Judging Statement and Award Comments
Andrew McDermott: IAPS/MC, SFCA, MPAC, PSWC

Firstly, congratulations both to all the award winners and to all of you that entered and put yourself out there. My wish is that you all pursue a high level of work and to continue to create wonderful pastel paintings. Always very heart wrenching to cut good pastel works out of the winning circle, it can be a tough decision, wish there were more awards and if there’s any consolation you all got a thumbs up from me. What a wide range of techniques and subjects, wonderful to see such a variety of pastel paintings. What sets apart an award winner? It’s that extra decision that enhances a work, by making well placed marks, whether subdued quiet areas or high key areas of interest. Even experienced artists realize there’s always the next step and that’s the beauty. Keep on creating and remember: "It is better to paint for one minute a day than to think about it for 24 hours a day; one learns more in that one minute of painting than in thinking about it for 24 hours."

Andrew McDermott: IAPS/MC, SFCA, MPAC, PSWC
Dakota 4th Quarter 2022 Competition Judge



TaiMeng Lim
Connected Aloneness
Daniel Keys
Summer Roses Glow
Shawn Dell Joyce
Racing the Storm
Tony Allain
The Potato Field
Honorable Mention
Jeri Greenberg
Hiding in Plain Sight
Honorable Mention
Julie Freeman
Rolling in the Deep
Honorable Mention
Sarah Blumenschein
Sunflowers and Peppers... again
Honorable Mention
Tom Christopher
Winter Waterway
Honorable Mention
Yael Maimon
Salmon Recipe
Honorable Mention
Aline Ordman
Cambridge Street
Honorable Mention
Aaron Schuerr
January Reflections
Honorable Mention
Claudia Seymour
Robin's Egg

1st Place Established:
This pastel painting was a wow factor for me, there are so many great things going on here. The edge lighting is fantastic, from the hard-edge cast shadows to the softer lights in the background. Look at the less saturated color in the red coat and then the zap of vibrant red on the edge of the shoulder. Beautifully executed technique from the broader pastel strokes on the ground to the more subtly pastel strokes in the figure. Excellent composition that guides the viewer around the composition; truly a great pastel painting.

2nd Place Established:
Love the feeling of this pastel, was thinking objectively on this piece as far as the subject matter, flowers not really my favorite images to paint, however gotta say seeing this pastel made me love them a little more. I especially enjoyed how the flowers are created, the subtle color shifts from the petals to the background and the salmon and violet colors scattered throughout. Excellent pastel application and use of color, composition, edges, lighting etc. 

3rd Place Established:
Great image of a tropical or southern landscape, loved the controlled color palette of cools and warms of the sky. Like the silhouette of the foreground with the subtle shifts of values and details. The large cloud was a strong design shape along with a dramatic soft edge out from below. 

4th Place Established:
This pastel piece really shows us what we can leave out of our work. The lovely bold brush strokes, the lines and simple dots are great painting elements to create strong mark making.  A free and spontaneous semi abstract, yet just enough to see what’s going on. Love the majority warm colors with the infusion of a few cool color strokes. An Energetic and dynamic pastel painting. 




Barbara Wise
Rainy Night at the Red Hawk
Carol Holland
Adrian Soegandi
Snow Aftermath
Lisa Barnett
Honorable Mention
Jeanne Angus
Work Day is Done
Honorable Mention
Patti Arbino
Honorable Mention
Mike Ishikawa
Sunset in the Pink
Honorable Mention
Shannon O'Dunn
Cottonwood Alley
Honorable Mention
Jan Prisco
San Carlos Afternoon
Honorable Mention
Patricia Prendergast
Last Glow
Honorable Mention
Eric Pohl
Canyon Lake Sunset
Honorable Mention
Sarah Rose

1st Place Emerging:
Enjoyed this café scene, the overall soft feeling, even with the hard edges it still has a soft edge feel. Love the gestures of the figures and how they interact with each other. This piece made me look all over the scene, intrigued with the details from the items on the table to the old guy with the umbrella in the window. Good interplay of warm and minor hints of cools along with successful values. 

2nd Place Emerging:
Loved this pastel painting for all the geometric shapes from the structures to the shadows and detail areas; almost a Hopper feeling. Larger shapes of the structures and large cast shadows, to the smaller shapes in the chimneys and windows - I love how they form the overall design. Enjoyed both the lights and cast shadows of the structures, especially the colors in the shadows. Good design and application of pastel even the rocks are rendered in a non-overworked manner. 

3rd Place Emerging:
What a warm painting for a cool snowy day, love the different colors in the snow and the painting overall. Great feeling of distance and depth using the road with the snowbanks and the wire on the poles. Good use of cool shadows and subtle warm gray tones for the houses and cars, what a little gem.

4th Place Emerging:
What a well-done portrait, very traditional technique that works very well. Both the drawing proportions and pastel application is bang on, good contrast from the loose background and the more controlled pastel work of the face. Notice the shadows and light and how the light is attracted to the cast shadows. Good color choices and pastel application in this pastel painting.


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 Bonnie Maresh - keep painting!

Ready for pickin'!