Photo by Curt Yeomans
Doug McCulloch (left), whose wood carving won “Best of Show” in this year’s Arts Clayton juried art competition, chats with the group’s executive director, Linda Summerlin, during a reception at the gallery, on Friday.
By day, Doug McCulloch is a mild-mannered information technology specialist for IBM’s sales department. At night, he is a wood-carving artist.
When the sun goes down, the Marietta resident ditches the dress ties and goes to town on pieces of wood. He changes their exterior to whatever he wants them to look like. He then removes the wood block’s inside through a slow hollowing process that can take several hours to complete.
“It takes a long time to complete the [wood carving] process, but it’s a lot of fun,” said McCulloch, who said he has only been an artist since 2007.
He was named the “Best of Show” winner in this year’s Arts Clayton Juried Art Competition, the Jonesboro-based arts group announced Friday night. He, along with six other local artists were announced during the opening reception for a new Arts Clayton Gallery exhibit, which features works from the contest.
The announcement that McCulloch won the top award in the show left the artist flabbergasted. He was in shock as he tried to wrap his mind around the realization that his wood carving, entitled “Maple Flash,” was being purchased by Arts Clayton for its permanent collection. He also received a $1,000 prize, and he will get his own solo exhibit at the Arts Clayton Gallery, in July.
“I get my own show? Oh wow!” McCulloch exclaimed after Arts Clayton Gallery Assistant Courtney Forte explained to him the full benefits of winning “Best of Show” honors.
This marked the second time McCulloch has entered his work in an Arts Clayton competition. The first time was last year’s juried art competition. It did not yield the same award-winning results that he got this year.
“I didn’t expect to win anything last year, but then again, I really didn’t expect to win anything this year, either,” he said. “It’s a pretty big shock. It’s a huge shock, actually. I certainly wasn’t expecting to win ‘Best of Show.’”
McCulloch’s work is a smooth, cone-shaped piece with a rounded top that is crested by a green-and-bronze copper finial, which evokes images of sea water splashing into the air.
“The judges’ comments on this piece were that it has ‘impressive proportions and balance. Subtle imperfections in the wood are beautifully complemented by the copper finial,” Arts Clayton Executive Director Linda Summerlin told attendees at the reception.
McCulloch said he will continue to improve on his wood-carving skills, and “selectively find [art] shows to enter.” He said he does not have much time to produce multiple pieces of art, because he can only do it in his free time, outside of work.
“I’ll sort of have to pick and choose what shows I enter,” he said.
While McCulloch took home the “Best of Show” award, McDonough artist Hal Kilpatrick walked away with the exhibit’s “Patron’s Award,” and second-place honors for his small, approximately five-inch, by six-inch painting of an egret, entitled “Dapper Display.”
Judges praised Kilpatrick’s piece, because it was “subtle in the right areas, with more detail in others,” and because it “maintains viewer interest up close and from a distance,” Summerlin explained.
The full list of winners in the contest included:
• McCulloch’s “Maple Flash” (Best of Show).
• Peachtree City-based artist Dan Garcia’s “Tehya” (First Place).
• Kilpatrick’s “Dapper Display” (Second Place).
• Newnan-based artist Gingerlou Fulton’s “Paranoia” (Third Place).
• Jonesboro-based artist Keith Barnett’s “Catalina State Park” (Honorable Mention).
• McDonough-based artist Keith Rosemond’s “Drummer” (Honorable Mention).
• Forsyth-based artist Pat Burns’ “Playing Dressup” (Honorable Mention).
The exhibit of the top 52 pieces in this year’s juried art competition will remain on display at the Arts Clayton Gallery, located at 136 South Main St., in Jonesboro, through the end of the month.