Upstream People Gallery

17th Annual Faces Juried Online International Art Exhibition

Juror's Statement | Return to Exhibition

It seems that portraiture in various forms, continues to be a viable way to express the many aspects of the human experience. Herein are a number of different styles and media that expose the characteristic faces of many.

WILLIAM FRANCIS BRENNAN of Berlin, Germany has many works that highlight this year's showcase. Of particular note is the collage and oil piece entitled "Some Days I Could Scream", a state that quite universal indeed.

JAMES FATATA of Raleigh, North Carolina has mastered stoneware as seen in his work called "Diva". Herein he captures a special elegance, reinforced by the elaborate headdress. His work "Faces of Eve" seems over the top with the many pictures of various faces and the added embellishments, only to give an expansive view of the subject.

A statement about the artist: "'James Fatata is an artist who creates representational, figurative sculptures in the classical, realism style. He works primarily with stoneware clay, a strong, durable, and timelessly beautiful material for creating art, that he painstakingly hand works to achieve a result that resembles a marble-like, flesh color, faux bronze, or other unique finish. From the very earliest civilizations to the present time, portrait busts and figurative sculptures made in clay have been one of the most consistent and reliable art forms to survive the test of time. With his portrait sculpture “Diva”, he adeptly captured the timeless, delicate beauty and enduring facial features of his subject while also portraying her stylishness and sophisticated grace. His sculpture “Faces of Eve” uses found objects and decoupage on stoneware to create a unique and whimsical take on the myriad expressions and subtle nuances that the human face is capable of displaying."'

LIVIA L. GUS of Bronx, New York has an apparent appreciation of the animal kingdom. In her work "Meeting of the Minds" she presents a rather humorous expression.

"Here is my statement about this painting. It is indeed a joy to join with another species to share in the universal communication of friendship and camaraderie."

DANA L. HETRICK of Beaumont, TX has a wonderful approach to the concept of faces by presenting thirty-two celebrities in her wonderful drawing entitled "Rock 'n Roll Heaven (Part l). The visual power of representing so many faces in four rows is ingenius.

JOSEPH KAGLE of The Woodlands, Texas is quite the observer, people watching others in the hospital. "DR217. The Waiting Room-I.See.U., #120" is wonderfully depicting a heavy set man in a blue outfit, all created with pen and ink with collage.

A statement from the artist: "Capturing the essence of the personality of a face that I see is a combination of experience in using sight and working with line and dots over the years, plus a mind-set that thinks in terms of junctures of lines instead of traditional facial features. The spacing of these junctures gives the depiction of the character of the person who does not even know that they are the subject of my work of art. The feeling behind the view of junctures is like an early morning walk in a gentle rain- not too little and not too much.

Early in the morning, before anyone else has risen,
The gentle touch of rain, caresses my skin. It is given
As a reminder that more will come later. It sends
A message of future action but it certainly lends
An instant, cool touch to an early morning walk outside.
For my dog, it is an inconvenience but on this walker ride
It is fresh for me. As you can see: “It is a gentle touch.”
More rain than this soft drizzle would be too much;
Less and it would not even be noticed. It is just right.
It is a gentle partner on this dog walk, out of sight;
A companion just of feel, but very real. It is a welcomed
Friend. My dog will appreciate it when she is well combed
Back at our present home. Right now she tried to shake
It off; whereas I embrace its companionship. I make
Visions of other days when the rain was young and warm
(Before is turned into something harder, a winter storm).
I have come to expect the spring wind when we walk
At night, but this is a communal conversation as I talk
With this surprising, gentle touch. It is a new friend.
I give it my attention and acceptance. I tend to lend
It a physical identity. I accept this gentle, gentle touch
As we walk our dark path before it becomes too much."

MARY JANE MILLER of San Miguel Allende, Mexico has some finely painted icons of which "ICXC" is nicely done. The egg tempera with the fine pewter repose makes for a very strong work. And too, her "Mary and The Orchids" is another fine interpretation with the flowers. Also, "St. John the Silent" created in the manner of icon painting definitely succeeds as well.

A statement about this artist: “In all of my experience, of all the mediums and genres I have worked with, there is nothing as intimate or soul reaching or meditative as working with ground dirt and divine image”.

A full-time artist for over 30 years, in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where she teaches using traditional medium of egg tempera and gold leaf. The lost art of Icon Painting. Her understanding of spiritual symbology and skillfull painting result in an experience that is deeply meditative as well as artistic.

Classic Iconography

Contemporary Icons

Art Installation for Peace

and to purchase books:

HIKARU MIYAKAWA of Boulder, Colorado, in his acrylic painting, "Adam, Pierce and Remember!" creates an elaborate depiction of the wonderful Gospel passage with exquisite detailing that is tremendously convincing.

"The brief statement regarding my work, "Adam, Pierce and Remember!"

Adam here refers to Adam Kadmon, the initial, cosmic Adam according to Kabbalistic understanding of the scriptures, and I have used the different Hebrew spelling for "Kadmon" than what is usually used.

Adam Kadmon had neutral gender. It is reflected in the fact that Eve was within Adam, so to speak, as a potential form before the separation of Eve from Adam. In Genesis 1:27, the scripture which I have written in Hebrew near Adam and Eve near the bottom of this painting, there is a mentioning of Elohim creating (Ha-)Adam in both male and female. The Hebrew word for male is "zakar (זָכָ֥ר )" and female is "neqebah (נְקֵבָ֖ה )". The root word for "zakar" has the meaning, "to remember", and "neqebah" has the meaning "to pierce".

This is the very important element to know. ...and it may hint why Yeshwa (Jesus) had used the word, "remember", to the 12 disciples during the Last Supper, and the fact that Yeshwa, the tree of cross (both by the nails), and the ground (Ha-Adam-ah)by the cross were all "pierced"."'

Artist OPHEAR of Tel Aviv, Israel uses a kind of pointillist process with intricate colored dots depicting several well-known personalities. His "Anthony Hopkins" with a dominate blue hue and staring eyes, captures a sense of strength. His work "John Lennon" in acrylic plus pigment on canvas is wonderfully developed in black and white tonality. And "Nicki Minaj", done in multi color and varying dot sizes, shows a vibrant character. "Picasso" with the floating head and the special coloring, is also quite remarkable indeed.

A statement about the artist: "OPHEAR, with a background in engineering, music and the arts, uses a mix of illustrations and thickly applied paints to create daring visual art. The works shown are modern day pointillism and divisionism; the mind’s ability to connect, blend and bend the disparate dots and acrylic colors into varied compositions adds another dimension to the art".

AMELIA RIDER of Loomis, California shows a special realistic rendition of a young girl that seems to be a connected or coming out of a wall. The hands crossing over adds even more to the susceptibility in the work "Girl Immigrated".

A statement about this artist and her work: '"This series, “Over the Border: Mexico,” is loosely based on Amelie Rider’s many experiences driving over the border into Mexico over the past few years.

Ms. Rider’s painting is of a Nicaraguan immigrant girl, "Girl Immigrated." The girl was her art student earlier in 2013. According to Ms. Rider, “She represents a combination of gossamer vulnerability and sheer moxy. Many immigrants who come over our Mexico border have come from Central American counties. When I met her she told me she did not feel beautiful in our "white bread-Barbie dominated high school. This broke my heart because I immediately saw something really special in her.”

The area on the Mexican Baja that I have been visiting has suffered from the demoralizing effects of the cartels’ drug wars as well as the severe economic fall-out of the resulting drop in tourism. I want this work to call attention to not only the people who coexist with the border but the awe inspiring beauty of the Mexican Baja reminiscent of California 100 years ago.

The remaining pieces for this series were developed from photo shoots while in Mexico. "The Wall" was developed from a photo shoot in the Valle de Guadaloupe where Rider photographed various textures for inspiration.

There is an installation piece as part of the series, "The Man (Prototype)." Rider’s intention with this piece is to evoke a whimsical response while at the same time inducing a thought-provoking interpretation. Among the interpretations is the actual flow of people over border and our illusion of the control. Another interpretation could be our attempt of control of terrorist groups or (Mexican) drug cartels. Rider’s ultimate intent for "The Man" is for it to be a large scale installation where viewers can feel a sense of interaction with the large pieces of corn.

Growing up, Rider lived in many places, including Europe for over six years and the Middle East for three years. She is currently an art teacher at Granite Bay High School in Granite Bay, CA."'

Contact for Amelie Rider:

HELEN NORSIGIAN ROWLES of Mesa, Arizona is a master artist with colored pencil as seen in the work "After the Show". The color palette seems somewhat southwest and the birds, the scull, the ballet slippers, all add to the intrigue. "Mother Hummingbird" also captures a strangeness and well drawn quality done in graphite, conté and charcoal. And "Temporary Journey" with the man and woman in the bottom right of the plane, together with the earthiness gives a sense of transiency.

JULIAN SAMBRANO JR. of Los Angeles, California has a remarkably rich, textural and expressive work entitled "blue". The frown adds a lot to the personality of a young person.

TOM SCHMITT of BaskingRidge, New Jersey shows some impressive portraits as seen in the glowing red-faced oil painting called "Dan". The total white of the eyes, the black circles and the stripes all add to the striking drama therein. In a more normal arrangement, he creates "Katie", done brilliantly in colored pencil. And the work "Pixels" takes on a contemporary quality enhanced with the strong tonal contrast. And too, "Prashast" shows the facility of the artist with the very fine realistic approach to the young man, reinforced with the contrasting abstraction and warm background.

"Here is my brief statement: I very rarely paint anyone I'm not in immediate contact with. Other than commissions, most of my works are friends, coworkers, or family members. If I know the person well enough, I'll incorporate little bits of their personality or interests into the portrait. For example, my painting "Dan" is a painting of my friend whose favorite super hero is Deadpool. Other times, something will just click when I see them and it's like "oh crap, I need to paint that". My drawing "Katie" is a perfect example of that intrinsic reaction. We were out in Long Island and we stopped so I could take some pictures of the sun setting over a lake and the lighting on her face was too good to resist. I've always been a sucker for good lighting. I think lighting and color are the most important aspects that I emphasize in my work."

SHARON SPRUNG of Brooklyn, New York shows three exquisite paintings. "Portrait of Girl in Broken Window" is quite nice considering the curious look of the finely painted woman, contrasted with the gray of the broken glass window. "Woman as Warrior" is another outstanding realistic portrait that also shows the sensitive delicacy of the woman's face and hair together with the bold and colorful warrior outfit. Another awesome painting is "Zeli with the Dragon" whereby the handsome woman looking to the left is counter-balanced with the depicted dragon in the background wall. The bright red and the dull green are also a nice touch.

A statement from the artist: "My paintings are a carefully observed negotiation, manipulated layer upon layer in order to create a work of art as equivalent to the complexity of real life as possible. They are an attempt to control the uncontrollable substance that is oil paint, and the equally untamable expression of the human condition.

Pushing around puddles of this almost living substance, I am endlessly defining and redefining the craft of oil painting to fabricate an animated, breathing image grounded in the recognizable and familiar. Since I am purposefully involved with the contemporary world, I always seek to merge it with a surface that is at once abstractly patterned and textured, and that combines a meticulous respect for realism with the power of the personal image to speak a universal language. I want the subject and its environment to collide through the use of echo and repetition to form a united composition. We are constantly bombarded visually and I hope to infuse my work with a way of engaging the viewer that is both evocatively silent and powerfully commanding.

The artists I have been most influenced by are quite diverse: Caravaggio, Velazquez, Egon Schiele and Kathe Kollwitz. Their paintings share both a profound respect and reverence for the individual with the power and the wisdom to explore those themes that haunt us – man’s strength, resilience, and sensuality together with the possession of an almost shocking clarity in this pursuit. I believe in the transformative powers of painting: that the luminosity of pigment and medium is as manifest as the surface of the soul."

MERIKE SULE-TRUBERT of Tartu, Estonia takes digital photo collage and a human quality and combines them to make a significant work entitled "The Strongest Love". The love of one's mother throughout life, is indeed important and quite meritorious.

A short statement from the artist about "The Strongest Love": "This work is simutaneously personal and universal, every viewer can see it either as a generalised symbol or as a personal experience. The love between a mother and a child is strong, unconditional and altruistic. This strong two-way bond is tied before the birth of the child, both positive and negative experiences enrich it. The direct source of inspiration is my own experience as a mother, I experience and share the strongest love every day."

BEN SUM of San Angelo, Texas studies himself and does a very nice self-portrait in his charcoal drawing appropriately titled "Ben". The hand opposite the eyeglasses together with the verticality of his hair, all work together quite well.

JONICA TRAMPOSCH of Colfax, Washington has some lovely animal pictures. The photograph "Achame by the Well" is somewhat unusual especially in terms of the perspective from below the head which regally advances up, framed by the blue sky. And a picture of a cat that is so beautiful as seen in her "Cat Eyes" shows the special markings of the fur and the complementary colors of the eyes and nose.

A brief statement about her work: "'Brief Statement: Both pieces are snapshots - two moments of what's become the photo journal of my life. "Achame by the Well" was taken when we stopped for water on Day 2 in the Moroccan Sahara. I felt I owed him a more flattering photo than one I timed the day before to demonstrate how camels chew sideways. "Cat Eyes" was taken during a hot, lazy afternoon when I was living in Tennessee."'

ANDREW VERHOECKX of Georgetown, Ontario, Canada paints a great lady in the work entitled "Miss Shanghai" with the wonder characteristic of her face, hair and outfit. The background helps to bring the lady forward with emphasis.

KEITH WALDRUM of Dallas, Texas gives the show a rare quality with his digital work in his "Psychedelic Martyr Rome, Italy Series". Of particular note is the work "Psychedelic Martyr 107 Rome, Italy" is especially dramatic with the centered face with the binding and the abstract patterning above the eyes.

A statement submitted by the artist: "While visiting Rome, Italy in 2014, I stopped at Michelangelo’s inspired Santa Maria degli Angeli Basilica. Inside the 15th century cathedral, a marble bust was being dramatically highlighted by the evening sun and redefined by the juxtapose shadows cast from the architectural elements from all corners of the impressive church. The colorful beams of light penetrated through the stunning stain glass windows and reflected off the surrounding precious metals and objects nearby. The sacred rays were distorted, crystallized, and joined together, creating a magnificent spectrum of bold lines, shapes, and textures that dazzled and caressed the bust’s marble surface. These haunting psychedelic shadows were not original characteristics of the artwork, but redefined its shape, meaning and artistic essence. When I shifted my stance, the bust, too, changed its flaming aura. It glowed with ever-changing shapes and colors, as if the head was suddenly filled with life. That evening I left the church so deeply touched and inspired by the visual extravaganza.

In the Psychedelic Martyr Series, I have documented my spiritual encounters with the bust, illustrating and reproducing some of the most, in my opinion, haunting imagery, expressions and bizarre rainbow markings that I witnessed during that incredible hot summer evening at the church in Rome, Italy."

CRAIG WALKOWICZ of Stevens Point, Wisconsin takes watercolor, ink and pencil to create a mysterious, rather skeletal structuring over a delicate blue background of a moving pattern.

A statement from the artist: "'In ‘Frostbite’ I’m exploring alternative ways to convey information. The overarching concept is ‘death by exposure to cold’ with which a straightforward depiction would depict a person frozen to death laying in the snow. In my version I broke this idea down into more purely symbolic elements; to depict the notion of ‘cold’ I have an overall color scheme of blue and white, the background is actually composed of crystallized patterns caused by freezing, and the little dark blue shapes are inspired by snowflakes. The representation of death is brought about by the overall skull design. At the bottom of the piece is my personal logo composed of my initials CCW."'

ROY ZENNER of Panama City, Florida does a handsome depiction of the American Indian in his torn paper collage entitled "American Original". The gentle smile and moreover the bright coloring with aspects of the American flag all make for a strikingly rich work. And his "Babbitt Cowboy" is another masterful collage work.

Thanks to all who were selected for this years 17th annual competition / exhibition. It is truly wonderful to showcase such fabulous talent!


Laurence Bradshaw
Curator, Professor of Art