Two well-known local artists received the top People’s Choice Awards from the Artists of South Whidbey (ASW) at the Whidbey Island Fair Art Exhibit.
John Ursillo received $100 in prize money for his solvent-enhanced colored pencil work, "Hydrangea-Scape #2: Last Blush." Ursillo also won Best in Show and Best in Professional for the same piece.
The Second place People's Choice Award of $50 went to Ginny O’Neill for her watercolor painting "Joy of the Chase." O'Neill also won Best of Painting.
John Ursillo (www.bearcubstudio.com)
Ursillo, who began painting when he was just 11 years old, says that his entry for the Whidbey Island Fair Art Exhibit was “A major effort for me, and I’m thankful that the judges saw in it what I had hoped to convey.” He was especially pleased that one of the judges described his piece as, “Lovely, sensitive, masterful; delicious color and contrasts; sensuous; eye feast - Yum!"
Every artist has his or her own special motivations. In the case of Ursillo, “It’s all about the light! The love of light is my inspiration and informs all the subjects I choose.” His primary medium is colored pencil on a variety of surfaces using a variety of techniques. He feels he is always pushing the technical envelope of his medium. He admits to being pleased and amused by a frequent comment from gallery viewers of his paintings: “"I can't believe that's colored pencil! How did he do that?"
Ursillo is an active member of Artists of South Whidbey and the Seattle Chapter of Colored Pencil Society of American (CPSA). He teaches Colored Pencil at Casey's Crafts in Bayview and at the Bayview Senior Center. He loves sharing knowledge of his medium as well as his own enthusiasm for art in general and the "way of the artist."
Ginny O’Neill (www.ginnyoneill.com)
O’Neill is known for watercolors that express her connection to, and love of, the Puget Sound Area, and especially the feeling she has for Whidbey Island.
She was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. She admits to feeling at home with the landscape that surrounds her: “I am consistently drawn to the water, to the foggy beaches and to the Whidbey Island landscape.”
O’Neill also loves to paint animals, and she has focused on painting dogs in the last couple of years: “I¹ve been enjoying painting the dogs I see around me every day at the beach and the dog parks.” She also paints animal portraits on commission.
Watercolor is her choice of medium because she believes, “It allows for the wonderful blending of control and spontaneity.” She also notes, “Expressing an emotion is the reason I paint, especially when I paint animals. It’s gratifying to know that people have responded to what I’ve done.”
O’Neill is a featured artist at Brackenwood Gallery for the month of August and is currently showing at the Kirsten Gallery¹s Northwest Marine Art Exhibit, in Seattle. She is also an active member of Artists of South Whidbey.