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Lodi Spring Art Show bigger than ever

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Posted: Friday, May 4, 2012 7:44 am

Pastel. Watercolors. Gourd art. Sculpture. Photography. The Lodi Spring Art Show will present works from across the United States as it celebrates its 52nd event next weekend at Woodbridge Winery.

Here is a look at winners, including Best of Show and some first-place winners in some of the categories.

Betty Finch, Best of Show

Betty Finch is involved with her art in a way many artists can’t be. She begins, literally, from the ground, growing her own gourds and manipulating their shape so they can become pieces of one of her 3-D sculptures.

It’s a process that is unique, and won her the biggest award, Best of Show, at the Lodi Community Art Center’s Spring Art Show.

The Bakersfield resident has been been making gourd art for more than 20 years. She says she was born an artist, but went into law enforcement until retirement. She became Kern County’s first female bailiff, and eventually, first female homicide officer. Now she spends most of her time outside and in her studio, assembling differently shaped gourds together.

Mardie Dalzell Driftmier, first place, pastel

Mardie Dalzell Driftmier moved to Lodi from Boulder, Colo., a year and a half ago. Knowing little of Lodi or Stockton, she set up her easel in a corner of University of the Pacific and painted the Calaveras River that runs through. She was only exploring the campus that she found so beautiful, but it became the subject of her first place winning pastel, “Calaveras at North Pershing.”

Though Driftmier has been painting and doing art shows for 10 years, this was a different style of painting for her.

“This piece is a little unusual for me,” she said. “It’s an oil pastel and I’m used to chalk pastel.”

Jerrod Mays, first place, sculpture and three-dimensional

Jerrod Mays previously won best of show for his giant steel spider, and this year he has won first place for the octopus he made out of welded steel.

The entire sculpture is the size of a Volkswagen car, and there are 1,500 washers welded onto the tentacles that represent suction cups.

The head of the octopus is made from a propane bottle he had propped in his garage. The rest is made from hand-formed tubing.

The inspiration came from his visit to the Valley Sculpture Association.

“A lot of people paint and make them,” he said. “I said, ‘Well, I’ll make one.’”

Jeanie Vodden, first place, watercolor

Jeannie Vodden has been drawing since she was only 10 years old. Now, she is a professional artist with a love for portraits and colors.

Her painting “Aiden” won first place in the watercolor category.

It is a painting of one of her twin grandsons, Aiden, in the tall grasses of a Washington beach.

“I loved the idea of the wind and chill and all the grasses and his warm looking face,” she said.

Veronica Kovats, first place, acrylics

Veronica Kovats’s first place painting in the acrylic category, “Mujeres Zapatistas,” is one piece in her series that is raising awareness for the Zapatista Movement, a movement started by the indigenous people of Chiapas, Mexico, who are trying to defend their right to humanity and resist modernization.

She was also inspired by her sister, who dances with a group known as Women in Resistance. The group incorporates the ideology into the dancing.

Kovats has been painting since she took art classes in middle school. She continued in college, and studied art at California State University, Sacramento. She is planning to attend grad school at University of Delaware or University of Buffalo in New York, where she wants to study painting restoration.

She says it was shocking to find out she won, but hopes people can appreciate the message.

The Lodi Spring Art Show is May 12 and 13, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Woodbridge Winery, 5950 E. Woodbridge Road in Acampo. For information, visit or call 209-333-3855.

Contact Lodi Living editor Lauren Nelson at



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