"The light is always changing; you're painting a shadow and then it's gone," she said.
Before announcing their choices Monday night, judges Rebecca Weber, artist and owner of Still Life Gallery, and Michael Bare, plein air artist and Baltimore County art teacher, told the gathering of about 80 artists and onlookers that they actually agreed on the winners.
"I first thought there'd be one painting that would jump out at me," said Bare, joking that he'd "divide the prize money among all of you if I could, but then you'd only each get $11.14."
Weber said they admired the artists for taking risks and for creating art with strong composition and color that also said something about Ellicott City.
"It's community-building," she said simply.
West said she was very impressed with the quality and range of the work and pointed out that the paintings are also for sale.
"Most of them are in the $200 to $300 range, which makes them really affordable," she said. "These works of art aren't intended to sit in the artists' closets, but are meant to go back out into the community."
If you go
The exhibit of juried artwork from "Paint It! Ellicott City" will continue at the Howard County Arts Council, 8510 High Ridge Road in Ellicott City, through Oct. 15. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. All entries are for sale. Information: 410-313-2787.
Winners of "Paint It! Ellicott City"
Top prize: Mark Coates, David Diaz
Honorable mentions: Jaye Ayres, Rita Curtis, Eberhard Froehlich, William David Simmons.
Blossoms of Hope Awards for Best Depiction of Nature: Janice Kirsh, Hiu Lai Chong.
Directors' Choice (nonjuried artists): Maria Marino, Bill Wilson