The top five artists in each category were given awards in the 7th Annual Black & White International Online Art Exhibition. Below are the biographies and/or artist’s statements along with the artist’s websites or emails.
To contact these 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 all the winners and thank you for sharing your talent with us.
Best in Show (Traditional) – Jay Decker - "O'Dell Creek" – oil on canvas
Truly 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
I 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
Artist 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.
2nd Place (Traditional) – Will Noble - "Indian Valley Creek" – watercolor
Will Noble is an African-American artist living in Marin County, California, where he draws most of his inspiration. He is for the most part self-taught and resonates with the work of Joseph Raffael and Chuck Close. His painting style of intimate ultra-realism is done totally freehand (no projections, no tracings). In his watercolors and oil paintings, he explores the way water cascades across rock, ripples in the wind, and shimmers in the sunlight. Through his paintings, he hopes viewers are reminded not only of the beauty of water but of its intrinsic value and how important it is to conserve it and keep it healthy for the well-being of ourselves and all life.
To see more of Will’s work, please visit his website.
2nd Place (Photography & Digital) - Evan Fisher - "Sunset in Idaho" – photography
Evan Fisher is a self-taught photographer originally from Richmond, VA with a love for the outdoors. Currently living in Washington D.C, He tries to capture the unique story of the world’s beauty, from autumn’s waterfalls to winter’s sunrises, wherever he travels, and share that with others. When he’s not snapping photos, Evan’s probably reading, trail running, or planning his next adventure.
To see more of his work, Evan can be reached via his Email.
2nd Place (3 Dimensional) - Michele Bourdeau - "Drunken Sea" – bonded bronze
Michele Bourdeau does not have a formal education in Art or Sculpture. 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 favor 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.
To see more of Michele’s work, please visit her website.
3rd Place (Traditional) – Nancie Quah - "A Drop" – colored pencils
I’m Nancie Quah and I am a self-taught artist, born in Penang, Malaysia and grew up with a fervent interest in arts. I’ve always enjoyed drawing and painting ever since I was little, and my passion for arts has only grown over the years. I started off with punch arts, then rubber stamps were introduced to me. I was a former Magnolia Rubber Stamps (Sweden) Design Team, but to this day I still continue to work with the rubber stamps to create greeting cards because of my vast collection of the items. I’m always keen to explore with a variety of mediums, but I find myself more comfortable with watercolour and coloured pencils. I prefer drawing pictures of animals and flowers over human portraits. I’ve decided to dedicate myself to art challenges for the past two years, as I try to hone my skills in the meantime – completing one challenge takes me one step closer to my lifetime achievement as a professional artist.
To see more of her work, Nancie can be reached via her Email.
3rd Place (Photography & Digital) - Elizabeth Kayl - "Journey to the Ridge" – photography
Artist Statement: I have always been told that I have an “eye” for capturing a good photograph. Driving down the road or walking along a city sidewalk, I am constantly seeking to find that perfect composition or subject to frame in my mind, hoping that my camera is with me. It wasn’t until the pandemic hit that I became serious about sharing my work with a broader audience than just my family and have been pleased with the success I have received in doing so. As a photographer by passion and not trade, I am intrigued by both the ordinary and extraordinary, particularly drawn toward unusual landscapes, birds, and architecture.
Artist Biography: Elizabeth has had her work included into juried gallery shows in 32 different US states and in 3 international countries in 2020, 2021 and 2022 to date. Elizabeth has recently won a Juror’s Award, two Best in Show Awards, a First Place Award and a Visitor’s Choice. Her work has been featured in many permanent public art locations, as well. By day, she is employed as the Director of Parks and Recreation for the beautiful art-inspired City of Loveland, Colorado.
To see more of Elizabeth Kayl’s work, please visit her website.
3rd Place (3 Dimensional) - Sherry Turpenoff - "Then There Was One" – mixed media
Sherry has lived in many locations and traveled extensively. She began her fiber work in the Washington DC area. Upon her retirement in 2006 she returned to the St Louis area to concentrate on her fiber art work. Much of Sherry’s work involves nature and frequently is derived from personal photos or incorporates travel photos or other digitally created images. She works in fabric and yarns-- piecing, fusing, felting and quilting her images.
To see more of her work, Sherry can be reached via her Email.
4th Place (Traditional) – David LaPalombara - "Rum Island 3" – oil on wood panel
David LaPalombara is a Professor of Art at Ohio University. He is the recipient of a Rome Prize and Fulbright Fellowship in Italy and exhibits his work nationally and internationally. His work as an artist incorporates a variety of media, including installation sculpture, photography, and painting. Although his choice of materials is diverse, the art he creates examines fundamental ideas of spatial perception. At the outset, he seeks to engage his audience in a physical and intellectual understanding of space by manipulating perspective, adjusting horizon line vanishing points, and experimenting with color and light. Working in nature also is an important expressive theme that infuses most of his art. Growing up in New England and spending time outdoors was a formative experience in his artistic development. His landscape paintings are fundamentally about place and sense-of-space, whether depicting images of quiet and contemplative solitude or addressing issues related to the environment. He received a BA from Oberlin College and an MFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.
To see more of David’s work, please visit his website.
4th Place (Photography & Digital) - Mark Weller - "On the way to Lake Superior" – photography
Mark Weller is nearly surrounded by water. Lake Superior to the north, Lake Michigan to the east, the Mississippi River to the west and over 15,000 Wisconsin lakes in between. “I think I have sweet water in my veins” says Weller. He grew up playing in the sands of Lake Michigan which left an indelible impression he carries with him through today. “Water is life. Without it, all life dies.”
Weller photographs water in all its forms: liquid, ice, and clouds. “There is a beauty to moving water. Looking and understanding flow, currents, rain, ice… water is intoxicating to me. Even when I travel, it’s usually to a spot that is defined by water.” From a dew drop in the northern boreal forest, trickling on the woodland floor, collecting in a creek, thundering over a waterfall, cascading to the Great Lakes and ultimately to the oceans, Weller has photographed and celebrated this unending circle of life. Water is one of his feted and signature subjects.
Weller is a Wisconsin native and started his early professional career making films in Alaska. In 1980 he moved to Madison, Wisconsin as PBS Wisconsin’s senior producer for News and Public Affairs creating documentaries for statewide and national audiences winning numerous national and statewide awards. He then accepted a position at a telecommunications firm and retired as President and CEO in 2019.
Gallery Marzen say Mark’s “propensity for capturing movement and its relationship to his camera sets him far apart from other photographers.” His work has been in galleries and art museums throughout the United States.
To see more of Mark’s work, please visit his website.
4th Place (3 Dimensional) - Karen Ford - "Respite" – mixed media
Karen is best-known for her 3-dimensional creations made from natural materials: a corn husk becomes a flower; walnut twigs become wall art; skeletonized leaves turn into framed centerpieces. Karen’s art brings nature indoors where it can be enjoyed anytime.
Art has always been a part of her life. As a child she took piano and ballet lessons and dreamed of one day becoming a ballerina. College started with a major in ballet, then modern dance and finally elementary education! An art class or two found its way into her schedule and proved to be more enjoyable than expected. After graduation life became busy: marriage, jobs, children, grandchildren and “art” meant a fun project with the kids, a homemade birthday cake or a unique costume for Halloween…all enjoyable and part of a full and happy motherhood.
Seventy years of living and many life lessons later Karen has found that retirement has given her the gift of time: time to find her passion in art. The creativity fostered years ago in dance classes, the skills learned in those college art lessons, the library research work needed for assignments turned out to be the training she didn’t know she’d had. On her three-acre homestead in Indiana Karen has fallen in love with nature and found sorrow in its fleeting beauty. “Art” now has become a means of preserving that beauty.
“Respite” is truly a “mixed media” piece. From chicken wire and glue to glass and cornhusks Karen has used a variety of objects to create an enchanting pond. Look closely and you’ll see a cane fishing pole leaning against a stump chair, its bobber hopelessly tangled in a tree branch and “the one that got away” swimming safely out of reach. The rocks, flowers and greenery are hand-made and add to the natural beauty depicted here. The combination of peaceful nature and a bit of humor make this a place to get away from worry and stress. Karen invites you to put on some relaxing music, enjoy this picture and be carried away to a place of respite.
Inspiration comes in many forms: a person; a painting; a song. For Karen inspiration comes from nature. She’s chosen three-dimensional art and photography as her favorite methods of preserving nature’s beauty. Her hope is that through her art she’ll foster a love of nature in others. As winter turns to spring and once again the world is full of new life Karen is drawn outdoors to witness the wonders of nature. She picks up her camera to snap photos and a plastic bucket to gather flowers and plants to preserve. Come follow her into her backyard and see what she’s made at: http://center-of-attention.wixsite.com/gallery .
5th Place (Traditional) – Nancy Price - "West Fork Creek" – soft pastel
Nancy Price's paintings are meant to be a visual vacation from the stresses of everyday life. They are meant to capture the essence and mood of a scene rather than a detailed mirror image. She creates impressionistic artwork primarily in oil paint and pastel. Painting has been an integral part of Price's life for years. She has taken private and group lessons in Chicago, Los Angeles and Phoenix. Her focus on art turned a corner after she moved from the Midwest to the Southwest. Inspired by endless skies, seascapes and the desert, she has become a prolific daily painter. Her work has won a number of awards and has been displayed in juried gallery shows in Southern California, Scottsdale, Phoenix and Sedona. Price teaches painting classes for adults and children at The Phoenix Center For The Arts and is a youth instructor at The Scottsdale Artists' School. Most days, Price can be found working on both landscape and pet portrait commissions, in her home studio in Phoenix.
To see more of Nancy’s work, please visit her website.
5th Place (Photography & Digital) - Will Thompson - "14th Street Dreams" – digital photography
Artist Biography: Will Thompson is a photographer, editor, and writer from Philadelphia, PA. As a former newspaper editor/writer and photographer, Will garnered numerous Pennsylvania, regional, and Philadelphia area press awards for feature writing.
Since leaving journalism in 2002, he had always missed having an outlet for photography in his life until picking it back up in 2017 when he entered his first gallery show that fall. Since then, Will has kept active exhibiting in numerous local, regional and national juried shows and contests which led to his first-ever solo and group exhibits in 2019.
Artist Statement: I love the fun and challenge of finding the aesthetic in everyday, ordinary things through a camera lens! I have a 'genre-free' approach to photography that embraces the randomness of daily encounters with people, the urban landscape, nature, movement and light. I bring the sum of my influences into each photograph which pulls from History, Americana, music, and the surreal, coupled with maintaining respect for the dignity of the subject matter and environs. Being able to record, preserve, and alter the perception of environment through the manipulation of light through glass is magic to me and always has been since the first time I developed my own pictures as a kid using darkroom chemicals. To freeze the special qualities of a given moment and bring it to life in an image that stirs interest, enjoyment, emotion and meaning in others is a truly extraordinary, fulfilling and humbling thing. Within my open-ended interests, I do love the stark timelessness and detail of black & white photography and have an affinity for long exposures that create gauzy, textured and motion-filled "dreamscapes" out of what would otherwise be a straight-up, flat version of the same scene.
To see more of Will’s work, please visit his website.
5th Place (3 Dimensional) - Emily Cyr - "Undersea Dream" – mixed media embroidery
To see more of Emily’s work, please visit her website.
Fusion Art, LLC
Santa Fe, NM