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Art show is part of Almond Blossom Festival
Art Show set up DSC 7326
Deb Tornell was busy setting up the Almond Blossoms Mary Lou Tornell Art Show Monday morning. The large sandwich at left was painted by Donna Van Groningen and entitled, Sub. The explosive waves crashing on the ocean rocks, is the work of Chris Noonan. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

The annual Mary Lou Tornell Art Show opened Monday afternoon as part of the Ripon Almond Blossom Almond Blossom Festival drawing some 42 entries in acrylics, pastels, pencils, charcoals and water colors that can be viewed this week in the Ripon Community Center on Fourth Street.
Show hours are  2 until 8 .m. today with an artists’ reception from 6 to 8 p.m.  Wednesday the art show opens at 10 and continues until 8 p.m. Thursday the doors will be open from 2 until 8 p.m. and Friday 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. 
The late Mary Lou Tornell would have been proud to see the entries from the Ripon community.  They went to the youngest at 15 for Best of Show and a First Place Award to Mackenzie Brown to the student for her photography and to self-taught artist Jack Brown for his color pencil drawing of an artesian at work – also garnering a first place.
Brown’s artistic creations date back to his childhood days when he was inspired to become a Disney cartoonist – also teaching a class in art for the youth of his day.  He said he found working with pencil to be the most challenging form of his artistic endeavors. Other entries in the Ripon show by Brown included, “Black Smith,” “Maine Lighthouse,” “Crying Out,” and “Mendocino.”
Second place in use of the pencil medium was Ann Endress and third again was Jack Brown.
In the painting category Donna Van Groningen-Slayter took first, Chris Noonan second and Trish Hickman third. Honorable mentions went to Donna Van Groningen-Slayter, Christ Noonan and Trish Hickman.
Photography ribbons went to Joni Van Groningen in first place, Ken Newburg, second place and Joni Van Groningen again for a third place award.
A first place ribbon in the digital category was presented to Anna Barber.  In the Miscellaneous category, Ann Endres took first place honors with a second place ribbon going to Debbie Newburg and third to Shirley Sharp. 
Student art saw first, second place and third place ribbons going to Mackenzie Brown for her entries in the high school category.  Those entering their artworks from the seventh and eighth grades included Mikayla Gillotte, first; Edward Tavizon, second and Alex Tavizon with a third place ribbon.
Those judged Best of Show received $50 each and First Place winners were given $25 each.  Second, third and honorable mentions received a ribbon on their entry. 
Mary Lou Tornell passed away some six years ago and the show has been held in her name under the guidance of her daughter Deb, who had long been the one to set up her mom’s many art shows.
Tornell was a Ripon High School art teacher receiving her BA and Special Secondary Credential in Art from the University of Redlands.  For many years she worked in her ceramic studio making one-of-a-kind handmade containers.  Garden Club members throughout the U.S. used those containers to create their own prize winning floral designs.
A desire to paint led her to watercolor classes with Dan Peterson at Modesto Junior College in addition to workshops with renowned artists such as Rex Brandt, Robert E. Wood, George Post, Gerald Brommer, Frank Webb, Barbara Nechis, Alexander Napote and many others who helped the Riponite develop her skills as well as her own style.
Tornell had been accepted to numerous juried shows from Madera to Lodi and in San Francisco to Sonora.  Awards she received include two Best of Shows and numerous first to third place ratings.  She was a member of the Society of Western Artists and received their Signature Award in 1996.  Many of her paintings hang in homes and offices throughout the Central Valley.
A featured artist and judge of the show, “Chella,” is a graduate of Ball State University with a Bachelor of Science in Art Education.  She came to California in 1956 and over more than 50 years teaching she exhibited and won many awards with her own work in competitive regional and national art shows.

To contact Glenn Kahl, email