By Curt Yeomans
Dan Garcia said his colored-pencil drawing, "Chichimeca," embodies everything he likes about drawing pictures of Native Americans.
The drawing shows a profile of a member of the Chichimeca tribe. Garcia, a resident of Hampton, said he met the Native American in the picture four years ago at a powwow at Stone Mountain. He said he likes the picture, because the man in it looks old and proud, with a stoic expression on his face.
"It was one of the drawings I did where I felt I best covered the three areas I wanted to catch in my artwork," Garcia said.
The drawing was announced on Friday as the "Best of Show" winner in Arts Clayton's 10th Annual Juried Art Competition, which showcases the top work in the group's annual competition. Arts Clayton Gallery Manager Karen Powers said more than 150 pieces of artwork were entered for the show, and 60 were chosen.
The winners were chosen from the work that was put on display, Powers said. She said people who saw the show before the gallery held its formal opening reception on Friday reported being in awe of this year's collection. "Every year, the bar the artists present us with raises higher, and higher," the gallery manager said.
But, the competition's top winners said they were surprised by their victories. Garcia said he did not expect "Chichimeca" to be named the best piece of art in the competition, but he did not think it would be the worst piece of art, either. "I entered it because I thought he would do all right," he said. "I had entered him in an international colored-pencil competition before, and he was juried in, but he didn't win any awards."
Powers said the competition judge, Art School of Sandy Springs Owner Donna Thomas, wrote in her critique that "Chichimeca" was "absolutely perfect in all technical details [with] extraordinary composition, use of design elements, lighting, color and values."
Jonesboro resident, Clayton Harris, did not expect his acrylic painting, "Standing Against the Odds," to win any awards, either, but it earned an honorable mention, as well as the Patron's Award, which is decided by votes cast by people who attended the opening night reception.
Harris said the painting shows the bare feet of some African tribesmen he saw in a photograph in National Geographic magazine. He said the story of tribesmen, according to the magazine, was that they were starving and opposing tribes were trying to wipe them out through genocide. He said he added extra pairs of legs to give the image more depth.
"I didn't expect it to win one award," Harris said. "I'm just excited about this. I was just glad to get in the show, because it's a juried competition. Just being juried into the show is what I consider a win. This [the two awards] is just gravy."
Other honorable mention awards went to: "Cumberland Morning" by Susannah Howie; "Tiger Lily" by Karen Casciani; "Pretty Morgan" by Fawne Derosia, and "Great Things Have No Fear of Time" by Lamont Sudduth.
Steve Pritchard's "Norfolk Island Pine Vessel" won third-place honors, while Kay Ridge's "Enough" took second, and Eddie Rainey's "Splash" won first place.
The artwork is being displayed at the Arts Clayton Gallery, which is located at 136 South Main Street, in Jonesboro, and will remain on display until the end of the month.