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Community Art Show winners announced

Awards were announced at Artisans of the Southwest Gallery during the opening reception of the second annual Community Art Show and Sale (CAS). Over a hundred patrons attended the show opening which consists of 20 pieces of art covering a broad spectrum of subject matter and media.

Artists participating in the show include, Don Long (mixed media, Pagosa Springs), Connie Gotsch (b&w photography, Farmington, N.M.), Leslie McGownd (oil, Ignacio, ), Raul Acosta (pastel, Pagosa Springs), T. J. Reynolds (color digital photography, Pagosa Springs), Diane Davis (fiber art- felted, Pagosa Springs), Randy Albers (oil, Pagosa Springs), Tami Schmickle (digital color photography, Bayfield), Laurel Epps (mixed media, Pagosa Springs).

Judges for CAS professional Best of Show were Artisans of the Southwest Gallery member artists Guy Scmickle and Carol Schneider, along with local artist Linda Echterhoff. Judges for the CAS Amateur Best Newby were gallery members Carol Schnieder and Wen Saunders, along with Linda Echterhoff.

Professional Best of Show

Laurel Epps, of Pagosa Springs, received Best of Show (professional category) for her collagraph, “Beyond the Horizon II.” Collagraphy is a printmaking process in which materials are applied to a rigid substrate, such as cardboard or wood. Collagraph plates are created by sticking and gluing materials like textured paper or fabric onto the plate and then coating it with varnish or acrylic medium afterwards to protect the materials. The plate can be intaglio inked, inked with a roller or paintbrush, or some combination thereof. Ink or pigment is applied to the resulting collage, and the board is used to print onto paper using either a printing press or various hand tools. The collagraph plate is printed in the same way as etchings, but also include the basic principle of relief printing and can be printed either as intaglio or relief.

Collagraphy is a very open printmaking method. Ink may be applied to the upper surfaces of the plate with a brayer for a relief print, or ink may be applied to the entire board and then removed from the upper surfaces but remaining in the spaces between objects, resulting in an intaglio print. A combination of both intaglio and relief methods may also be employed. A printing press may or may not be used.

“Since the 1970s, I have been using a mixture of techniques to create an abstract view of my world”, states Epps. Her pieces typically have a landscape focus in which textures, color and movement are used to tell a story. Her pieces enjoy breaking up the rectangular format by cutting into or going outside the box.

In college, Epps had a printmaking emphasis, especially intaglio. Her artwork has evolved into the creation of one-of-a-kind mixed media pieces, incorporating watercolor, oils, collage, pastel and pen and ink. Epps says, “I love when seeming accidents become stepping stones to achieve unique impressions.” Epps also has two mixed media works of art in the show.

Amateur Best Newby

The judges were so impressed by several art entries in this division they awarded three awards instead of one. Tami Schmickle, Raul Acosta and Diane Davis received the Best Newby Awards.

Tami Schmickle’s photograph, Teton at Dawn (12x24 matted and framed) is a celebration of the spirit of morning. Photographed at 4:30 a.m. in early fall, the photograph was taken at Grand Teton National Park at Oxbow Bend. With her use of lighting and playing on colors against each other, she captures a special moment in time — a mood, a unique energy — and shares it through her photograph.

“The photograph appears to have a painted quality,” remarked judge Linda Echterhoff. Schmickle is a nuclear medical technician at Mercy Hospital, in Durango. Her husband, Guy Schmickle, is known in the area for his exceptional landscape photography. This was the first time she entered an art show. Schmickle has one other photograph in the show.

Raul Acosta was awarded for his pastel, “Midnight Bear.” He has utilized many layers of pastel and masterful use of color to create depth and texture for the drawing. Acosta was born in Oklahoma as a member of the Kiowa Apache tribe. He moved to Pagosa Springs in November 2009 with his family. He was always artistically inclined and attended such pre-college programs as Quartz Mountain Summer Arts Institute for drawing and Rhode Island School of Design for Illustration. After graduating high school he attended Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. Acosta has been primarily a stone sculptor in the past but has branched out into the 2-d mediums as well. He hopes to make the most of his abilities to create and express something to the public through his art. Acosta will show more of his work including pastel and sculpture at Artisans of the Southwest Best Newby Show mid April.

Diane Davis is recently re-emerging back into an art focus and with a new medium , felting. Felting has a wonderful tactile component and has a great potential for expressing images in a watercolor-like manner. Both wet and dry needle felting techniques were used on her piece, “Sunset’s Snow Dusting the Dunes,” and color shifts were achieved by blending various colors of roving together and layering them in the felting process.

“I have been away from actively focusing on art for many years while teaching at Purdue and Valparaiso universities, then working for a CAD software company in Pennsylvania, and most recently doing kitchen and bath design here in Pagosa Springs,” states Davis. Davis received B.A. and M.A. degrees from Purdue University in metalsmithing, and working on sculpture and jewelry. During the time between degrees, she spent a year as an apprentice at the Johnson Atelier, a foundry for casting artists’ work. “It feels great to be back into an art focus, especially at a stage in my life when I can be more playful with the work, says Davis.

The CAS continues through March 13.

People’s Choice Award

Visitors to the exhibit have an opportunity to cast their vote for People’s Choice Award ($100). The award is selected by patrons voting during the show opening night and visiting the gallery through March 1. The award will be announced at the gallery on March 2 at a reception from 4 to 6 p.m. To help with Chile Earthquake relief, the gallery will offer wine specials from Chile with a portion of each wine purchase donated to the relief fund during the reception. Artisans of the Southwest Gallery is located at 175 Pagosa Street in Aspen Grove Plaza (in the Farrago’s Cafe Building). Spring hours are daily, noon-5:30 p.m. (closed Sunday and Wednesday), or visit For more information about the Community Artists Show, call Wen Saunders, at 264-9969.