The annual Edge of the Cedars Art Exhibit and Sale concluded its largest event ever last weekend with 88 artists displaying at least 263 individual works of art, organizers told the DCI.
The show, hosted by the local Zeta Omicron chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha Sorority, marked its 44th consecutive successful year. Artists were awarded cash and gift certificates from 18 local sponsors.
The best of show award went to local artist Marty Rathburn. He entered a commissioned work showing a Japanese geisha in traditional costume. She stands in a garden setting by a lake and near an arched bridge that leads to a pagoda.
Art show judge Sandy King of Palisade remarked that the artistic and technical excellence of Rathburn's work were what drew her attention. "The brush strokes are exquisite," she said. She also remarked on balance in the piece which sets a stately pagoda building sitting above the garden scene against the almost subliminal focal point of the painting -- the delicate and serene expression on the geisha's face. The work is titled "Lost in Thought."
"I've been painting for 30 years," Rathburn said, adding that "Lost in Thought" was commissioned by a military veteran who had spent time in Japan. Though this was his first best of show honor, Rathburn's work is very popular. His paintings, including works of Native and Western American themes, have won the people's choice honor at Edge of the Cedars five of the last nine years.
King, whose own large, exuberant canvases are characterized by bold and vibrant color, said that she also liked the abundant cherry blossom coloration in the garden setting of Rathburn's painting.
"Art is life, regardless of the medium," King said during the awards presentation ceremony.
King recounted how she started painting at her living room coffee table with a $1.49 set of paints. "You are always going to do it better. That is what carried me through" in the beginning, she said.
"I discovered art in mid life, and the best advice that I can give an artist just starting out is to be brave," she said.
In addition to the big number of entries in the show this year, the works were of exceptionally high quality, gallery visitors noted.
The two winners of Zeta Omicron chapter's annual scholarships, CHS graduates Angela Laurence and Claire Camp, were present at the show with art works of their own on display. Laurence plans to pursue an elementary education certificate at Delta-Montrose Technical College and then study art and calligraphy at Colorado Mesa University. Camp said she is going to study graphic design and marketing at Utah State University, Logan.