Intuitive artist takes Best of Show in Petrolia


Regina Gudelis paints with her emotions.

It seems to work for the Sarnia woman who took Best of Show in the Third Annual Juried Art Show by the Victoria Hall Art Committee.

Gudelis’ painting Frosty was one of five honoured at the opening of the exhibit Sunday.

Gudelis is an intuitive painter which means she doesn’t begin with an idea of what she wants to paint, she just starts expressing herself on canvas.

Gudelis painted Frosty in Florida where she was visiting a friend who has a studio in her horse barn. Gudelis loves the animals and spent a lot of time feeding carrots to one horse in particular – Frosty.

So when she got out her acrylics to begin working, her friend noticed the horse’s face in her work. “Intuitively the horse come out…the things you love or the things you experience come out (in intuitive painting) so it’s not a complete surprise …since I love horses.”

Judge Mary Abma wrote that one of the things they looked for was work that “drew people in to look more deeply.” Gudelis abstract work would certainly do that. And she admits sometimes when people are looking, they’re not sure what all the fuss is about. She’s even had people tell her a five-year-old child could paint intuitively.

But Gudelis says it is not as easy as it looks. “It is mostly emotional. Art gets too structured sometimes – there are some very good realistic paintings…but to be an intuitive painter is to be a child, to really enjoy art and be free.”

The prize could be considered a comeback for Gudelis. She had competed in many art shows in the past, taking home prizes however in the last two years she’s had several medical setbacks, including a broken shoulder, which curtailed her work. She says winning Best of Show in Petrolia is a pleasant surprise after such a long time.

Four other works were singled out from the 64 submitted for competition. Bill Walters took Best Acrylic/Oil with Drawn to Thistles and Queen Anne’s Lace. Walters won best of show last year.

Toronto artist Dan Bazuin won Best Mixed Media with Secret Swim of the Convalescent.

Rosanne Leystra – who had show in Victoria Hall this summer – won Best Watercolour for The Decision.

And Wyoming artist Manon Adams received an Honourable Mention for My Camino.

All of the submitted art can be seen at Victoria Hall during regular business hours and during special events until mid-November.

Visitors are also invited to choose their favourite artwork which will be given the People’s Choice Award at the close of the show.