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WELCOME
TO THE
BEST IN SHOW
EVENT
2023!!


This special event has been established to honour and showcase the "Best In Show" winners from 2022.  
Each artist was invited to enter two new artworks which are eligible to win one of three Diamond Awards of Excellence.

The "Best In Show" winning artworks are shown below in chronological order,
along with the respective artist's two new artworks, biography and statement.

Thank you to these ten exceptional artists for sharing their talent and artistic vision!

Enjoy the show!


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DAWN KOWALEWSKI
FLOWER and STILL LIFE
JANUARY- FEBRUARY 2022
BEST IN SHOW
"Thirst"
Photography

"Fierce"
Macro-digital photography


"Vintage Memories"
Macro-digital photography


BIOGRAPHY

Dawn Kowalewski is a native Oregonian.  Her photographic journey began 14 years ago when she was handed a camera at a wedding.  Dawn found drive and passion in photography.  She immediately joined a local photography association (OPPA), served three years on the board of directors, participated in numerous print competitions and workshops, acted as a mentor and took every opportunity to absorb photography and educate herself.   Due to progressive hearing loss, she took a step back from the association and her portrait business.  Dawn retreated into creating her own world, constructing still-life and captures in macro, street and intentional camera movement (ICM) photography. She made her way back into the hearing world after bilateral cochlear implant surgery and no longer fears participation despite certain challenges.  Dawn's first show was exhibited at Leica Store Bellevue in August 2022; she did an artist talk and took photographers on a macro photo-walk.


ARTIST STATEMENT

"Being near deaf for so many years, I rely heavily on vision.  I use photography to hear the world by use of vibrant colors to invoke feeling and impact or use purposeful motion.  Macro and motion photography creates a world that is often unnoticed and yet magical.  It’s easy to pass by something and not see its true surface and heart.  I aim to create images that fascinate and provoke imagination. My macro work requires patience and experimentation, which can be composed of dozens of images focus-stacked to achieve elusive sharpness in close-up photography.  I utilize intentional camera movement and multiple exposures to create abstracts that have meaning, memory or express time. This type of piece is immersive and exciting to work on because it shows a creative expression by enhancing the mystery of its contents.  It is my ultimate sense of joy to find the surprises in subjects."

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KERI FISHER
PASTEL and COLOURED PENCIL
MARCH 2022
BEST IN SHOW
"Intent"
Pastel

"The Lioness"
Pastel


"Santa Fe Island"
Acrylic


BIOGRAPHY

Keri Fisher is a realism artist who resides near Ottawa, Ontario. Born and raised in the expansive plains of southwest Saskatchewan, at a young age she took a great interest in science, art and nature, often dreaming of being able to see the wildlife she only read about in books. In 2013, she picked up wildlife photography as a hobby, which soon expanded into her travels. She was able to photograph wildlife all over the world, which serves as inspiration for her work. Working with pastel and acrylic paint, her passion is to convey the connection she has experienced with the subject animal to the viewer. Fisher’s artwork has been accepted into juried exhibitions of the Society of Canadian Artists, Pastel Artists of Canada and the International Guild of Realism. She was honoured to receive the award for “Best Wildlife and Animal” category for the IGOR 2021 Spring Salon Exhibition.


ARTIST STATEMENT

"All too often people get caught up in their own lives and forget about the natural world we live in.  I paint with pastel, coloured pencil and acrylic paint to capture the emotions and complete sense of awe I experience when connecting with wildlife.  My goal is to express and share that brief encounter which moved me so profoundly.  Highlighting the beauty of each animal I paint, from the incredibly intimidating massive rhino to the commonly overlooked backyard squirrel, reminds us to look around at the nature that surrounds us."

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LIANE BEDARD
ANYTHING
MARCH 2022
BEST IN SHOW
"Tea With Sugar"
Transparent watercolour

"Grapes And Fringe"
Watercolour


"Early Golden Plums"
Watercolour


BIOGRAPHY

Born in Montreal, Liane Bedard now lives and works in her home studio in Mississauga, Ontario.  After completing her studies in Fine Arts at CEGEP John Abbott College and University of Calgary, she has made a career as a graphic artist, while continuing to paint and exhibit her work.  With a preference for the play of light and shadow, she works with transparent watercolour layered over detailed drawing to create clean and luminous works on paper.  She is an elected member of many art organizations and is represented by AGH Art Sales + Services in Hamilton and Summer & Grace Gallery in Oakville.


ARTIST STATEMENT

"I have long had a love affair with transparent watercolour. The magic of building up colour while maintaining luminosity thrills me and this slow, layering process, combined with detailed drawing is my meditation. I am interested in exploring the play of light and shadow and the patterns it creates in everyday life. By focusing on the capture of the transient sunshine, particularly in early morning or late afternoon, compelling compositions are found and I am inspired to pay tribute to the fleeting moments we all see but pass us by so quickly."

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LANCE BUKOVE
ABSTRACT
MAY 2022
BEST IN SHOW
"Dancing Colours #2"
Watercolour, ink, coloured pencil

"Eagle Nebula #3"
Watercolour, ink, coloured pencil


"Ebb And Flow"
Watercolour, ink, coloured pencil


BIOGRAPHY

Lance was born in New Mexico and spent the first half of his life there.  He loved to draw from an early age and his parents were very encouraging.  They signed him up for art lessons through local art guilds in his younger years.  He took art classes all the way through high school and took 2 years of art at UNM after graduating.  During this time he entered numerous National and International art competitions often taking top awards in his division.  In his early, professional career he focused mostly on transportation art and his work hangs in most of the major railroad corporate headquarters in the United States. All the while, on the side from doing the art that paid the bills, he began experimenting with other media, subject matter and techniques.  He has gone from his early days of working exclusively in graphite to using watercolor, ink and colored pencil to create his current bold pieces.  He has work in private and corporate collections around the world. When asked if he was going to retire in the next few years he has remarked "they will probably find a pencil in my hand and a sketchbook on my lap when God finally calls me home".


ARTIST STATEMENT

"I have always been an artist and will be until I move on from this life.  My first passion was realism but over the years this has evolved into an interest for work with a more abstract feeling.  While I love the look a photo-realistic drawing can convey, I also appreciate the free-spirit aspect of abstract/surreal art.  The first is more intensive and the latter far more relaxed.  Both show the two sides of my personality; regimented but with whimsy.  I have found in these later years that the abstract side has become more prevalent and with the world today we all can use less stressful endeavors, especially when it comes to your passion.  I am so grateful and lucky that I have been given this gift to be able to express my thoughts and feelings through visual means."

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DARLENE HARTUNG
ALIVE
JUNE 2022
BEST IN SHOW
"Dexter"
Coloured pencil

"Demi"
Coloured pencil


"New Riverhead"
Graphite


BIOGRAPHY

As an artist-for-hire, Darlene creates lasting memories from photos.  Her style is hyper-realism and she uses pencil to bring as much detail as possible out of an image.  Since opening her studio at the Williams Mill Creative Arts Center in 2019, Darlene has had success in a number of international art competitions.  In 2022 she was a Finalist in the ArtComp22 exhibition in London, Canada, she had work in the Artbox World event in Zurich, Switzerland and she won an Award of Merit, the Sapphire Award and Best In Show Award in juried exhibitions from the international Gallery Ring.  In 2020 she won the People's Choice Award in an exhibition by Overzealous in Toronto, Canada. Darlene’s work is on permanent display at Grand River Hospital in Kitchener, Homewood Hospital in Guelph, Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto and the Sunlife Head office in Waterloo.


ARTIST STATEMENT

"I become a part of each image as it comes to life on the page. I prefer to work with images with as much intricate detail as possible; it allows me to go further into the image and lets me stay there longer. My objective with every piece is to make it as realistic as possible, using the meticulous details to bring the images alive. It’s like reading a really good book; you just don’t want it to be finished."

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JOHN DIEPHOUSE
COLOUR
JULY 2022
BEST IN SHOW
"Drive"
Photography

"Dew On The Hudson"
Photography


"Out Of The Blue"
Photography


BIOGRAPHY

Diephouse is a primarily self-taught photographer living in Mid-Michigan.  He migrated from film to digital photography about fifteen years ago, which was a catalyst to making him more serious about the craft, as well as marking the beginning of publicly exhibiting his work.  Since retiring from a professional career about 5 years ago, he has more actively explored the technical and creative sides of this media.  He has exhibited widely and has earned recognition in local, regional and national exhibitions.  His photographs are also included in several corporate and private collections.


ARTIST STATEMENT

"I am attracted to a wide variety of subjects ranging from natural landscapes, botanicals and wildlife to images that provide either abstract expression or social commentary. I am interested in sharing images that evoke a story of some kind. Images may be simply documentary, reflect a sense of time and place or resonate on a more abstract level of color, shape or form. Others provoke an indefinable question that does not readily yield answers without further study and reflection. Most often I am drawn back to images created while wandering through the back roads and small towns of the upper Midwest. These images of architecture, commerce and social life often reflect a mixture of nostalgia and a changing set of forces that shape life in the heartlands."

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PENNY WOODWORTH
NATURE
AUGUST 2022
BEST IN SHOW
"African Painted Dogs"
Pastel

"In The Shadows"
Pastel


"Iris In The Rain"
Pastel


BIOGRAPHY

Penny was born and still lives on the west coast of Canada; a wild, beautiful, inspiring part of the world.   Post retirement, some five years ago, she began to follow up on her interest in art, which although mostly dormant, had always been there.  Lacking any formal training or meaningful contact with other artists, Penny learned through online tutorials and art blogs.  She still considers herself a hobbyist and much of what she paints is the natural beauty surrounding her and the exotic places she has visited.


ARTIST STATEMENT

"I am a casual, self-taught artist and I paint what appeals to me.  Although I work in realism, I try to tell a story and evoke feeling in my paintings, which to me is more than a simple photograph."


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LANCE BUKOVE
OPEN
SEPTEMBER 2022
BEST IN SHOW - GOLDEN TRIO AWARD
"Otheworldly Imaginations, Starfish #1"
"Otheworldly Imaginations, Steampunk #1"
"Otheworldly Imaginations, Steampunk #2"
Watercolour, ink, coloured pencil

"Falling Water #2"
Watercolour, ink, coloured pencil


"Tai Shan #2"
Watercolour, ink, coloured pencil


BIOGRAPHY

Lance was born in New Mexico and spent the first half of his life there.  He loved to draw from an early age and his parents were very encouraging.  They signed him up for art lessons through local art guilds in his younger years.  He took art classes all the way through high school and took 2 years of art at UNM after graduating.  During this time he entered numerous National and International art competitions often taking top awards in his division.  In his early, professional career he focused mostly on transportation art and his work hangs in most of the major railroad corporate headquarters in the United States. All the while, on the side from doing the art that paid the bills, he began experimenting with other media, subject matter and techniques.  He has gone from his early days of working exclusively in graphite to using watercolor, ink and colored pencil to create his current bold pieces.  He has work in private and corporate collections around the world. When asked if he was going to retire in the next few years he has remarked "they will probably find a pencil in my hand and a sketchbook on my lap when God finally calls me home".


ARTIST STATEMENT

"I have always been an artist and will be until I move on from this life.  My first passion was realism but over the years this has evolved into an interest for work with a more abstract feeling.  While I love the look a photo-realistic drawing can convey, I also appreciate the free-spirit aspect of abstract/surreal art.  The first is more intensive and the latter far more relaxed.  Both show the two sides of my personality; regimented but with whimsy.  I have found in these later years that the abstract side has become more prevalent and with the world today we all can use less stressful endeavors, especially when it comes to your passion.  I am so grateful and lucky that I have been given this gift to be able to express my thoughts and feelings through visual means."

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SIHUA LIU
PEOPLE
OCTOBER 2022
BEST IN SHOW
"Sister In The Maze Of Flowers"
Graphite

"Gentle Scarf"
Graphite


"Daydream"
Graphite


BIOGRAPHY

Sihua Liu lives in Hanshou County in the Hunan Province of China.  He has been practicing art for more than 20 years and has earned an MFA from Hunan Normal University.  He has participated in numerous shows including the FiKVA Awards for Painters, 16th ARC Salon Awards, American Art Awards and the National Oil and Acrylic Painters' Society.  Best In Show awards won at GOGA Gallery's Open competition and Gallery Ring's People Show are among his accolades.  He also participates in various art activities and is a member of the Portrait Society of America.  He hopes that his artworks can bring beauty and a new visual experience to the viewers.


ARTIST STATEMENT

"I remember when I was a child there was a poster of the crucifixion of Jesus hanging in my home. It had a profound impact on me. Christ bowed his head. On the left of the picture was a woman weeping and on the right was a man who pointed to Jesus. After studying art history in university, I learned that this was "Crucifixion" by the German painter Matthias Grunewald. It was engraved in my mind and I fell in love with art and fell in love with painting. When I continued to move forward with my art studies, I was diagnosed with a very serious disease and it caused me to rethink my life. I wanted to find a place for myself to live away from the suffering soul through art. Gradually, I fell in love with the art of the Pre-Raphaelites, especially the paintings of Rossetti. I aim to combine this style with modern aesthetics in my work and I hope to improve the quality of my work in the future."

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CARINA IMBROGNO
ANIMAL
NOVEMBER 2022
BEST IN SHOW
"Tony The Pug"
Pastel

"Odette The Ballet Swan"
Soft pastel


"Bobby V. And Prince"
Soft pastel


BIOGRAPHY

Carina Imbrogno is a disabled, self-taught, award-winning, inspirational artist who began making art in 2015 at the age of 40 after a near-death experience.  She was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  She is a walking miracle who has defeated death many times.  She suffers from a genetic disorder called Elhers Danlos Syndrome kyphoscoliosis type.  Due to this disease, only discovered in 2015, Carina's spine collapsed twice and she had to endure many life saving surgeries.  She has two rods and twenty six screws holding her spine in place.  She also suffers from severe learning disabilities and also suffers from a disorder affecting her memory and retention.  She has found her passion in art late in life and feels it's never too late to do what you are meant to do.  She feels she is being guided to inspire others with her miraculous story and art.


ARTIST STATEMENT

"My style of art is photorealism.  In 2019 I discovered pastel and it has become my medium of choice.  I have created over 140 works of art since 2015 and 85 of them are made with pastel.  I enjoy depicting children because of my inability to ever have them.  I also enjoy depicting people, pets, wildlife, landscapes, nature, still life images and botanical subjects.  My art is a form of therapy and a way to cope with my disabilities and limitations.  I have had my work accepted into more than 150 exhibitions and I have won over 120 awards in local and international shows.  My goal is to share my art and story with the world and to give others a sense of hope."

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LINDA MCCORD
ABSTRACT
DECEMBER 2022
BEST IN SHOW
"Tide Waves"
Acrylic

"Pathway To Nowhere"
Acrylic on canvas


"Reptile"
Acrylic on wood


BIOGRAPHY

"My art is an expression of an inner need to escape and find a place where I can go on a creative journey whether it is to become a different person, to see beauty in my surroundings or to travel to a different place. "Dreams of Nature" is about sleepwalking through land and the environment with visions of nature and all it has to offer. As we sleepwalk through these images, we discover botanical variations, water, living creatures and fantasy images. Creating art is fun and sometimes frustrating but never, never boring. I love being an artist."


ARTIST STATEMENT

"My art is an expression of an inner need to escape and find a place where I can go on a creative journey whether it is to become a different person, to see beauty in my surroundings or to travel to a different place. "Dreams of Nature" is about sleepwalking through land and the environment with visions of nature and all it has to offer. As we sleepwalk through these images, we discover botanical variations, water, living creatures and fantasy images. Creating art is fun and sometimes frustrating but never, never boring. I love being an artist."



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