November 2014

Grand Prize Winner 2014 Tricia Sterns

Holding Hope by Tricia Sterns

Holding Hope by Tricia Sterns

Arts Clayton Gallery is a non-profit community art gallery dedicated to enriching lives through art. We view ourselves as partners with our current and future exhibiting artists, patrons, Arts Clayton, Inc. members and our community. It is our goal to foster an appreciation for the arts and awaken the creativity dwelling in us all.

The Arts Clayton Gallery curates 30 exhibits each year in three spaces: the main Allan Vigil Georgia Gallery features prominent traveling and theme exhibits plus two annual juried shows (Fine Art in February and Photography in October); the Feature Gallery extends the main exhibit by showcasing specific art mediums and individual artists; the larger Open Studio is used for community events and displays of work by local emerging artists and students. Off-site satellite exhibits at Spivey Station Surgery Center and Allan Vigil Ford Lincoln dealership offer the general public opportunities to view original art by Georgia artists – predominantly artists from neighboring southern crescent counties. The Arts Clayton Gallery provides workshops for artists, “Canvas & Corks” painting classes, and other exhibit-related audience development community programs with art activities for every level. The annual Mistletoe Market adds a focus on master craftsmen and artisan foods to market Georgia Made & Georgia Grown products. We will kick off the annual Mistletoe Market this year November 1, with an Artist Showcase “Buy Design”.

2014 is the 11th annual photography competition and was featured in the Allan Vigil Georgia Gallery & the Feature Gallery. Forty-two photographs were juried in from the eighty-four entries submitted. The judges were Candice Greathouse and Erica Jamison, founder of the MINT Gallery in Atlanta, who said that choosing the winners was not an easy task. The exhibit opened October 3, 2014. Tricia Stearns was “Best of Show”. Her winning piece ”Holding Hope” will be part of Arts Clayton’s permanent collection.


I never considered myself an artist because I can’t really draw – not even a tree. I considered an artist to be someone who painted on large canvases that hung in impressive museums in metropolitan cities. But ever since I was a young girl, I took pictures. First, with an instamatic camera, the kind where a square pops out and you wave it dry until an image appears. Later I learned on a manual only Pentax camera that I borrowed from a college professor. During my undergraduate years, my work-study assignment was one of the college photographers and I loved capturing people being spontaneous. After I graduated with a degree in English and a minor in Fine Art with a concentration in photography, I longed for my own darkroom and continued to photograph my own children and their friends. With my children in college, I too went back, and earned a master’s in creative writing.

Now I concentrate on taking photographs that share a story. And I look for stories within stories. I take pride in doing very little editing to the photograph, challenging myself to capture the scene and share it without altering the reality of the moment. I am drawn to shoot photographs of people who are working with their hands, and folks that exhibit an artistic approach to life. What I have grown to realize is that we are all artists – the challenge is tapping into our creative selves, listening to our unique voice and sharing our art with humility for the greater good of mankind. –Tricia Sterns


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Spring Fling by Tricia Sterns


First Place 2014 Marla Puziss


Pilgrim’s Progress by Marla Puziss


I have been taking photos since the 1980s, when I inherited my first Canon SLR, a cast-off from my father. I am self-taught, but have learned from looking at great photography since childhood: beginning with a well-worn copy of The Family of Man on my parents’ bookshelves. My love of photography has always been closely tied to my love of travel and observing other places and the people who live there, beginning with photos I took in the 1980s with that first camera – of Nicaragua and Burkina Faso, and the revolutionary changes transforming those countries at the time. Since then I have traveled in British Columbia, Nova Scotia, France, Spain, Italy, Quebec, Costa Rica, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. But I have also fallen in love with the fascinating regions lying within our own borders: New England, New Mexico, and closer to home – Louisiana and the gulf coast region of Florida near Apalachicola. 

My photos have appeared in several books, and in LensWork and South x Southeast online photo magazines. I have exhibited at the Arts Clayton Gallery; the Norton Arts Center (in Hapeville, GA, where I live); Oakland Cemetery; the Atlanta Friends Meetinghouse; and other events during the past several years of Atlanta Celebrates Photography month. I moved to Atlanta in 1989 from Maryland, live in Hapeville with my husband and cat, and work in the clinical laboratory at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

Artist’s statement

This photo (Pilgrims Progress) of tourists in Barcelona, which won 1st place in the juried photography competition at Arts Clayton Gallery, was taken at Parc Guell, designed by renowned architect Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi placed three crosses at the summit of the park, and called the sculpture Calvary. Visitors from around the world climb to the base of the crosses like modern-day pilgrims. I was struck by how the pilgrims in this photo – wearing dark sunglasses or looking away from each other in different directions – appear very alienated and aloof.

I enjoy photographing subjects which are a bit out of the ordinary or unexpected, and especially like black-and-white images. Marla Puziss


On the Babydoll Trail by Marla Puziss

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Hubcap Daddy by Marla Puziss

Third Place 2014 Donna Thompson


Reflective by Donna Thompson


Donna Thompson has long enjoyed a very creative imagination. She wrote her first play in sixth grade and a few years later when she took her first photograph it was love at first click. While Donna remembers the excitement of seeing a black-and-white photo develop before her eyes, she has fully embraced the use of digital methods in photography and processing. She utilizes a strong control of light and composition in her images.

With an educational focus in business, Donna worked for a Fortune 500 corporation until 2000 when she started her own consulting business. She assists with strategic planning and marketing for small businesses, but has also developed educational programs for children in sewing, designed heirloom christening gowns and developed training programs for dog sports. She began to incorporate commercial photography into her business and eventually added fine art photography. Her training in photography comes from the Showcase School in Atlanta and Atlanta Photo Workshops. She is an active member of Southern Crescent Photography Group, Atlanta Photography Group and Georgia Nature Photographers’ Association. Donna curates the annual Puppy Love Juried Show in addition to numerous other themed shows for a bookstore gallery. She formed and directs the Southern Crescent Photography Group and teaches entry level photography classes.

Donna’s work has exhibited in numerous juried shows including: Southeastern Flower Show (2011-1st place, 2014-2nd place); Puppy Love (2009-3rd place, 2011-3rd place); Simple Pleasures, Showcase Shots! (2012-2nd place & Honorable Mention, 2014-Honorable Mention); Serenbe, Nature Undisturbed, Arts Clayton (2012-2nd place, 2013-2nd & 3rd place, 2014-3rd place); Spivey Surgical Center (2014-2nd place); and Atlanta Photography Group/Lucinda Bunnen Selects. Her work is also included in several private collections.

Artist’s statement

My work is created on the foundation that every photograph has a story to tell. I want my work to stir the imagination and curiosity. I strive to create a mystery to be solved, allowing the mind to wander and ask questions that may never be answered. My goal is to evoke a specific feeling or emotion from a photograph and create a desire for the viewer to finish the story. I want to take the ordinary and make it unique. I use color or tones and contrast to enhance the details and portray a specific feeling or mood for an image. When appropriate, I also use layers and textures to further enhance the image. I use pigment inks and print my own work to ensure full control of the quality of the finished photograph.

–Donna Thompson


Beneath the Surface by Donna Thompson


Grace in the Barn by Donna Thompson


Emma’s Porch by Donna Thompson