Regional Fall Art Show
Columbus, Ind.’s Pickens hopes award will gain her notoriety
She returns this year to participate in annual Fall Show
(October 2017) – Oksana Pickens has a voice as soft as the echo of butterfly wings flittering across a field of wild flowers. Her paintings carry the same softness, showing flowers and birds floating gently off the canvas.
However, her shy persona hides a strong, goal-driven artist who was able to win top prize last year at the Madison Art Club’s Fall Art Show. Art club members are busy preparing for this year’s Fall Show, which is set for Oct. 14 to Nov. 1, with an artist reception scheduled from 7-9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21. The awards ceremony will take place at 8 p.m. that night.
These days, Pickens is working hard to break into major markets at the big box chain stores.
Photo by John Sheckler
Oksana Pickens of Columbus, Ind., displays some of her artwork at the Madison Art Gallery in Madison, Ind. She won Best of Show at last year’s Regional Fall Art Show.
“I am working to get into big chain stores so I can have time to work on more serious art,” Pickens said. “Being a single mom, it is hard, financially. I do have an art shop on the internet where I sell my art to pay bills.
• For more information, call the club at (812) 265-2923.
Pickens, 46, is originally from Lithuania but now lives in Columbus, Ind. Her daughter, Agne Tarey, lives in Utah.
Pickens developed an interest in art in her native country in secondary school in sixth grade through high school and then attended college in Lithuania.
“My father, Alexander Liubiceva, was a well known local artist in Lithuania. He was Ukrainian,” Pickens said. “I have always painted all my life. I started seriously painting about three years in the agostyle painting, That is from the imagination. The first time I applied for any competition, I was in shock. It was surreal.”
Pickens takes mush of her inspiration from the natural world, then sets herself free.
“As I begin a painting, I often don’t have a clear image in mind,” Pickens said. “I just let my brushstrokes lead the way. The beauty of nature is truly my biggest influence. Art which has a clear framework in mind and still leaves room for imagination is most attractive to me.”
Pickens decided to enter the Madison Art Club competition to get a wider local audience for her work.
“There are no galleries in Columbus,” she said. “I have been there 15 years, with no place to show my art there. I want to do art on products for the big stores. I do watercolor a lot which is modern art.”
Her Internet sales are at Etsy.com.
“Lots of artists sell stuff there,” she said. “That is where my shop is located. I also do stationary and art prints as well. There is a market for moving announcement cards and custom order prints such as house portraits. I have clients and repeat customers.”
Pickens jokes with Madison Art Club President Teresa Waller about one of her entries in the Fall Art Show competition this year.
She had plans to enter the painting last year, but the wooden frame needed a paint job, so she had to save it for the competition this year.
Waller is also the chair of the annual regional fall art show. The show is in its 19th year, but Waller first came to the organization later. “The first one I saw was when the gallery was located in the Madison Chamber of Commerce building in 2010,” said Waller.
Waller and the Art Club team are working hard to make the show bigger and better each year.
“It is bigger now. Last year, we had biggest changes for categories. Paintings were all one category instead of being several categories. We simplified but added categories like fiber art and artisans (pottery, handmade wearable art, hand crafted original furniture and handmade blank books.)”
New this year is an extra award.
“Duke Energy sponsored a $250 award of distinction,” said Waller. “That is added to the other top monetary awards,” she said.
The club presents the $1,000 Best of Show, a $500 Award of Excellence, the Duke Award of Distinction and the $100 Mayor’s Choice Award. There is also a People’s Choice Award that is determined by votes of the people who come view the show.
“We can’t announce that until all the votes have been collected,” Waller said. “There are also numerous $200 merit awards depending on number of entrants.”
Last year, there were 15 merit awards. The number of merit awards is determined by the number of sponsors.
“We raise our prize money through our 50 community sponsors, who gave us over $6,000 this year.”
The advance deadline for submission of art for the show is Oct. 1, but delivery dates for the artwork being brought to the gallery is Oct. 6-8. Artists can bring their entry form and fees to Art on Main, 309 w. Main St., when they deliver their artwork to the gallery. The entry fee for non-members is $50 for up to two works. The fee for 2017 art club members is $40.
“This show is not juried for entry,” said Waller. “All entries that comply with rules will be accepted.”
This year, the awards judge is Brent Dedas, an Associate Professor of Art at Western Kentucky University. He earned a Masters of Fine Art with a focus on painting, drawing, printmaking and museum studies from the College of Design, Art and Architecture and Planning at University of Cincinnati. He also has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio with a concentration on Drawing from the Allen R. Hite Art Institute at the University of Louisville.
The Madison Art Club is in its 68th year and is one of the oldest continuously operated art clubs in the state of Indiana.
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