Naperville Art League names public art show winners

  • Julie Kline, Best of Show winner for "Side by Side."

    Julie Kline, Best of Show winner for "Side by Side." Courtesy of Naperville Art League

 
Submitted by Naperville Art League
Updated 5/11/2020 9:34 AM

The Naperville Art League recently announced the winners of its annual public art competition. The "Juxtapose" show remains online until May 15 and many pieces are available for sale through the art league.

The top winners were invited to comment on their work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• Best of Show winner Julie Kline is a lifelong artist who graduated from the Art Institute of Boston as an illustrator. Now retired, she is primarily a watercolorist who meets for fun with a small group of friends and coaches them in watercolor techniques. "How interesting that I am a watercolorist and I won for my pen and ink drawing titled 'Side by Side'," she commented. Kline has been a Naperville Art League member for 12 years. She recently published a children's book titled "Mouse Searches for a House." "It's about a zoo. I wanted my grandchildren to have a book written and illustrated by their grandma. They love animals and love to go to the zoo," Kline said. The book is available through the Naperville Art League.

Best of Show winner Julie Kline has been doing a daily journal during the pandemic.
Best of Show winner Julie Kline has been doing a daily journal during the pandemic. - Courtesy of Naperville Art League

When asked what she is doing during this stay-at-home order, she showed her COVID-19 journal in which she writes and draws just about every day. "Journaling is a good way to keep up one's art skills and," she continued, "it will be a memory for my family." Kline commented how seemingly mundane things have taken on more value in the last month. As she draws, little things become more evident and interesting. The detailed pattern on her lawn furniture and a goose sitting on a nearby nest are among her journal sketches.

Sheri Butler with her Award of Excellence winner titled "Gemini."
Sheri Butler with her Award of Excellence winner titled "Gemini." - Courtesy of Naperville Art League
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• Sheri Butler, Award of Excellence winner, is a self-taught artist who has been a Naperville Art League member for over a decade. "I like to push the envelope and pursue my own interests," Butler said. She has found, for herself, that taking formal classes can trap her creativity. She enjoys entering competitions and "Gemini" was painted specifically for this contest. It provides a view of humans as one model but with differences. The viewer sees the subjects are similarly posed but the subtle differences and faintly written messages cause one to ponder. Butler's goal in her art is to impact lives and change them for the better. By creating art, she hopes to make the world a better place.

Butler has made the best of the COVID-19 situation as evidenced by her handmade animal face mask. She made a similar one for her husband. Her creativity brings a smile to many.

Award of Excellence winner Sheri Butler shows off her handmade face mask.
Award of Excellence winner Sheri Butler shows off her handmade face mask. - Courtesy of Naperville Art League

More than half of the participating competition artists, including three of the top winners, consider themselves amateurs.

"Art uplifts, no matter what skill level," said Naperville Art League president Sally Sharp. "We all have a creative aspect to who we are. It may be found in technology, dance, architecture, music, visual arts, engineering or elsewhere."

Janet Pearson-Strack's artwork titled "4 Quarter Time" won an Award of Excellence.
Janet Pearson-Strack's artwork titled "4 Quarter Time" won an Award of Excellence. - Courtesy of Naperville Art League
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• Janet Pearson-Strack, who won an Award of Excellence, was inspired by stained glass windows with the glass showing the world's colors in a new way. She salutes the connection of visual art and the art of music, calling her piece "4 Quarter Time."

• Emily Rachel Peto, Award of Excellence winner in the Student category, is a high school sophomore with ambitions to become a doctor. Her winning piece, "Persephone and Hades" came to mind after reading mythology. The characters oppose each other, fitting well with the contest's theme "Juxtapose." She has had an interest in art since she was young, but it was a middle school art teacher who saw her talent and encouraged her. The Naperville Art League instructor Penny Coffman keeps students motivated, and encouraged Peto to enter the contest. Peto recognizes the value of art especially when she is stressed. With the many choices students face, she finds art therapeutic. When she reaches her goal of being a doctor, she plans to still have art as a serious hobby.

Emily Rachel Peto won Award of Excellence -- Student Category for "Persephone and Hades."
Emily Rachel Peto won Award of Excellence -- Student Category for "Persephone and Hades." - Courtesy of Naperville Art League

Peto is spending much of her time recently taking her high school classes online which she finds a challenging way to do AP Psychology and Honors Physics. With art as her release, she is focusing on sketching to improve her portrait drawing skills.

Twelve honorable mention awards also were presented. The show was judged by Hollis Levine whose professional affiliations have included the St. Charles Arts Council, Arts Alliance of Illinois, Northwest Area Arts Council, and Oil Pastel Society.

The community participated in selection of one winner: People's Choice went to Maria Lombardi's "Quilt No. 3," an intricate representation of the craft of quilting using magazine clippings and hand-drawn ink patterns.

Faced with having to put the show online because its gallery was closed due to the coronavirus, Naperville Art League leaders came up with the idea of having Facebook viewers vote for their favorite.

"Quilt #3" by Maria Lombardi is the People's Choice winner.
"Quilt #3" by Maria Lombardi is the People's Choice winner. - Courtesy of Naperville Art League

Lombardi's piece took the number one spot by a significant margin.

"A big thank you to the online voters and Facebook friends for their enthusiastic participation in our virtual gallery," said league president Sally Sharp. "All 50 participants felt the love!"

For questions on purchasing an artwork, contact naperartleague@aol.com.

The art league offers a variety of art classes for all ages and skill levels at its Naperville Fine Art Center & Gallery at Fifth Avenue and Center Street. Check out the website, www.napervilleartleague.com, for summer classes and camps as well as online education.

The next gallery show will be a Naperville Art League member exhibit with two themes: "Chaotic" or "Calm."

This 501(c)3 nonprofit volunteer organization has approximately 200 members who are artists, art enthusiasts and art collectors. The art league founded and hosts the annual Riverwalk Fine Art Fair, held downtown Naperville by the Riverwalk in September each year. This, the 35th year of the juried fair, will again feature about 130 nationally and internationally recognized artists.

Follow www.facebook.com/NapervilleArtLeagueAndGallery/. Tax-deductible donations to support the work of Naperville Art League are appreciated.

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