Locally Acclaimed Artist Wins Official California Strawberry Festival Poster Contest

(The following is from a press release)

Sandra Gilmore#1Famed needlepoint illustrator Sandra Gilmore’s high-flying original strawberry design soared to top honors in the 2015 California Strawberry Festival Poster Contest. A crowd of dignitaries and festival sponsors gathered this week with the artist at Yolanda’s Mexican Café in Oxnard for the winning reveal that kicks off activities for the 32nd annual Festival celebration May 16 & 17.

The Woodland Hills native was awarded a $2,000 grand prize and will see her original design gracing 2015 California Strawberry Festival posters, t-shirts and collectible merchandise. This is a repeat performance for the artist whose image of a little girl coveting a bowl of strawberries was the signature poster in 2006.

“Our poster contest has become such a wonderful tradition of the Festival,” said Wendy Holder, California Strawberry Festival Chairperson. “It’s always exciting to see what new ideas artists come up with to capture the look and feel of our celebration, and this one really hits the mark.”

Gilmore’s whimsical original work features five hot air balloons shaped like strawberries soaring over rows of strawberry fields in Oxnard, framed by mountains in the background. Luscious, ripening strawberries cascade over the front of the design, irresistibly within reach for picking. After driving around Oxnard and taking in its unique elements of vast open spaces for agriculture, the ocean and awesome sunsets, she came up with an idea that would embrace that feeling. She first sketched the image, and then brought it to life using watercolors, color pencils and ink.

Creativity is the essence of everything Gilmore undertakes. Most of her work is in needlepoint where she creates up to 50 original designs each year for stitching on painted canvasses with the acclaimed company “Fleur de Paris.” She has more than 1,000 designs in her catalogue available throughout the United States, Canada and Australia. She also creates custom pieces for clients in oils, illustrations, website designs and cartoons.

At two years old, Gilmore was already drawing. It was her high school teacher Miss Wimmer, who gave her support and skills to pursue her passion. “She hired live models and encouraged us to draw like the classic artists,” Gilmore recalls. “I was really hooked.” Gilmore attended Cal State Northridge and the Art Center in Pasadena to receive a Bachelors of Art degree.

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This year’s poster

Gilmore has attended the California Strawberry Festival at least 10 times over the past decades. “I’m real excited with this win,” she said. “I love this Festival – it’s like a throw back to a time we don’t have anymore. I especially enjoy exploring the hundreds of fine arts & crafts booths and visiting with the artists. “

The California Strawberry Festival May 16, 17, 2015 features 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 on 15 acres of scenic parkland. (3250 S. Rose Avenue, Oxnard)

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. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The free Park & Ride “Strawberry Express” shuttles from convenient locations off the 101 Fwy save patrons time and money. Parking on site is $10. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.strawberry-fest.org. Info toll free at 888 288-9242.

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