Judging Statement and Award Comments
Karen Margulis PSA, IAPS/MC

It was an honor to judge this exhibition. It is always wonderful to see the versatility of our beautiful medium of pastel. The paintings were of a high caliber which made selecting the award winners especially difficult. When I judge I first look for the successful handling of the ‘nuts and bolts’ of a strong painting as I describe below.

Does the design/composition of the elements in the painting lead me through the painting? Is there an area with more clarity (the star) and other areas to add interest and support the ‘star’? Are there areas of rest along the journey through the painting? Are there interesting shapes and negative shapes? Is there an interesting visual journey for the viewer?

Is there a strong and simple map of values in the painting? Are the values cohesive? Is there an interesting arrangement of value shapes?

Color. Is there pleasing color harmony in the painting? Is there interesting use of color? Is there a balance between intense and neutral color?

In addition paintings have an emotional component. Does the painting draw me in and tell a story? Do I want to keep coming back to discover more? Sometimes a painting may not be strong in every category but has a strong emotional pull or story. Or a painting may be technical perfect yet have no emotion. Ultimately I look for art that pull me in and keep me looking.

I enjoyed this show immensely. The quality of the work was excellent and it wasn’t easy to choose the awards. I ‘d like to congratulate everyone who entered the show. As Irwin Greenberg tells us: “Prizes are nice but the real competition is with yesterday’s performance”. Keep painting with joy!

Karen Margulis PSA, IAPS/MC
Dakota 1st Quarter 2022 Competition Judge



TaiMeng Lim
A Gentleman and His Notebook
Dawn Emerson
Nancy Nowak
I Love NY
Thea Herzig
113 Currants
Honorable Mention
Oxana Babkina
Red Samba
Honorable Mention
Willo Balfrey
The Language of Fall 1
Honorable Mention
Jeri Greenberg
Needs More Spice
Honorable Mention
Albert Handell
A Winter's Moment
Honorable Mention
Daniel Keys
Still Life with Candles & Imari
Honorable Mention
Jody Martin
Poppies and Pearls
Honorable Mention
Nori Thorne
The Mariachi Singer
Honorable Mention
Tara Will
Finding Ground

First Place: TaiMeng Lim "A Gentleman and His Notebook"
Not only is this a beautifully painted portrait of a man, it has such an intriguing story that keeps me coming back. I want to know more about this notebook. The design of the painting with the man looking down and the diagonals in the background treatment pull me further into the story. I am also fascinated by the background treatment. I enjoy the contrast between the abstract marks and the clarity of the face. I want to linger and learn more about this man.

Second Place: Dawn Emerson "Silence"
The unusual format of this painting is perfect for the subject and helps support the story. I feel like the owl is flying over my head and I can feel the push of air from his wings. The color palette is wonderful and the mark making is exquisite.

Third Place: Nancy Nowak "I Love NY"
This painting pulls you into the story. I can feel the cold rain and and feel the slippery wet pavement. The artist has given us a great visual journey pulling us towards the light and beyond the the group of people in the distance. There is a lot to explore here and the artist has done a great job to keep me looking. Love the subtle ‘I love NY’ bag!

Fourth Place: Thea Herzig "113 Currants"
This painting is a visual delight. The arrangement of the fruit works so well to pull the eye around the painting. The red currants are not as obvious at first but on closer look they serve to pull the eye to each section of the painting allowing the viewer to enjoy all of the details.




Marcia Ballowe
Blackfoot River Reflections
Patricia Duren
Fire by Moonlight
Jill Maytorena
Andrew Bartos
It's a Big World
Honorable Mention
Natalia Ayas Bezuglova
Old House
Honorable Mention
Mary Daunt
Umbrella Beach, Snowy Sunset
Honorable Mention
Kim Long
Coffee and Tea Cafe
Honorable Mention
Marilyn Dwyer
Summer Sparkle
Honorable Mention
Mary Moores
Honorable Mention
Anita Plaks
On the Fence
Honorable Mention
Anu Vedagiri
Honorable Mention
Stephanie Brown
Blue Sky Day



First Place: Marcia Ballowe "Blackfoot River Reflections"
This painting has it all. It has a wonderful composition and visual journey for the viewer. The color palette works to capture a magical time of day. The light is perfect. I am also captivated by the point of view. Looking down on the river invites me to follow it as it leads us around the painting. I want to linger in this painting and the artist has given us little areas of rest that call to me to explore further.

Second Place: Patricia Duren "Fire by Moonlight"
This painting keeps me coming back. I was intrigued by the light and felt the warmth of the fire and the cold of the moonlit evening. The artist has effectively given us a mysterious story. I want to know what is going on between the man and women. My eye follows her gaze to the man and I want to know what they are thinking about. I am enjoying the visual journey and the small details that I discovered the longer I studied the painting.

Third Place: Jill Maytorena "Jardin"
This is a beautifully painted portrait with a unique point of view. I wonder about her story and it keeps me engaged. The background and paper treatment adds a very intriguing texture which add to the interest in the painting.

Fourth Place: Andrew Bartos "It’s a Big World"
I kept coming back to this seemingly simple painting of a cat. It perfectly captures the ways of a cat. The format of the painting supports the story. The artist gives us an interesting visual journey as we follow the stretching cat and the foliage shadows.


Dakota has the unique privilege of supporting artists in their artistic journey every day. The Staff Pick is an Emerging artist who has made strong choices in design, color, and composition, and is taking great strides in their use of the pastel material. This quarter we congratulate Nancy Angelini Crawford - keep painting!

Nancy Angelini Crawford
Denali Life