Isolation Contest: The Winners

This is such a strange era in history, a time when nearly everyone in the world is finding their routine disrupted. Though we are separated, we are dealing with it together.

We are asked to live in lockdown, to shelter in place, to isolate ourselves from friends and loved ones. But in that quarantined state, we might have constant company, children, parents, spouses, siblings, all locked together in a small space, until we find ourselves quoting Jane Fairfax in saying, "Oh! Miss Woodhouse, the comfort of being sometimes alone."

Artspan artists examine the complexities of Isolation, and capture the many facets of the concept. We had an unprecedented number of entries. Ordinarily we'd pare them down further, to end up with only 5 winners, but we had so many beautiful entries this time, and we thought what the world could use now is more art. We also set a limit of three entries this time, and in several cases, the three images were so perfect together we included all of them.

See the collection of all entries here.

Grand Prize Winner: Samuel Miller

Samuel Miller
Sunlight From the Garden

Light Box Containing 3D Sculpture

Samuel Miller's ingenious, unusual Light Box sculpture captures a moment of contemplation, with clear soft light from the garden glowing on the warm woodwork. The subject is rendered in a neo-impressionistic style and painting technique, but in three dimensions and with forced perspective. There's a hint of melancholy or even loneliness in the woman's posture, but also a real sense of peace. This seemed like a perfect encapsulation of the idea of solitude, in its pleasure and its hint of sorrow.k


Pia De Girolamo 

16" X 24" (each)
Acrylic on Canvas

Pia De Girolamo's gorgeous triptych of abstracts evoke the many shades of mood we go through day-in/day-out in isolation. They're "emblematic of our social distancing, and in particular, the situation in my house where there are three of us, my husband, one of my sons and myself. We were all social distancing for 14 days for various reasons when this lockdown started and now still go off to the places we have staked out in the house to work from home."



Melissa Van Der Post
My Immigrant, 1, 2, and 3

36" X 24"
Oil and Charcoal on Recycled Canvas
Melissa Van Der Post's gorgeously rendered paintings create questions about the subject. Where does he come from, where is he going, why the suitcase? There's something beautifully expressive about his face and his posture, and a real sense of his aloneness in the frame.


Juan Flores
High Sierra Camping

Acrylic on Canvas 

Juan Flores uses intense colors to turn vanishing memories into vivid images and to recapture a fading dream or a distant event. In this vibrant painting of a campsite in the High Sierras, he captures the magic of being alone in the wilderness at night...the glow of your own fire marking your space in the vastness of trees, water, and sky.

Kim Kimbro
The Invisible

24" X 24"
Oil On  Canvas 

Kim Kimbro's poetic painting "The Invisible" is beautiful and complex, there's something whimsical and childlike about it, it's pretty, but somehow worrying. It seems a symbol of our strange times, raising questions that might not have answers.

Joann Tomsche
Morning Walk

40" x 30"
Acrylic on Primed Stretched Canvas

These images are from "a series I've been painting during the pandemic that I think of as the Road and Paths series. 

"As these paintings emerge they ask the questions 'where does the path lead?' 'where do we go from here?'  The series began in the aftermath of both my parents sudden and unexpected deaths. They continue to evolve now in this current moment of worldwide pandemic. But I think these are also the eternal questions we face as we move through life as humans.

"My thoughts are centered around entering, moving forward, seeing a future horizon--both literally and figuratively--and also witnessing the potential beauty, grace and love available in this moment."

G Wheeler Photography

B& W Photograph 

Porches and balconies represent a sort of indoor-outdoor world. You're alone on your property, but you can see the world, and the world can see you. During lockdowns in countries around the world, porches and balconies have provided a much-needed way to engage with our neighbors while keeping a safe distance. G Wheeler's black and white photograph shows a man enjoying a moment to himself on his balcony.

Joan Proudman
Left Behind

Fine Art Print

"Well, they are gone, and here must I remain.....

-Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Lorri St Claire

Painting on Raised Canvas
14" X 11" 

The subject of this painting stands on the edge of a cliff with no other sign of human life nearby. It's a thrilling, frightening feeling. We're all on the edge of something unknown at the moment.

Marvin Smith
Shikantaza 251 (Dissolution)(2020)

48" x 39" 
Oil Painting

"Shikantaza is a Zen mediation practice of actualizing of Emptiness. We watch the mind… thoughts come and go... no judgments are made. Non-figurative images arise: clouds, color fields, single thoughts that disturb the silence of field, space without context. Questions arise: Who watches? From where do these images arise? Is emptiness  the ultimate blank canvas seeking creation."

Running Blue Boy
Lynda McClanahan
Blue Boy Series
Oil Enamel
McClanahan's beautifully rendered, enigmatic tryptich explores themes of confinement and release. Her distinctive style imbues the story with a timeless iconographic quality.

Peg Grady
Shelter in Space

Embroidery on Linen
8" X 10"

Sometimes it feels that we're all floating into the unknown these days.