Georgia woman wins Best of Show honors at Art on the Square

News-DemocratMay 19, 2013 

— An artist from Flowery Branch, Ga., won Best of Show at the 12th annual Art on the Square.

Bert Beirne was on the wait list and did not learn there was an opening in the art show until Wednesday night.

Beirne said her classic still life oil paintings, created with a Flemish painting technique, were packed up in her van and she was ready to go.

"She drove like crazy from Georgia only to win the big award," said Julie Harvey, of the Art on the Square committee.

Art on the Square organizers announced the awards at a brunch Sunday.

Beirne won $3,000 and an invitation to the 2014 Art on the Square.

The Cincinnati native said it is her first time at the show but she had heard of its reputation as a very high quality show. She said she is very pleased with the beautiful show, and its layout and turnout.

As Beirne travels to and from art shows, she stops in antique stores looking for things to paint. She arranges her finds -- vases, tapestries and more -- with items like wine, strawberries, cheese and crabs.

"My timber frame studio is full of the things I've collected," Beirne said.

Some keepsakes find their way into more than one painting. And, sometimes she fulfills requests for heirlooms to be incorporated into a painting.

"To me, it's a wonderful way to express myself," Beirne said. "I paint beautiful things and beautiful arrangements. Art is about beauty and enhancing your life with art."

The 2013 winners are:

* Best of Show -- Bert Beirne ($3,000 and 2014 invitation)

*Joan Voss Renner Award -- Sandi Garris ($2,000 and 2014 invitation)

*Ed L. Karasek Award -- Michael McKee ($1,500 and 2014 invitation)

* Mayor's Choice -- Susan Rogers ($1,000)

* Rotary Club of Belleville Award -- Michael Mikula ($1,000)

* Barbera King Jewelry Award -- Valerie Hector ($500)

*Best of Category ($1,500)

Paul Eshelman, clay

John Costin, drawing/graphic

Robert Farrell, fine craft

Randi Solin, glass

Thomas McGurrin, jewelry

Ella Richards, mixed media

Signe and Genna Grushovenko, oil/acrylic

Clifton Henri, photography

James LaCasse, sculpture

Scott Hartley, watercolor

Michael Bauermeister, wood

* Award of Excellence ($500)

David Bjurstrom

Michael Bond

Tony Eitharong

Jennifer McCurdy

Jay Nielsen

Daniel Powers

Gregg Rasmusson

Contact reporter Jacqueline Lee at or 239-2655. Follow her on Twitter at

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