2014 Catalog Cover Art Competition Winner
Ken McNeill of Fuquay-Varina, NC
I grew up in tobacco country, central North Carolina. I drive a truck and I like old barns. Farm equipment, the smell of plowed dirt and rolling landscapes say home to me. I’ve drawn since childhood but took for granted the natural beauty of pastures, ponds, fields and farm buildings. A handful of years ago, when I set out to paint my surroundings, I truly began to see color in the shadows and the play of light.
I work eight-to-five as an electrical engineer. My job is structured by the laws of mathematics and physics. To be valid, it must be interpreted precisely and in the same way by those who utilize it. To break those constraints, I paint nights and weekends, filling my canvases with bold swirls of color. My wife’s obsession with spinning, knitting and all things fiber inspired me to paint sheep, goats, alpacas and bunnies, with the goal of finding an animal’s attitude or personality and translating it to canvas. My hope is that these paintings bring pleasure to others. And I feel honored that my work will be part of the 2014 Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.
To see more paintings, please visit kenmcneillart.com.
2014 Honorable Mention
Susan D. Gutting of Coeur d”Alene ID
Clare Margaret Itzhaki of Harrisburg, PA
Melinda Byrd of Woodbine, MD
40th Anniversary Cover Artist
Native Marylander Meg Page’s paintings redefine the passion and detail of classical botanicals and animal portraits for 21st-century collectors. A nationally acclaimed naturalist painter, Meg is a fine arts graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art and worked as a illustrator and fine art painter with works featured in Town and Country, Southern Living, Southern Accents and Style magazines.
Meg’s latest inspiration has been site specific — Gentle Farm, Ladew Topiary Gardens, Evergreen House, Maryland Hunt Country, Coastal Carolinas, and the Florida Keys — giving her access not only to current surroundings, but also to historic prints, paintings and collections; affording perspectives of flora and fauna for her to capture their intrinsic beauty and vivid colors. Whether an iris from a garden, a horse in a pasture, a bird in the wild, or your very own creatures… they are all attributed to a specific time and place. With a provenance all its own, each becomes a personal heirloom with a timeless story.
Experience Meg’s work either online (megpage.com), on exhibit, or by appointment at her Baltimore Studio.
2012 Catalog Cover Art Competition Winner
Deanna Williford, Columbia, MD
Deanna Williford has been attending the Sheep and Wool Festival since 1976 when she moved to Howard County to begin her career of teaching deaf children. First, she came as a lover of the fine crafts offered there, later as a Welsh Corgi breeder, and more recently as a knitter, felter, and maker of traditional hooked wool rugs. You may find her demonstrating at the Mason-Dixon Rug Hooking Guild’s booth during the festival.
Her artwork chosen for the 2012 poster contest combines an Asian style of art called Notan with the detailed pen and ink work done in Zentangle patterns. Zentangle is a relatively new art style involving elaborate designs drawn slowly and in a relaxing manner. Deanna was one of the first Certified Zentangle Teachers in Maryland and teaches classes at the Columbia Art Center and for Howard County Rec and Parks. While she loves creating art with watercolor and pastels, she enjoys sharing the fun of Zentangle with others.
Like many retired people, Deanna says, “I don’t know how I ever found time to work!!” She rides her two Thoroughbred horses everyday (one is the grandson of the Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew!), volunteers at the National Aquarium and Animal Welfare Society, and creates jewelry and art. Feeling very honored to have her work chosen this year, she wishes a wonderful experience to everyone involved in, or attending, the “bestest” Sheep and Wool Festival!
2012 Honorable Mention
Katie Eberts, Cedarville, MI
Susan Gutting, Coeur d’Alene, ID
Susan Chong Powell, Silver Spring, MD
2011 Catalog Cover Art Competition Winner
Charity Goodwin, Stanberry MO
2011 Honorable Mention
Leanne Coppola, Wall NJ
Bari Padgett, Dickerson MD
Amber Harte Maurer, Westminster MD
2010 Catalog Cover Art Competition Winner
A Letter from the Artist, Mary Thumann
The possibilities of raw materials have always excited me. Every trip to the library in grade school resulted in my borrowing a book on how to manufacture such exotica as soda bottle cap door mats or mohair coiffed bed dolls dressed in coffee filters. It was no wonder than when I became a newlywed in 1976 that I channeled my creative juices into the bicentennial frenzy and all crafts that went along with it. Stenciling, pierced lampshades, candlewicking, basketweaving, quilting and more, I tried my hand at it all going as far as making the cradle I rocked my two babies in. Too many ideas, too many supplies, not enough time to try it all.
Life has a way of winnowing out the chaff and keeping the seeds of what is important. So I narrowed my focus to what I love most… textiles and fibers. First, traditional hand-pieced quilts slowly evolved to smaller art pieces, then learning how to spin and knit has keep me artistically challenged for the last thirty years.
Currently, some of my work is being displayed in an international exhibit. Also I have started to enter contests….which brings us to my piece “The Sheep”. Inspired by my own wooly flock, I endeavored to represent them in my other favorite fiber…cotton. I am honored to be given the opportunity to share the results with you.
Ellen Cornett, Cheverly MD
Rachel Dougherty, Baltimore MD
Betsey Hurd, Kalispell MT
Betttie Sperty, Manassas VA