Conway watercolorist takes top prize in art show

Carol Rolf Originally Published April 21, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated April 19, 2013 at 10:13 a.m.
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Carol Rolf

Conway artist Sheila Parsons received the Best in Show award in the Conway League of Artists 2013 Spring Show and Competition at the Faulkner County Library. She won the honor with her watercolor St. Mark’s Square, painted on location in Venice, Italy. The show will remain on display through Friday.

Artist Sheila Parsons’ preferred medium is watercolor; her favorite way to paint is on-site.

The two proved to be a winning combination as she received the Best in Show award at the annual Conway League of Artists Spring Show and Competition, which is on display at the Faulkner County Library.

The juror, Conway interior designer and author Georg Andersen, gave Parsons the nod for St. Mark’s Square, a watercolor of the Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy. She said she created the 15-by-22-inch watercolor on-site a few years ago.

“The paintings we entered in the show did not have to be current,” she said. “They just could not have ever been in this show.” The watercolor is in the artist’s private collection and is not for sale.

“Georg said he really liked our show,” said Parsons, who was the show’s chairwoman. “He said he was really delighted with what he saw, calling some of the pieces ‘stunning.’ He said he was surprised by, and proud of, the caliber of work that came from such a small community of artists.”

Parsons said Andersen judged the works without knowing who the artists were. He told her, after learning that he had chosen one of her works for the top prize, that “he could just imagine me sitting there in the plaza painting it and loving it. He said he used to draw

mansions in New York in a similar fashion. I think that’s what spoke to him about the painting.”

Parsons continues to paint on-site whenever she can.

“Except for the winter,” she said with a smile. “I can’t paint outside in the winter.”

She plans more on-site work in two upcoming watercolor workshops for students — one to Guatemala in July and one to France in September. For more information, visit her website

“I think we had an excellent show,” said Parsons, who is a signature member of the MidSouthern Watercolorists.

“Some of the pieces were quite different than what we’ve seen in the past.”

There were 65 entries in the show, which will remain on display through Friday.

She said the artists are encouraged to move their works to PK’s in downtown Conway, where they will be shown in the store’s windows May 3-5 during Toad Suck Daze.

Other winners include the following:

Oil or acrylic:

• First place, Karen Freeman of Conway for Up on the Roof.

• Second place, Sheila Parsons of Conway for Birdhouse at Cotter, Ark.

• Third place, Holly Pilgrim of Conway for Claire de Lune.

• Honorable mentions, Robert Rubow of Conway for Lake Conway and Becky Oswalt of Conway for Petit Jean No. 1.


• First place, Nina Ruth Baker of Conway for Snugglin’.

• Second place, Parilee Croft of Conway for Waiting.

• Third place, Charlotte Rierson of Fairfield Bay for If This Tree Could Talk.

• Honorable mention, Sandra Ake of Conway for Snowy Day on Mount Magazine, Rosalie Musial of Greenbrier for Birds and Amy Ness of Conway for In the Window.

Dry media:

• First place, Mary Ann Stafford of Maumelle for Out Classed.

• Second place, Rosalie Musial of Greenbrier for King.

• Honorable mention, Van Swink of Fairfield Bay for St. Louis Skinny.

Photography or computer generated images:

• First place, Cathy Wester of Conway for Teapot Repose.

• Honorable mention, Cathy Wester of Conway for Abstract Glass in Conway.

Sculpture or three dimensional:

• First place, Karen Freeman of Conway for Container.

• Second place, Susan Peterson of Conway for a raku bowl, Surprise Inside.

• Honorable mention, Holly Pilgrim of Conway for Dancer.

The Conway League of Artists meets at 7 p.m. the second Wednesday of the month at the Faulkner County Library, 1900 Tyler St. in Conway.

For more information, contact Susan Peterson, president, at

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