Paying attention to detail is vital for Yu Zhou, who creates intricate oil paintings of flowers and fruit.
“Magnifying glass is a must during my painting for small detail,” the Yardley, Pa., painter says on his website. “I like to use linen because it comes much more smooth and stretch and it’s better for my work.”
He caught the eye of judges at the 44th annual Mount Dora Arts Festival, which was held Saturday and Sunday. He won the Best of Show award, which carries a $5,000 prize, at the juried festival that featured the works of 298 artists who competed for cash prizes totaling $21,000.
Zhou, who couldn’t be immediately reached for comment, describes his work on his website as “supreme realistic” still life paintings.
A judges’ statement released by the Mount Dora Center for the Arts, which puts on the festival, said the overall quality of art was “very high and made our job challenging. We were looking for a number of things including overall professional presentation, consistency of quality, unique imagery that ignited our curiosity, craftsmanship, and techniques both traditional and innovative.”
The statement said “clear stand-outs became apparent.”
Winners of Judges Choice awards, which brought prizes of $1,500 were Nicola Barsaleau of LaCrosse, whose art involves printmaking and drawing for 2D, and Katherine Mathisen of Ocoee, who works in clay, for 3D.
The Wendy Alderman Award for most creative use of her medium went to jewelry artist Patricia Karnes of Winter Park, who won $250.
Awards of Excellence in 2D ($500 each) went to David Hunter of Winter Park, printmaking and drawing; Roxane Chardon of Hollis, N.H., printmaking and drawing; Marius Moore of Gulfport, photography; James Whipple of Winter Park, mixed media 2D; John Whipple of Winter Park, painting; Lynn Whipple of Winter Park, mixed media 2D; R.L. Alexander of Celebration, painting; Xiao Jiang of Scarborough, Ontario, painting; Matthew Cornell of Orlando, painting; and Steve Andrews of Tallahassee, painting.
Awards of Excellence 3D ($500 each) went to Tim Turner of Linville, N.C., clay; Obayana Ajanaku of Decatur, Ga., jewelry; Sebastian Coleman of Mount Vernon, Ohio, glass; Teresa Merriman of Westcliffe, Colo., mixed media 3D; Katie Dirnbauer of Knoxville, Tenn., jewelry; Paul Freundt of Talking Rock, Ga., sculpture; Larry Allen of Leeds, Ala., clay; John Mascoll of Safety Harbor, wood; Ryan Lawless of Detroit, clay; and Brian Bortz of Durham, N.C., wood.
The judges were Anna Holcombe Calluori, professor of art and art history at the University of Florida School; Rachel Frisby, curator at the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens in Winter Park; and Robert Reedy, professor of visual arts and design at the University of Central Florida School.
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