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Local artists find audience, top awards in community arts show

By Kevin Kelley

Westlake

Portrait paintings, if they’re well done, leave people wanting to know more about the subject.

So it is with Bay Village artist William Mannion’s pastel portrait, “Polperro Fisherman.”

Mannion’s work won first place in the charcoal/pastel/pencil category at the 12th annual Community of Fine Arts Juried Exhibition. Sponsored by the Westlake-Westshore Arts Council, the exhibition concluded Aug. 13 with an artists’ reception at Westlake Porter Public Library.

Mannion told how he and his wife met this older man on the shores of the southern English fishing village of Polperro. When Mannion mentioned that they were also visiting another town a few miles down the road, the fisherman said he had never been there.

“Who’d ever want to leave Polperro?” the man asked rhetorically.

Mannion began painting shortly after high school in his native New York City, where he was involved in the Arts Students League. Later he received a master’s of fine arts degree from Vermont College.

Mannion has won first-place and honorable mention awards in previous Community of Fine Arts shows. While he hasn’t sold any paintings through the show, Mannion said he has gotten leads for commissioned portraits, as well as the paintings of houses he often creates. The “house portraits,” as he calls them, make good gifts for older parents, he said.

Westlake resident Neil Doren has entered his photography in about half of the dozen Community of Fine Arts shows the Westlake-Westshore Arts Council has sponsored, he said.

Doren won the top photography award for “Survivor – Elyria Barn.”

Lately, Doren has been focusing on High Dynamic Range photography, a relatively new process that combines the best parts of several photos shot at different exposures to eliminate overexposures and underexposures.

“It lends a realism to the photograph,” Doren said, adding that the final product can sometimes be called grungy-looking. His HDR photographs sometimes look more like paintings than photographs, he said.

Doren said he has sold works over the years at the Community of Fine Arts shows, as well as through individual exhibits at Westlake Porter Public Library and other art shows in the area.

Like Mannion, Doren said the Westshore has an active artistic community. But Doren said photography is sometimes viewed as a lesser art form compared to other media such as paintings or sculptures.

“My goal is to show how photography can be a true art form,” Doren told West Life.

At Saturday’s artists’ reception, exhibition organizer Jean Povinelli thanked the Westlake-Westshore Arts Council members and volunteers who made the show possible, including the “hanging committee,” a term she acknowledged sounded a “little ominous.”

Not wanting to lose any paintings, Povinelli jokingly warned artists not to remove their works without properly signing out or they would be tracked down by the Westlake Police.

Povinelli also made clear that although the exhibition is hosted in Westlake, the show is not limited to local artists.

“It is not a Westlake art show,” Povinelli said. “It is an art show. Art is accepted from anywhere.”

In addition to Mannion and Doren, other winners included Lawrence Ramph, who received first place in the oil/acrylic category for his oil painting, “The Soldier,” and Robert Moyer, who won top prize in the watercolor category for “Delivery Day.” First-place artists each received a $150 cash prize. The winning works will remain on display at Porter Library through Aug. 27.

 

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