Watercolorist Eileen Maloney combined her passion for vibrant colors with her love of strawberries to capture the coveted honor as this year’s winner of the 33rd Annual California Strawberry Festival Poster Contest. Dignitaries and festival sponsors gathered at Yolanda’s Mexican Café in Oxnard for the winning reveal that kicks off activities for the 2016 celebration scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, May 21 and 22, 2016, at Strawberry Meadows at College Park, 3250 South Rose Avenue, Oxnard. Hours for the festival are 10 AM to 6:30 PM on both days.
It was a sweet victory for the Camarillo resident who submitted works for the past five years, and this year went home with the $2,000 prize. Her creation will adorn festival posters, T-shirts and collectible merchandise.
“Practice makes perfect, and each year I got better at capturing the color and texture of the strawberries, so it was a necessary evolution to get me to this point,” said Maloney.
“The judging committee is always anxious to see what new ideas each artist comes up with to capture the look and feel of our celebration,” said Kim Gibas, California Strawberry Festival Chairperson. “Eileen’s colorful creation was a standout with its intricate and clever design,” added Gibas.
Maloney’s artwork features a sweeping assortment of strawberries scattered along a colorful rainbow. In the foreground, paint brushes and an artist’s palette filled with a rainbow of strawberries in yellow, orange, red, green, blue and purple, offer up the colors for a “work in progress” painting of the ripened berries. To depict the various sizes and shapes of the strawberries Maloney laid out the fruit to get the shadowing just right.
Maloney’s enthusiasm for art began in middle school where she was always busy sketching. After graduating from the University of Southern California with a degree in Elementary Education, she taught 4th grade and always included art in her student curriculum. Maloney fine-tuned her skills with watercolor workshops and classes. She also worked in commercial art for five years, and even did some set painting for the Camarillo Community Theater.
Her husband of 37 years is very supportive of her artistic talents. Maloney belongs to the Thousand Oaks Art Association and Studio Channel Islands Art Center. She has won awards in a number of their juried shows.
“I love to eat strawberries so I can’t wait until this year’s California Strawberry Festival,” said Maloney. “It will be exciting to see my work representing the festival.”
The poster will be available for purchase in advance of the festival at the Studio Gallery at the Channel Islands Harbor. The California Strawberry Festival will feature more than 50 food booths with all things berry, live concerts, gooey contests, Strawberryland for Kids with rides and attractions, hundreds of fine arts & crafts, celebrity cooking demonstrations, and more, all located on 15 acres of scenic parkland.
Festival general admission is $12, seniors 62+ are $8, and children ages 5-12 are $5. Kids 4 and under are free. Active military and dependents with ID are $8.
The Park & Ride Strawberry Express, presented by Sleep Number, will offer free shuttle service to and from the festival from convenient locations located off the Ventura 101 Freeway. Parking on site is $10. Advance tickets are now available for purchase online via the festival website here.
Festival toll free info