Winner's Words Special Edition: Annual Members Exhibit of 2020

October 11, 2020 9:14 PM | Ksenia Annis

Each month we invite artists who have won awards to share something about their art.  I hope you enjoy these delightful glimpses into the life of the 2020 AME Winners.  You can enjoy the full show by clicking this link.

Daniela Werneck's “The Retreat” is the First Place winner

“The Retreat” is part of a series of paintings I did of my Portuguese niece, Giovana, after a trip my family and I took last year to visit our relatives in Portugal. Influenced by the culture of my ancestors, the history of the successful Portuguese navigation and the symbolism of the swallows, I created the series. I brought a couple of dresses with me on this trip, and the pictures of Giovana were taken in just one late afternoon in a hotel located in a winery near Porto, Pt.  She wore this beautiful velvet dress and stood near a window in a hotel room  all the while talking about boys from school (she refused to wear it outside of the room)! The birds, the cage, the tiles were not part of the reference picture; the were part of my creative process. The tiles iare from a monastery in Ourem, Pt.

Liz Hill's  “Looking Back” won the Second Place

My piece “Looking Back” is  inspired by Josianne Model. Josianne is my favorite model, and unfortunately  she no longer models. It is a tribute to her African roots and her proud stature.

Hiep Nguyen with “Deserted Alley” is the Third Place winner

I painted the painting "Deserted Alley" during the Covid-19 Pandemic lockdown this year. Feeling lonely and nostalgic, I chose a photo of my old neighborhood in Vietnam to paint. As I pondered, I imagined my old alley must have been deserted . Notice that, in the painting, even though nobody was seen, the sun was still shining, flowers are still blooming, and birds are still enjoying their found meals together. Just be cheerful and hopeful!"

"Hare of the Moonless Sky" by Bonnie Woods received the Director's Award

My watercolor painting, “Hare of the Moonless Sky”, is one of a series of over 30 paintings inspired by a happy accident. For over 20 years I have loved drawing and painting the female figure. One day while attending my weekly life drawing session, I had just completed drawing the model and was attempting to fill in a background using shapes and doodles. As I continued to sketch my pencil began making a strange form on the paper. When time was called for the model to take her break, I stopped drawing. There staring back at me from the page was a big hare, complete with eyes, nose and large ears. Quite a delightful surprise. For almost three years now, as if by destiny, the hares have kept coming into my dreams and into my work. It is as if they want to be seen and tell their story. I sense the hares have come through the muse to represent a companion or guardian for the female figure. In each painting the women and the hare bring their own personality to the viewer. So many people have asked about how they happened into my work that I finally wrote a book about it entitled Women and Their Hares. The book was launched in 2019 through a local gallery in San Diego and is available through my website This series continues to be a wonderful addition to my work in watercolor, charcoal and mixed media.

Alison Hendry's “Kaash Is Watching From Winnipeg Zoo” won the President’s Award

In “normal” years we travel to Canada for the Christmas holidays to spend time with family. Winnipeg, Manitoba is always so cold I barely get out, but the Zoo draws me into the -13F type temperature to enjoy animals that actually like the cold. Kaash is one of a pair of snow leopard cubs born in the spring of 2018. His name means “expression of a wish” in Russian. I was mesmerized by their expressions and quiet beauty. As I played with my new fancy camera I caught Kaash’s eyes look directly at me and felt that “ Oh I NEED to paint this” feeling. This award thrills and warms my heart that Kaash and his very endangered species spoke to others.

Debbie Lee Parmley with “Artiginale”  received an Honorable Mention

"Artigianale" was inspired by a photo taken in Florence, Italy while on a family trip. It was far from a perfect photo, but I liked the moment in time it captured – a quiet morning at the local café. I changed the perspective to present it from a forward view. The extremely detailed background had shelving, cabinets, doors and signs, so I made this area more suggestive, using square strokes that are repeated throughout the painting. This created a soft background so that my figures became a stronger focal point. Lastly I extended the gold wall from the top right across and down to the bottom of the painting to unify the space. Capturing the gesture of the people enjoying their coffee, and the window that separated us by painting the store sign finished the piece.

Jan McNeill's “Merida Memory” received an Honorable Mention

My painting "Merida Memory" is from a photo I took at a restaurant in Merida Mexico. It brings back lots of special happy memories of attending my first Mexican wedding! My son and daughter-in-law were also there as were many of my son's friends that I know.

I painted a small version before tackling a larger version for entry into the AME. I love to paint on hot press paper with round brushes as I find it works best for me.

Les McDonald, “Shopping In San Jose” - Merchant Award winner

While traveling to Mexico’s Baja Peninsula in 2003, Les took many photos on their vacation. San Jose Del Cabo was a highlight of their visit. The city had many wonderful, colorful sites to enjoy and photograph. The painting “Shopping in San Jose” depicts one of the many vibrant shops in the downtown area. Les was motivated and challenged by the detail of the subject matter. He enjoyed painting this quaint store with the many bright textures and colors. The artist is honored to be accepted in the Membership Show for WAS-H and especially excited to have won an award with this painting.

Trish Poupard, “Huntington Cactus” - Merchant Award winner

I am so honored to have my painting, “Huntington Cactus” win an award by juror Don Andrews.

My inspiration came from my love affair with the cactus in bloom at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA.  I am a photo realist and a transparent purist, so my only hope was to do my muse justice with pigment, water and paper.  Thanks so much for your kind words and insightful critique Don.

Cleo Ceeney, “Happy Hour With Bella” - Merchant Award winner

Whilst enjoying a weekend away at the Galvez Hotel in Galveston, a lady came and sat beside us and ordered a Tequila Sunrise, (pre-Covid days) and started chatting!  Her cocktail matched her colorful bikini and she fascinated me with her vibrancy and extrovert personality, I asked if I could take her photo to paint her, and she was delighted  And I couldn't wait to put  brush to paper and use my happiest tropical colors and bring out the fun of her!! She was such an inspiration.

Annika Farmer, “Natasha Looking for Boris” - Merchant Award winner

“Natasha Looking For Boris” was painted as part of a series I am painting during this Covid 19 social distancing period. These paintings are all based on photos I have taken during recent vacations.

When I saw this sweet Russian lady trying to sell some of her hand embroidered work in the middle of a crowd of people, she caught my attention because she had the kindest, most beautiful smile. I just knew I had to take some photos of her, and the painting “Natasha Looking For Boris” is the result.

Arlene Edmundson, “Weird Flowers” - Merchant Award winner

Weird Flowers was inspired by the feeling of the Unfamiliar rising in myself, during the epidemic. In these unusual times everything seems strange, or weird, as if you’re looking at your world from the standpoint of a foreigner.

I began my painting by just letting the paint free flow. I love the thing pigments do when left alone and being allowed to mix as they seem fit. Pthalo blue and Burnt Sienna we’re the two colors I focused on...just letting them do their thing...also adding salt for additional texture. Afterwards, I playfully defined the major shapes and deliberately put some Ink and ink-pen in the form of line and leaves.  Geometric Collage snippets were used lastly. I wanted some hard edges to contrast against the softness of the free flow...

The “Mass” at the lower right bottom symbolizes a mass of “Everything” or “All” from which the flowers rise. Once again, referencing a “new world” or new situation.

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