Results of the blirthday contest!

According to the best traditions of my college life, I am posting the results of my blirthday photo contest at the last moment. Thank you to all who participated! I enjoyed "meeting" and getting to know you a little better through your pictures and emails. I would love to give every one of you a free painting...But I won't :) The free painting goes to Elza Metzelaar and her dog Athena: athena dog

I love the warm, comfortable colors of this photo, the inviting background, the flower bandanna, and, of course, Athena's expression! Congratulations!

And this could be all except that I was having such a hard time picking one photo, I had to at least do a 2nd and 3d place. So, please cheer for the runners-up!!!

little girl with toys

2nd place goes to Katie and her "grand-darling" :) I love the pose and, paradoxically, the lighting. I am going to make a portrait-a-day painting based on this photo and offer Katie a discounted price on the painting and prints made from it. Katie is a talented photographer and actually has a very nice collection of photos on Flickr, each of which would make a good painting.

blooming cacti

3d place! I promise I am not biased, but this is also Elza Metzelaar :). Needless to say, I could not resist the juicy colors and I will be painting this on Yupo. Elza will have an opportunity to order discounted prints (if, of course, it turns out well!).

young girl face

And, finally, there's Crystal. Remember me asking for the stories behind the pictures? It is a sad story and really, something more like a community service award...It goes to A.J. Foran, Crystal's mom.

Crystal died in a car accident in 2007 at the age of 19, here in Helendale, California. Since the death of her daughter, A.J. has turned her grief into giving. She has held a toy drive every year since, donating the toys to the California Highway Patrol. She works tirelessly, sitting out in freezing weather to get donations. This year, she raised over $3,000! The CHP said that she provided 25% of the toys given out to kids in the entire high desert by the CHP! She does this in memory of her daughter.

I would like to give A.J. a painting of Crystal. A very small token of my sympathy, respect and appreciation that is shared by many Silver Lakes residents.

And please, PLEASE  buckle up!