The 2018 Art2Life Academy Exhibition

The 2018 Show

This is the first annual, juried exhibition of members’ art of the Art2life Academy. Our juror, Donna Seager, selected 63 artists out of nearly to 290 entries for this exhibition. Donna also selected the first, second, third and honorable mention award winners. In addition Nicholas Wilton, artist and founder of Art2life, selected the three “Nick Picks” award winners.

The Art2life Academy was created in 2016 in response to the growing needs of the global art community. The Academy and its members support one another in learning the vital information needed in order to thrive as artists. Through community art critiques, the sharing of information regarding materials, business and creating a sustainable art practice, members are able to achieve accelerated growth in their art. This first annual exhibition celebrates the extraordinary diversity and achievement of these artists.

Juror - Donna Seager

DonnaSeager Gray Gallery, Mill Valley, California

In my role as a gallery owner and curator, I am called upon to jury exhibitions often and it is something I enjoy, both because it puts me in front of such a wide array of artists’ work and because the exercise of looking never ceases to refine the sensibilities. When Nick Wilton asked me to jury this exhibition, I was excited because the submissions draw from a virtual community of artists worldwide with works from all over the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and more. What I found is that good painting is good painting, whatever the outside influences and it was gratifying to see the consistency in quality and depth in the submissions.

It was necessary to pare the selection of nearly 290 works down to our final grouping of 63 paintings. Nearly all of the selections, even those with pictorial elements are at least partly abstract, so I look to the principals of art – balance, proportion, emphasis, variety, movement, rhythm and balance to guide me, if not consciously, at least unconsciously. I think here I would also add subtlety, what I believe Nick would call “quiet conversations” mixed in with the stronger elements. I think that when all these principals are working together, there is a “rightness” to the work and for me there is a little fist in my gut that tightens, a satisfying feeling that I have relied upon throughout my 40 years in the art business. I know that something is working in the painting, that it has engaged me in some way.

Looking over the final exhibition, I find that nearly all of the paintings have a wonderful sense of pattern and space. I do not know the specifics of the training received, but it seems to me that the paintings are consistently open – that the elements of the work, whether they are shapes or pictorial elements are given breathing room. I am so impressed with all of the abstract works I have selected. My first place selection, Mary-Lou Boulanger’s “’Freer Freedom,” engaged me at first because of its unusual palette of purple, turquoise and ochre, but there is also the rhythmic shape of the tiles contrasted with the more organic composition of the flowers themselves. 

My second place choice, “Suzy, I Climbed This Ladder The Least You Could Do Is Smile,” by Chad Little is inspired by a photograph of his sisters taken by his father from a ladder. He could have chosen to make the painting strictly pictorial, but his choices, with the pleasantly contrasting rose and black swimsuits and the subtle background of land and water, add to the enjoyment of the scene.

In my third place selection, Mary Parkman’s, “Bouquet with Jasmine,” I was fascinated with what she was able to accomplish with such a minimal number of large brushstrokes. The scale of the painting (48 x 48 inches) and the light cream background with its occasional strokes of color from the bouquet were perfectly done and with just the right amount of restraint.



1st Place – Mary-Lou Boulanger
$1,000 | “Your Art Story” a 2-5 minute promotional video about your art | Facebook Campaign created and implemented by A2L and social media expert Rachel Miller, Founder/Organic Traffic Strategist at Moolah Marketing

2nd Place – Chad Little
$750 | Facebook Ad Mini Campaign created and implemented by A2L and social media expert Rachel Miller, Founder/Organic Traffic Strategist at Moolah Marketing

3rd Place – Mary Parkman
$500 | A2L Studio Art Kit

Honorable Mention – Sarah Ko
$250 | A2L Trowel


Most Notable Loud Conversation – Janet Smedley
$250 Gift Certificate to the A2L store

Most Notable Quiet Conversation – Mary GrandPre
$250 Gift Certificate to the A2L store

Most Notable Color – Donna Weathers
$250 Gift Certificate to the A2L store

1st Place Winner

Mary-Lou Boulanger
"Freer Freedom"
36" x 48" - Mixed Media
As an artist I work hard to make paintings that show the Beauty in Imperfections. I love to show the artists hand in the work but I also like to allow the nature of the materials I am using to have a life of their own. I love when the unexpected happens and I have the chance to incorporate this happy accident into my work.

Experimenting with a variety of techniques gives me the freedom to incorporate all of the processes I love into one finished piece. This process is both interesting and challenging. With every finished piece I challenge myself to include as many differences as possible.

My techniques include painting, drawing, print making and collage from hand painted papers. All the techniques I love to do! The colors, textures and patterns I see when traveling are a constant inspiration to me and influence many of my paintings. In my current work I use the beauty found in floral arrangements and reinterpret them in a way that emphasizes texture, line and form in unexpected ways.

Cheers, ML

2nd Place Winner

Chad Little
"Suzy, I Climbed This Ladder The Least You Could Do Is Smile"
36" x 48" - Oil, Mixed Media
I typically find inspiration in vintage photos. I have a pretty dry sense of humor and find the personal and more candid photos to have a story that paints itself. The look on someone’s face. The clothes they’re wearing. The expression of exhaustion when dealing with a family member. I’m typically looking for something that makes me smile in silly/dry way. The vintage part has to do with the era. A time when design ruled so much of everyday life. Avocado colored appliances. Fins on an old Chevy car. The clothes! If I could have picked a time to grow up it would have been in the 50’s.

I like to refer to my work as “art with a purpose”. My wife and I started a foundation, to support organizations we believe in where the leaders are still in the trenches getting the job done. 100% of the proceeds from my artwork (minus rep fees and gallery expenses) goes to our foundation and the causes we support.

3rd Place Winner

Mary Parkman
"Bouquet with Jasmine"
48" x 48" - Painting
Painting an abstract painting is so much harder than it looks. I put paint on the canvas and push and pull with the paint: addressing color and value, shapes and mark making until I achieve a balance and sense of space that feels complete. Unlike making a representational painting, abstract work takes its cues not from outside from a landscape or bowl of fruit or face—but from within. Underneath the finished painting, there are a myriad of paintings the viewer doesn’t see. All of those buried layers represent equations that were wrestled with before I moved on.

For years, I had a gnawing desire to understand abstract work. I would look at a deKooning, for instance, and think, “I don’t get it.” Then, I started to focus on the paint—at what you can achieve just with the paint—and everything changed. Having the guts to try that myself is where I was hesitant. Once I did try, I found I was still afraid but simultaneously obsessed. When I am away from the studio, going through my day, I am always thinking about the painting I am working on, which waits for me back in my studio. I can’t let go of the struggle to solve the problems being posed on the canvas; I can’t let go of thinking about how I will move it forward.

I find it fascinating that struggling with an abstract work can parallel struggles I have in my life, both past and present. I have learned in my life if I let go a little and let nature take its course, things have a way of working out, often in a way that was better than I could have ever planned. So too with my art, allowing beautiful things to happen with the paint can turn the artwork into something far more interesting and with unexpected surprises.

Honorable Mention

Sarah Ko
"How They Left the Island"
12" x 12" - Mixed Media
Imagine using only the constellations to cross the ocean. The Polynesian wayfinders navigated uncharted waters using the star anchored behind them to forge ahead. My paintings also reference the past to chart a novel course. They are soulscapes, orienting identity in time.

My work bridges child and adult, archaic and modern in both material and content. Crayon scribbles are juxtaposed against sleek graphic transfers, fragile graphite lines over hefty wood panels. My work is a literal sojourn through time as I sand and scrape to reveal older layers, and a figurative one as I allude to games, childhood, and memories through primitive drawings and simple block letters. Obscured maps suggest a way forward.

My paintings are about paying attention. Looking again with wayfinder’s eyes I trace paths through new waters yet find them familiar. As G.K. Chesterton said, “Most probably we are in Eden still. It is only our eyes that have changed.”

Nick's Picks

Most Notable Color

"Assembly of Joan"
48" x 48" - Acrylic, Spray Paint, Collage, Corrugate
Most Notable Quiet Conversation

48" x 36" - Mixed Media
Most Notable Loud Conversation

"The Time for Singing is Come"
16" x 16" - Mixed Media on Panel

The 2018 Art2Life Academy Exhibition

Click on the images below for pricing and artist contact information.

Libby Skamfer - "Happy Ending"
Judy Shreve - "My Audition"
Tom Hlas - "She Loved to Spend Her Days Dreaming About Tomorrow"
Lisa Bebi - "Hollywood and Vine"
Alice Sheridan - "To the Tall Cliffs"
Pamela Caughey - "Elysium"
Pamela Patterson - "Moment of Repose"
Patty Ripley - "Spots We Know"
Susan Collacott - "Deeper: Light, Middle, Dark"
Glenda Green - "The Way to Emerald City"
Chrissie Richards - "Life is a Journey"
John Sweeny - "Dexter 1"
Heidi Marie Faessel - "Igniting Flight"
Renee Broxson - "Twice Told Tales"
Susanne Clark - "Glimpse From Beyond"
Paula Valenzuela - "Coming to the Origins"
Pamela Ourshalimian - "I'm Considering"
Becky Brandl - "What Does it Say?"
Joanna Demarsico - "Re-District"
Susan Handlen - "Untitled #18-4"
Magdalena Bogart - "Fertile Grounds"
Susan Hart - "Residency"
Debra Manders - "Hidden Memory"
Christie Kowalski - "Rock Solid Feeling"
Dominique Samyn - "Time After Time"
Janice Best - "The Studio"
Kelsey Woodward - "Once in a Blue Moon"
Michèle Brown - "Finished"
Kelly Brown - "Portals"
Katherine Allsopp - "Fair Light"
Cathy Bird - "Middle Earth"
Anthony Surratt - "Arcade"
Debby Alphin - "Love Makes the World Go Round"
Tammy Hudgeon - "Jungle Love"
Arron Buttram - “Taking time to notice”
Aia Bower - "En Voyageant ~ Traveling"
Inge Zuck - "Guardian Angel"
Joie Villeneuve - "Night of Stars"
Susan Derrick - "First Blush"
Kathy Swift - "Conversation with Abstraction"
Anne Segal - "We Can Work It Out"
Marjorie Claus - "Geisha With Red Flower"
Deb Eyde - "Nostalgia"
Terry Scopes - Intervals In Gray
Karen Kratz-Miller - "Rush Less"
Robin Olsen - "Crosswords"
Marca Cameron - "HELP! / Hope Evolve Love & Purpose"
Shilo De La Cruz - "Deep Space"
Eileen M Harwood - "Symbiosis"
Kathleen Ainscough - "Spillway Falls"
Valeh Levy - "Scooter in Shade"
Judy Paul - "The Wind Is My Best Friend 1"
Amy Brakeman Livezey - "O Pioneers"
Lisa Roy - "Voices"
Angela Licciardi - "Inclusion"
Diane Varney - "Strange Ghost Flower on a Newly Discovered Planet"