artist.

During his artistic journey, August participated (and is still participating) in various group exhibitions and he has received numerous honorary mentions and international prizes for his work. He was invited by Eikon Culture Visual Reflections, being the only South African between artists of over 70 countries to participate in three international exhibitions in Italy. You will recognise his name as Auguste Naude on their page. During 2017 to 2020, August has been exhibiting at the Heaven Art Gallery which was based in Arizona as well as the Orenda Gallery which was in Nevada. August is consistently exhibiting at the Blank Wall Gallery, in Athens, the More Art Please gallery in Romania as well as various online exhibitions like Fusion Art Gallery and Light, Space & Time Gallery. His work is on display and is accessible internationally.

Photography and the creation of art is not a job for August. It is rather living an artistic life which he is extremely passionate about.

To see more of August’s work, please visit his website.

5th Place
Jim Harman


Jim grew up in southern California. He graduated from Long Beach State College, Long Beach, California, in 1967 with a BA in art. Through the 70’s Jim continued to paint. During that time he started cutting cabochon stones. A cabochon has a flat back an a domed top. Most often, agates and jaspers are cabochon cuts. With a large collection of cabochons, it was time, for Jim, to learn how to make jewelry. With the help from other jewelers, the learning experience began. In the early 80’s Jim took a number of classes at the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco. For 30 years Jim worked in the jewelry trade. Part of the process of creating custom jewelry included carving wax models to be cast by the lost wax casting process. The creation of wax models for jewelry and bronze sculpture are much the same. The transition, for Jim, was seem less. As a lapidary artist, Jim’s bronze pieces show case his stones.


I have two bodies of work. In my earlier work, the Primordial Recollections series, I used animal bones as the foundation for my bronze pieces. As bones have a sculptural quality on their own, I gave them a new identity. Not just bones. While these pieces are highly modified, they offer an opportunity to show case stones that I have cut. My current focus is on bowls and vases. Most often, a vase has one hole and is the same on all sides. Expanding on that concept, I am making vases that have two sides. Each side has a different look. Some of my vases have multiple holes. Typically my vases are about two inches thick, front to back. If you tire of looking at one side, you can turn it around. Two different looks in one vase.

To learn more about Jim and his work, please visit his website.


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