CLARION — The Clarion County Arts Council (CCAC) staged their annual Autumn Leaf Festival Art Show last week (Saturday, Sept. 28 – Sunday, Oct. 6), putting 35 pieces submitted by approximately 25 professional and amateur artists on public display at the Main Street Center downtown.
Said Taylor Banner, CCAC vice president, “The purpose of this art show is to showcase the artists in our community. We have a lot people that come here, either used to live here or from the region that visit during this time. I think what a lot of artists like about this art show is that it’s a time when you know your work is going to be seen by a lot of people.”
Many of the artists, most local to the area, attended a reception on the opening Saturday when awards were presented by the show’s guest judge, Kyle Yates. Yates, a pastor and professional photographer from Brookville, has earned more than 260 awards for his work at various shows.
“We selected Kyle based on his work, he is a phenomenal photographer. We’re just really happy someone of his caliber artistically would agree to come and judge. It’s nice for the artists to have someone that’s been recognized on a local, regional, and national level view their work and give some feedback,” commented Banner.
The award for Best in Show went to Jason Floyd Lewis’s graphite line drawing of Tom’s Run in Cook Forest, “A Lovely Place to Be.” Discussing his inspiration for the work, which was created in a studio using photographic references, the Clarion artist revealed, “It’s one of several places that I go on a regular basis. So I get to know the places and I have my favorite spots. Over the experience of hiking by it a couple of times a year it’s become one of my favorite spots.”
Yates, when selecting the drawing for the top award, was struck by Lewis’s intricate, realistic pencil work on a large canvas. “Absolutely gorgeous and very, very, very well done. Definitely a master in his art,” remarked Yates.
Clarion’s Brett Whittling captured top honors in the photography category for “Chuck,” his shadowed portrait of a puppy. Explained Yates on this selection, “Studio work’s one of those that you have to know your craft when photographing a subject. One light illuminates one side of this photograph which brings up enough tension, you’re guessing where things are in the shadows. The texture of the fur between the eyes and on the nose, very well done.”
Mark Anderson’s acrylic, “Grouse with Grapes,” was chosen as the best painting. “I love the details of the wild grape bush that you have going through. There’s shadows and everything. The detail alone, the feathers and the texture are clear to the eye. A wonderfully well done painting,” Yates commented.
Describing the creation of his painting, Anderson, from Culmerville, reported, “The foreground is from a photo on my way to work. So it was along the road. Just about this time of year. And I just thought it was a good reference to have.”
Winner of the 2D media category was a digital rendering of an English bulldog. Created by Seth Banner, formerly of Clarion and now residing in Lynchburg, VA, “Gent” depicted the bulldog dressed in a shirt and vest, wearing a top hat, smoking a pipe, and sporting a tattoo of a heart inscribed with “Mom.”
“A lot of different forms of art went into the 2D media category (charcoal, pencil, printmaking). So when I looked, I went to a piece that told me a story. When I looked at the bulldog it told me a story. What drew me to it were that the eyes had a nice glazed over look of a bulldog,” said Yates.
Yates selected a wood stool created by New Bethlehem’s Katrina Carlson as the top piece in the sculpture category. Explained Yates, “I didn’t always start with photography, I started off with wood shop in high school trying to create things. I chose the bench because of how well done it is. It’s a wonderfully, beautifully created piece that I wouldn’t mind having in my house. Not to sit on, but to showcase.”
John Carbone of Clarion earned first place in the amateur division for his three-dimensional photograph, “Woman Sitting in the Natural Light of an Open Window.” Describing the piece as “very well done,” Yates commended Carbone, saying “It provoked me to look around the scene. Everything leads to the exact center, it helps my eyes move around the scene.”
Taken on a trip to Zagreb, Croatia, Carbone told the story behind his photograph. “The whole thing is real. We (Carbone and his wife) went to this building and my battery was dying and I knew I had to take the picture. So I took it. And then later, whenever I saw the picture, I realized that the light from the windows was white and the remaining items from the artificial light were golden.”
Banner is already looking forward to next year’s show, noting that because both professional and amateur work is accepted she is hoping more area artists submit their creations.