Santa Cruz Artist Mary Karlton Awarded First Prize in California Pomegranate Festival Art Exhibit

Santa Cruz artist, Mary Karlton, was awarded first prize for her painting entitled “How Are You M’Lord?” by the Madera County Arts Council’s Celebrate Agriculture with the Arts juried art exhibition, Pomegranate Festival category.
Oct. 10, 2012 - PRLog -- SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – October 9, 2012 – Santa Cruz artist, Mary Karlton, was awarded first prize for her painting entitled “How Are You M’Lord?” by the Madera County Arts Council’s Celebrate Agriculture with the Arts juried art exhibition, Pomegranate Festival category. The annual art exhibit is currently being held at the Circle Gallery in Madera. According to 2012 exhibition judge Jerome Grimmer, renowned painter and art educator, Ms. Karlton’s painting displays “great use of the elements and principles of design” and “brings an awareness that helps us see things differently.”

On display are two of Ms. Karlton’s figurative paintings from her “Pomegranate Portrait” Series, both of which proved extremely popular on the night of the gallery’s opening reception. Ms. Karlton’s piece, “How Are You M’Lord?” was especially admired and was awarded first prize for its vibrant celebration of the pomegranate. The pomegranate not only holds special significance to the agricultural community of Madera, it has also been imbued with deep symbolic and mystical significance by cultures all over the world since ancient times. With its abundant seeds and sweet ruby red juice, this fruit symbolizes fertility, prosperity, royalty, and marriage.

Ms. Karlton’s painting is an homage to the late Frank Snell of Santa Cruz, medical professional in the US Army who served in Vietnam, educator, world traveler, and benefactor. The pomegranate held special significance to Mr. Snell as well, as he had had hoped to publish a book about his life experiences which he planned to call “The Pomegranate.” The project was cut short by his untimely death. Ms. Karlton’s portrait of Frank is the keystone piece for her ongoing “Pomegranate Portrait” series of bright and lively portraits of individuals from all walks of life and diverse ethnic backgrounds.

Also on display at the Circle Gallery is Ms. Karlton’s painting entitled Kynthia, which, in a similar style, features a sleeping young female figure that represents the Greek goddess, Artemis, or Kynthia, holding a pomegranate in her hand and dreaming of her lover, symbolized by a stag.  These works as well as many others will be on display at the Circle Gallery until November 17.  For more information about Celebrate Agriculture with the Arts and the Madera County Arts Council, visit

About Mary Karlton
Mary Karlton studied painting and printmaking in Chicago, San Francisco, and Santa Fe. Her style is eclectic with highly textured works that combine elements of collage, photography, and abstraction. She is captivated by the versatility and expressive potential of acrylic media. Her heroes in the art world are multifaceted and innovative - DaVinci, Lautrec, Van Gogh, Picasso, Dali, Magritte, Klimt, Kandinsky, Schiele, DeKoonig, and Richter.

Her work has been included in a wide array of exhibitions in Northern and Southern California, including various books, galleries, and wine labels.

Recently, her acrylic painting “Anima,” a timeless rendering of the female archetype, was honored by placing in the Top 5 from more than 700 submissions for the Light, Space, and Time Gallery’s juried 2012 Figurative Art Competition.

Mary lives and paints in the scenic coastal town of Santa Cruz, CA with her husband, musician and photographer Peter Sterbach. To learn more about Mary Karlton or to view her online gallery of artwork, please visit

About Madera County Arts Council’s Annual Celebrate Agriculture with the Arts Showing
Originally funded by a grant from the California Arts Council, Celebrate Agriculture with the Arts has been a tradition and source of local pride in Madera County for nearly 20 years. Though it has since lost its government funding, various donors and volunteers have come through to keep the event moving forward year by year. 2012 saw the introduction of a Pomegranate Festival category to honor one of the key crops in the region, as well as the first ever photography section entitled Celebrating Agriculture… the Human Factor. Despite its initial financial setbacks, more than one member of the Madera County Arts Council has voiced the opinion that 2012 is Celebrate Agriculture with the Arts’ best year yet.

For this year’s list of winners, or for more information about the Circle Gallery, “Celebrate Agriculture with the Arts,” or the Madera County Arts Council, please visit
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