7th Annual Waterscapes Best in Show Winners – March 2022

To contact these Best in Show artists directly for purchase inquiries or to see more of their work, please visit the 7th Annual Waterscapes Exhibition page for contact information.

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

Best in Show (Traditional) – Jay Decker – “O’Dell Creek” – oil on canvas

1st-Place-52-trad.-Jay-Decker-ODell-Creek-.bTruly a gift from God. I gave myself painting lessons for my 50th birthday and the rest is history. I work every day to become a better artist. I don’t know what that is yet exactly, but I will keep learning as much as I can. I paint with the intention of getting the values as close as possible to reality and then add as many necessary, different colors to those values as I can see.

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


Best in Show (Photography & Digital) – Robert Nowak – “Lupin Falls” – photography

1st-Place-10-dp.-Robert-Nowak-Lupin-Falls-.bI caught the photography bug when I got my first camera from my dad at age 11. While my equipment has changed over the years, (I currently shoot with a Nikon digital camera), what has not changed is my passion for photographing the beauty of nature. My love of nature photography grew as I spent time hiking and backpacking in the Rocky Mountains and surrounding areas.

After living in Colorado for 35 years, my wife and I fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and decided to move to the Seattle area, giving us the opportunity to explore the ocean, forests and mountains in this beautiful part of the country.

Through my hiking and backpacking I’ve had the privilege to see and experience natural places that not everyone is lucky enough to visit. Attempting to capture the beauty of these places through my photographs is the best way I can think of to share my good fortune. I hope to share my passion for nature and bring it into your home or office – bringing you serenity, inspiration or energy.

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

Best in Show (3 Dimensional) – Karen Russo – “River of Grace” – stoneware, casein, acrylic

1st-Place-4-3d.-Karen-RusArtist Biography: Karen Russo is a figurative sculptor who lives and works in the lush green foothills of western Oregon. She chooses clay as her primary medium because of its malleability, capacity for transformation, and direct connection to the earth.

Karen has a unique method of layering textures, and color that lend a rich, organic quality to her work.  From a solid mass of clay each sculpture is formed and then cut into multiple sections, hollowed, compressed, and then reassembled. Patterns and textures are carved into the clay before it undergoes a slow bisque fire that can last up to a week. Karen combines underglazes, casein and/or acrylic to lay imagery onto the surface. Her color palette echoes the places that inspire her; river, forest, ocean, and mountains of the extraordinary Pacific Northwest.

The resulting sculptures depict women that seem to originate from different eras and geographical origins, but all of which explore the tensions of the feminine experience: strength and contemplation, youth and aging, instability and equilibrium, hope and despair. Through these maternal archetypes, so evocative of the precious earth from which they were formed, Karen hopes to express an eternal optimism for the human spirit in this beautiful and turbulent world.

Artist Statement: “In 2020 I began a body of work that I call, Salt of the Earth. This is a series that I continue to work with as it seems limitless. While I sculpt, I allow the piece to unfold intuitively. Similar to a stone sculptor, I begin by carving away from a block of clay. The beauty of clay allows me to continuously manipulate the form. It is a lively and thoughtful dance, this adding and subtracting of the material.

Because I see my figurative sculptures as landscapes, I look for textures and patterns found in nature. I try out all sorts of objects to see if I can create a mark or impression that will express my intention for each surface layer. To make porous rock surfaces, I use stiff brushes. Ammonite fossils are used as press molds. Inside my studio I have bowls of inspiration: seed pods, feathers, shells, and lots of rocks. Outside I am surrounded by a Douglas Fir forest, native plants, animals and a variety of birds.”

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


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