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"After School" by Sherry Chen


"Tis the Season"
Escondido Municipal "Expressions" Gallery
Poway Center for Performing Arts

Poway Center for the Performing Arts (PCPA):
November 30, 2018 – January 3, 2019

15498 Espola Rd, Poway, CA 92064


First Place
After School
Sherry Chen

The NCSFA acknowledges and celebrates the many diverse talents of our members with a traveling exhibit this year that began in the Escondido Expressions Gallery and ends at the PCPA. 33 Members Enteredm64 paintings for Escondido Expressions Gallery and 87 paintings for The Poway Center for Performing Arts

Judge: Elin Thomas
See Judges Notes on the show posted below (click here to print)

Elin Thomas' Judge’s Notes click here to print:
North County Society of Fine Art, November 30, 2018

"One can walk a show and find many things that catches one’s eye. No exception for your show. I walked the entire exhibited paintings, and those with merit for me as an artist, design teacher and plein air painter rose to the top. Judging is subjective, and so whether one wins or not isn’t as important as (in larger shows) making the cut for the exhibit. Awards are the icing on the cake, so to speak. I hope my explanations of why the following twelve artworks caught my eye help everyone to know my thoughts and why I chose the works I did. If you didn’t get that coveted prize, please know that issues of design and use of the medium, and the story are the pillars on how I judge. I might also mention:"

"After School" by Sherry Chen

First Place - “After School” Chen, Sherry
The moment I laid eyes on this painting, I was struck by everything that makes a great work of art. This painting has story, first of all. It is the universal recognition of youth’s uncertainty and grasp for connection with the dog serving as constant. The viewpoint of the onlooker is one of elevation, placing him or her in a position of adult, or supernatural being observing this slice of time. The use of design to present a common theme (person on couch) in an unusual and powerful way was the second reason this painting grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. The simplistic yet complicated use of color dominance and subordination also conveys the strength of design with the use of blues so appropriate to the design. As an added comment, the sofa reminded me of the paintings of Lucien Freud with the excellent use of various values to authentically convey the fabric “skin”. Excellent overall.

Tis the Season painting by Pat Titus Second Place - “Ocotillo Sunset” Titus, Pat
Howard Pyle, the father of American Illustration, would tell his students, “Thirty minutes, thirty yards.” In essence, what he meant was that if the student couldn’t put down a design structure strong enough to be perceived from far away, they would have to wipe it out and start over. The award for second place goes to a strongly designed painting with excellent Impressionistic brushwork and a dynamic use of color to convey the message of desert landscape and desert light. Kudos!

"looking For the Right Word" by Carol Mansfield Third Place - “Looking for the Right Word” Mansfield, Carol
Lovely use of media to convey a strong yet whimsical message. The viewer can take away many reactions from this piece, both emotionally and intellectually—in other words, this piece touches both the child and adult in each of us.

"Apple Pie" by Julie Nord
Judge’s Choice #1 - “Apple Pie” Nord, Julie

AND People's Choice Escondido Espressions Gallery
Excellence in use of medium, design and complexity of layout made this painting stand out from many others. I was especially caught by this artist’s use of edge loss in such an extremely detailed work. Delightful. Looking over this steelyard design (check with Edgar Payne for more information on that), the negative space on the right beautifully balances the lone egg on the left. Well done!

Wild West by Lily Szulc

Judge’s Choice #2   - “Wild West” Szulc, Lilly
Once cannot pass by this work without spending time enjoying the dynamics of the clouds painted so powerfully (plein air?). It is only after a moment that one looks at the nuance and contrast.

"Urban Catacombs" by Jo Lind Eckstein Honorable Mention - “Urban Catacombs” Eckstein, Jo-Lind
My imagination is engaged with this piece, due to the design, harmonious color palette and story—or potential story—of primitive people, structure and conflict/blood.

"Ready" by Pat Titus Honorable Mention - “Ready” Titus, Pat
I totally fell for the diagonals in this painting. Rather than a peaceful horizontal composition as found in most ocean/yacht type works, this artist tests the waters by showing us a new perspective and tension in using diagonals. The spot of red on “Ready” is icing on the cake and makes for an excellent focal point.

"Iggy" by Michele Kruck Honorable Mention - “IGGY” Kruck, Michelle
Well drawn, well executed and well presented (framed with the black second mat). I love reptiles, so it was easy to be pulled in by the yellow eye area and then enjoy the myriad of turquoise variations and purple subtlety of the skin—no two scales alike! And to capture the personality in that eye.

Farm Market by Lilly Szulc Judge’s Merit - “Farm Market” Szulc, Lilly
Design caught my eye on this one, and the buoyant use of color in a complex subject. The strong use of perspective in an otherwise complex subject is enjoyable to view. I feel included in this scene, and that’s not often an easy accomplishment!

"Glow" by Doris Bertch

Judge’s Merit - “Glow” Bertch, Doris
I walked by this very simple pastel, not once, but twice. But then I kept coming back to it because of the simplicity of the design and the really effective use of color. It reminded me of some of Edward Hopper’s designs, using triads in shapes and triads in color.

Michele Kruck's award winner, "Mystic" Judge’s Merit - “Mystic” Kruck, Michelle
The Alaskan coast is harsh and cold, and one wouldn’t think that watercolor could convey the chill effectively with all those lighter values inherent in the medium. Yet this artist brought the dark, repetitive shapes under the dock and used the chilling white of the paper making me feel as though I was off shore on a ferry looking at this scene. I also enjoyed finding the repetition of the tribal fish shape in another place in the composition, which also balanced the entire layout. Nice touch!

"Reflections" by Sharon Ford
Judge’s Merit - “Reflections” Ford, Sharon

I kept coming back to this painting for the excellent use of color and the complete feeling of universal serenity I felt while looking at it. Sometimes a simple design conveys the most effective message
Elin Thomas, WAOW
Riverside, California

Elin Thomas has been painting professionally in both acrylics and oils since 1983.  Her representational work is sold through her web sites and blog, and she continues to win awards in national juried shows featuring traditional art.  

She is a past president and emeritus member of the Women Artists of the West, a past member of the International Society of Acrylic Painters, and a former signature member of the American Academy of Equine Art. 

Her background includes live painting sessions and workshops with the following noted artists: Richard Schmid, Michael Obermeyer, Joyce Pike, Ovanes Berberian, Al Broiulette and Robert E. Wood. She does equines, commissions, plein air work, and still life subjects.  She’s been called the “fastest brush in the West” when doing on-location painting.  Her web site ( is filled with all original works of art, the site is easy to navigate and loads quickly.  Her blog gives recent activity and you can find her on Facebook as well.

She is the creator of the Color System for Artists and has produced seven instructional DVDs on painting methods and color use.  Her Color System Flash Cards simplify painters’ color choices.  She is the author of three Walter Foster books on acrylic painting, one focusing completely on horses. This artist paints many new works each year, which find their way into an ever-growing group of collectors—proud owners of an original "Elin".  

January 3rd (Thursday) 9-11 am:  Pick up art at end of show
There is no storage space, so if you cannot pick up your work, please make arrangements to have someone else pick it up, or contact Sharon Ford or Kathryn Peterson

Awards: The awards will be $100 First place, $75 Second place, $50 Third place, and for the Expressions exhibit, a $35 award will be given for a People’s Choice.   Honorable Mention certificates to be awarded at the discretion of the juror.

Commission:  For works sold at the Expressions Exhibit, a 20% commission is payable to the Escondido Arts Partnership.  At the PCPA exhibit, artists agree to pay 15% of gross revenue for sale of artwork to the City of Poway, plus sales tax. Sharon Ford will be the contact for sales.  NCSFA does not charge additional commission for work sold

First Place
“After School”, Sherry Chen
Second Place
Second Place - “Ocotillo Sunset”, Pat Titus
Third Place
“Looking for the Right Word” Carol Mansfield
People's Choice for Escondido Epressions Gallery
Apple Pie” Julie Nord
Honorable Mention and Juror Commendations

Judge’s Choice #1 - “Apple Pie” Julie Nord
Judge’s Choice #2   - “Wild West” Lilly Szulc
Honorable Mention - “Urban Catacombs” Jo-Lind Eckstein
Honorable Mention - “Ready” Pat Titus
Honorable Mention - “IGGY” Michele Kruck
Judge’s Merit - “Farm Market” Lilly Szulc
Judge’s Merit - “Glow” Doris Bertch
Judge’s Merit - “Reflections” Sharon Ford

printable flyer here

Links to previous NCSFA PCPA Award Winners


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