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Local winners reap their rewards at 2019 IMAGE Art Show - MessAge Media: Features

Local winners reap their rewards at 2019 IMAGE Art Show

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Posted: Saturday, June 8, 2019 1:32 pm

At the 32nd Annual IMAGE Art Show, several artists from the Mille Lacs Area received accolades for their work. The show opened Saturday, April 27 in Braham, Minn., and ran through Saturday, May 4. This show featured 164 artists from across a five county region.

Winners included two Judges Choice Awards ($500 each), 10 Excellence Awards ($200), 10 Merit Awards ($150) as well as People Choice and Purchase Awards. Representing the Mille Lacs area, Christina Thurston and Cheryl White, both of Onamia, received an Excellence and Merit Award, respectively, and Diana Sill of Isle was the recipient of a Purchase Award.

Christina Thurston
Christina Thurston

Christina Thurston

Christina Thurston of Onamia received one of ten Excellence Awards for her watercolor piece, “Good Morning.” Explaining the painting, Thurston said that it was not meant to be a portrait of any specific landscape. Rather, it was meant to capture a portrait of the quality of a landscape’s light.

Thurston traced her career as an artist back to when she was young. “When I was little, I used to draw on the walls and get in trouble. Now that I’m older, I get paid for it,” she said.

Thurston has professionally painted since her 20s across a wide variety of different styles, including mural painting, faux finish and watercolors. She has also done work as an educator in all manners of drawing. Now that she is retired, she said, teaching has become as important to her as doing her own art. For about a decade, Thurston has also worked with pottery.

Thurston intends to continue participating in the IMAGE Art Show. Last year, she offered a class on watercolor painting at the Someday Isle store on Isle Main Street. She said more classes like this using any number of media could be a possibility in the near future.

Her work with pottery is available both at Someday Isle and the Isle Farmers Market, held Saturday mornings near Johnson’s Portside.

Cheryl White
Cheryl White

 Cheryl White

For her traditional Ojibwe pipe bag, made with hand-tanned buckskin, velvet and cut glass beads, Cheryl White of Onamia received one of 10 Merit Awards. She noted that she had started the bag four or five years ago. The bag was meant as a birthday gift for her husband. “I wanted to make him a beautiful bag to keep his pipe safe,” she said. As she would like to be submitting a piece to the IMAGE Art Show each year, the arrival of this year’s show inspired her to finish it.

The woodsmoke scent of the bag’s hand-tanned leather, White said, brought her back to her youth. She noted that from a design standpoint, the bag is reminiscent of the traditional beadwork she grew up with.

White said that traditional art has played a role throughout her life, having learned simple bead chains back when she was eight years old. White originally came from the Lac Courte Oreilles Band, growing up in the Iron Range. She first came to the Mille Lacs area at 23.

White has found a new commitment to her art in the last six or so years. Around 2014, she fell seriously ill, needing a year to recover. Over the course of this period, she gave some thought to what she wanted to do with her life. “They say ‘Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life,’” she explained. “... I decided I’m going to define what I want to do.”

Last year, she entered a piece of ash wood burned with beadwork designs, a piece she designed for local Izatys chef Brian Neiman. With this year’s pipe bag, she’s continued her goal of having a piece to submit every year.

“The point I’ve learned is just keep moving forward,” White said. “You never know what’s going to come your way.”

Diana Sill

 Diana Sill

For her acrylic painting on wrapped canvas, entitled “Honoring Officer Gomm,” Diana Sill of Isle was one of five artists to be honored with a Purchase Award. The painting has now been added to the East Central Regional Arts Council’s permanent collection.

Sill originally comes from Bruno, Minn., but she has been living in the Isle community for about six years. This year was her first entering the IMAGE Art Show, but she has been doing art since she was kid. Living on a farm, she explained, she had lots of time on her hands, and her art proved a means to fill that time.

Sill primarily works with acrylic, stating they were an affordable medium to work with. She loved to paint a wide variety of subject matter, whether it be portraits, landscapes or caricatures.

Sill said she plans to enter the IMAGE Art Show next year. When it comes aspiring artists, she had the following advice: “Never give up, absolutely never give up.”

Those interested in seeing more of Sill’s work can visit her Facebook page: The Bold North Artist (tinyurl.com/y2wz8r2g).

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