Once prizes were handed out in each category, focus turned to the award for Best in Show. The award went to Nita Cagle’s “Stepping Out.”
The painting originated from a photo she found of a black man dressed up who appeared to be ready to go out somewhere.
“I just love that red tie, the way his hat was slightly tilted and just the way he looked,” explained Cagle. “To me, it looked like he was on his way to church.”
Funny thing was, it was almost not entered.
Cagle’s daughter received a call about the competition to see if Cagle had any entries for it. So, while her mother was out of state, she found the painting in her mom’s studio and entered it.
“I asked her, ‘You got that one?’,” said Cagle. “To me the eyes weren’t done yet, but my daughter said that Mitt [DeSpain] approved so I said it was alright.”
DeSpain is both Cagle’s friend and watercolor teacher.
Cagle moved to Carencro four years ago from Arizona. She says her family came rescue her from the state following her husband’s death even though she didn’t realize she need rescuing until sometimes after.
Cagle began painting in 1986 following her second marriage in 1985.
“I had more time to myself, to do more things like that and I had a husband who was supportive of those things,” she said.
Many artists who participated in the competition admired each others paintings. Cagle was no different.
“I had so many favorites myself,” she said. “I think it’s the best show we’ve ever had.”
She was also very shocked to find that her “not finished” painting won top prize.
“I was honored and just couldn’t believe it, part of me kept thinking they had made a mistake.”
Cagle was equally shocked the night of the gala that many of her family and friends came to support and congratulate her.
“I just can’t believe they came. They’re all so busy, so for them to come, it’s just amazing. I was just totally blown away when this happened.”
She has entered four or five competitions at The Gallery and has been a familiar face for four years at the Crowley gallery.
“I love this little gallery, and Robert [Baxter] has done a wonderful job, although he’ll never say it.”
“You know we have competitions like this one, but they’re friendly competitions. It’s kind of like a family here,” she added.
Baxter, Crowley Art Association (CAA) president, in his introduction stated that the CAA is in the consideration as a top five small art association in the state.
Cayla Zeek won Best in Show, Children/High School. This was Zeek’s last year as a participant in the younger ranks. Baxter jokingly warned other artists to watch out next year with Zeek moving up.
Cagle’s painting won first prize in the Portraits category and Zeek’s piece was awarded first place in the High School category.