Challenges 2022

April Challenge – Spring Fever – Juror Kate McConnell

Spring is invigorating in many ways and the wonderful submissions reflected an aspect of this promising season.
For first place
Rosa Vera’s piece
Not only does the plethora of hues suggest the overwhelming sense of the spring ’s activity, it’s unique composition coupled with the painterly quality of marks, makes this an impressionable painting , a forest of spring.
Second:, Martin Rundle’s “Spring Break / Fever” photograph.
The composition and light is in prefect balance in this wide view. The unpredictable nuance of Spring is captured in this image, a necessary quality to Spring … when one is in short sleeves one day to only be in a snow squall the following day. When the balance of season’s is on the tip of one’s fingers… beckoning to stay.
And – Anne Stine’s “Family Tree”.
Anne’s incentive to paint this piece is symbolic for many of us who reside in Washington DC, the arrival of the Cherry Blossoms and their countdown is a rite of passage, marking the arrival of Spring.


March Challenge Great Women Artists — Juror Jane Mann

Thanks to everyone for the wonderful entries making judging its own challenge. I appreciated the fact that not only world-famous artists were named but also women who are currently spreading the joy of making art. It also gave me the opportunity to discover new artists I may not have yet become familiar with. Elin Whitney-Smith’s story was probably familiar to many of us. We can remember that moment when our work was first recognized and praised. Sadly many people have been discouraged by the criticism or lack of interest of teachers or peers.
Here are my selections:
Challenge Winner: Kate McConnell, Mary Oliver Meets Rachel Carson. These two women have made their names synonymous with the love of and study of nature. The dynamic brushwork immediately made me think of the fraught meeting between humans and nature but could also show the positive energy that nature can inspire.
Honorable Mention: Martin Rundle, Joan Mitchell in Conversation with Donald Judd. I loved the juxtaposition of Mitchell’s colorful, passionate style framed by the very cerebral style of Judd. And the reflection and the title!
Elin Whitney-Smith: Sun, Moon and Stars. The movement, details, vibrant colors, diagonal composition and our one tiny ancestor captured the newly created earth for me.


February Challenge: I Have a Dream — Juror Elin Whitney-Smith

The art was wonderful and diverse for the “I Have a Dream” challenge. After I made my choices, I realized that I too must be missing travel since two of the selections reference travel. My dream is that we all can again feel safe to travel, hug, eat together, go to art shows, receptions, and museums, visit one another freely, learn and grow.
For best in show
Jane Mann’s “The Traveler’s Dream” For me it evoked the feeling of a dream that is just out of reach. The purple and red give the work a mournful quality which contrasts with the gold of hope and, if you will, salvation.
She writes:
“This photomontage was created during the first COVID shutdown when travel to wonderful places like Cordoba was banned.”
For honorable mention
“Dream Landscape“, encaustic on wood panel by Anne Stine. The colors and textures and especially the little bubbles and golden foreground give this work its’ dreamlike quality. It makes me want to sail into it.
“MLK Memorial” by Julie Byrne. This work shows the child arrested in his walk by the sight of the sculpture though his mother seems to want him to move on. Mothers dream great dreams for their children. King’s short and heroic life make him a difficult role model for a child. We want our children to be heroes, but we also want them to be safe. The composition, the use of black and white, and the sculpture itself present a possibly disturbing dream.


January Challenge: Weather or Not — Juror Ken Bachman

“There were many excellent and enjoyable entries this month so choosing winners was quite difficult, but these stood out for me:
First Place: Elin Whitney-Smith for Fog on the Marsh (and 4pm Maine)
Second Place: Nan Rafael for Convergence (and Kentucky Avenue)
Honorable Mentions:
Jane Mann for Winter Garden
Hernan Murno for Storm on the Water
All of these works demonstrated artistic excellence in composition fulfilling the theme and in execution. Congratulations all.”