Show Judges

Wayne Conyers 2017 Show Judge

-Retyped from orginal news article.-

The judge of the 2017 Russell Original Art Review is Wayne Conyers, professor of art in McPherson (Kansas) College's Visual Arts Department.

Conyers is entering his 34th year of teaching at McPherson College in McPherson, KS. He has served as chair of the Visual Arts Department at McPherson College for 19 of those years, overseeing the evolution of the curriculum for four different "tracks" in the art department, and playing a major role in the recruiting of art majors. Conyers began his teaching career at the high school level in 1974, teaching art as a one-person department for 10 years in Baldwin, KS.

Conyers has taught a wide range of classes in drawing, painting, ceramics, art education, concentrated studies, and senior concentration. In addition, he curates art exhibitions for McPherson College's Friendship Hall Gallery. His most ambitious accomplishment at McPherson College was laying the foundation for a vibrant, expanding graphic-design program, which is now in its 17th year. He was also instrumental in creating the Art Restoration Design program, a hybrid major which combines the technology and visual arts departments.

Conyers has exhibited his watercolor paintings and his functional pottery extensively at the local, regional, and national levels. His work has received numerous awards, and his paintings can be found in private, corporate, and museum collections. In April 2010, Conyers experienced his first international show in Tokyo, traveling to Japan as a member of an American delegation of contemporary watercolorists. In 2014, he was part of an international water-media exhibition in Seoul, South Korea. He has been a participant in 78 exhibitions, both invitational and juried, during the past ten years. Hes has twice been named "Professor of the Year" at McPherson College. Recently, the Kansas Art Education Association named Conyers as the "2017 Outstanding Art Educator-Higher Education."

Conyers enjoys being a juror for exhibitions. For the past 12 years, Conyers has juried at least one high school league contest each year, and numerous college/university student exhibitions. He has served twice on a panel of jurors for the Kansas Governor's Outstanding Artists, and three time on a panel of jurors for the Bradley Fair Art Festival in Wichita. On the national level, Conyers and two other artists juried the Winter Park National Art Festival, 12 miles north of Orlando Fla.

Conyers was born in 1952 in Wichita and was raised in Marion, Kan., graduating from Marion High School in 1970 as valedictorian. Conyers earned his BA in art (teaching licensure) from Bethany College (1974), his MA in painting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (1981), and his MFA in painting from Fort Hays State University (1997).

Beth Myers 2016 Show Judge

The Russell Original Art Review (ROAR) judge for 2016 is Beth Myers, a veteran art educator recently retired from the Little River USD 444 School District. Myers has Bachelor degrees in K-12 art and physical education from Central Missouri State University and a Master's in Education with an Emphasis in Art from Emporia State University.

Shortly after graduating college in 1984, Myers began her first teaching job for the Little River School District. She remained with the district her entire teaching career, and during her 31 year career, amassed an impressive list of distinctions and awards for her art students. The Little River art program has become synonymous with outstanding artwork, due in large part to Myers encouraging her students to share their artwork with local, regional, national, and even international audiences.

"I estimate we've entered around 300 art shows," Myers says, adding, "Our Little River students would enter anywhere from 8 to 120 pieces often winning awards on over half of their entries."

Meyers said it is hard to pick a favorite student, a favorite show, or a favorite entry, because the list is so long. Some of the highlights of her career include:

  • 16 years participating in the ROAR show, winning numerous awards, including the Art Priddy Remembrance Award and the Trudy Furney Award. Students sold numerous pieces at the ROAR show throughout the years.
  • Four times her students have won "Best of Show" at the First Congressional Art Competition. Each of the works represented the state of Kansas and were exhibited in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington D.C. for a year.
  • A "Best of Show" winner at the American Royal Art Competition. The piece was auctioned off at a reception and brought $2,200.
  • Three students were selected to study photography at the Dublin University of Photography in Ireland in the summer of 2004. Myers accompanied the students to Ireland.

But perhaps the accomplishment of which Myers is proudest is that 67 of her former students have chosen a career in the field of art and are successful in those careers. I stay in touch with many of my former students, and it's so rewarding to see their successes in the field of art," Myers says.

Myers and her husband, Loren, live on a farm in rural Little River, and now retired, you can usually find Myers fishing in the streams or ponds near her farm or on nearby Wilson Lake.

Todd Matson 2015 Show Judge

Todd Matson, 55, Furley, Kan., is the judge of the 2015 Russell Original Review. Matson has judged about a dozen art shows over the years, and the ROAR committee invited him to judge this year's event.

Matson was born in Wichita and grew up in Valley Center. He has been drawing since he was a child. "I liked to draw as a kid, and I never got over it," Matson said. He took art classes in middle and high school in Valley Center and also took art classes as a student at Wichita State University.

Matson has been a full-time artist for 23 years, during which time he has focused on oil painting. He said oil paints are the artistic medium which works best for him.

He describes his subjects as "a little bit of everything, mostly landscapes." However, he also does portraits, figures, and still-lifes. Up until two and-a-half years ago, when he set up his own studio, he had done mostly plein-air landscape painting, which means painting outdoors on scene.

During Matson's early period as a full-time artist, his children were going through public school, and so he only occasionally traveled more than 25 miles from his home in Valley Center. However, after his youngest child grew up and moved out of the family home, Matson started driving around and doing painting. He's been as far east in the United States as the hills in eastern Ohio. Also, he spent six years driving around in New Mexico, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah.

Furthermore, Matson has travelled three times to France for two months each. Those were all working trips, during which time he made and sold paintings. He painted the scenes which he saw, such as landscapes and architecture.

Subjects which he paints in Kansas are mostly landscapes, with emphasis on capturing the effects of weather on the scenes. Matson likes to paint a variety of landscapes. He said, "Too much of anything gets boring."

He still likes to paint outdoors; but, since two and half year ago when he set up his own studio, he doesn't need to travel around so much.

Also, he said, "I can do some things in the studio that I just couldn't do when I was driving around. Size is the main thing -- when I was doing plein-air paintings, I was limited to a relatively small format. There are some people who can do fairly large paintings plein air in two or three hours, but it never worked for me. Having my own studio seemed like a natural step."

He commented studio paintings have a certain look to them, and plein-air paintings have a certain look to them, and it's fairly easy to look at a painting and tell if it was done all at once in an hour or two hours, as in plein air, or an artwork which has been painted in a studio over the course of, say, a week.

When asked to describe his painting style, Matson said, "When I'm in the middle of painting, I don't really pay a lot of attention to technique. I'm just doing what I do. I'm just reacting to the subject matter. The paintings are what they are." When I'm outside painting and the sun is moving, I've got to get the picture done or the light will change. The day looks completely different an hour later. That's the 'press' -- You have to get it done or you won't have the same light you started with. It's got to be done fast; you've got to get done."

Rosella (Hiebert) Ogg 2014 Show Judge


BA; MA in Painting, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 1958; 1983

Sabbatical, Rochester Institute of Technology, computer graphics 1980

Artist in Residency, Hospitalfield House, Arbroath, Scotland, 2006

Attended public schools in McPherson, Kansas. Graduated from K-State and with my husband returned to teach in the school system in McPherson,KS, for six years 1958-1964. Returned to Kansas State University to teach for the next 34 years, 1965-1999. Taught classes in drawing, design, art education, computer graphics and painting. Taught two student residencies for Kansas State in Arbroath, Scotland, 1998, 2000.

Throughout my time as a public school instructor and at Kansas State I have continued to explore painting in oil, acrylic, and water media. My early training came during the years of abstract expressionism and this style continues to be a strong influence in my creative process. For a period of six years I explored the art of papermaking using pulp to create texture and relief interest. This exploration led to conducting workshops in papermaking in several locations. The last twenty years I have been using transparent media in unusual combinations of landscape and still life images.

I was granted an artist's residency in Hospitalfield House, Arbroath, Scotland in 2006. Arborath is located on the North Sea and provided new and unusual visual information. I used this residency to find renewed focus for my current work and was excited to find that the creative process was still a challenge and a pleasure.


My work has been exhibited in many regional galleries both juried and invitational. My most recent exhibition was in the McPherson Opera House, McPherson, KS.

I usually work in series, i.e. 'tiescapes'; 'stillscapes'; 'Hospitalfield'; and, the paintings are usually about color and line and are about combining unusual motifs. Using a landscape orientation allows me to remain connected to my environment and to echo the rhythms and contrasts that I observe. My interpretation of these elements attempts to communicate an optimism and enthusiasm for life.

J. Alex Potter 2013 Show Judge

Joan Alex Potter was born in 1945. She earned her BFA in printmaking and sculpture from Virginia Common Wealth University. These days she can be found in rural Hutchinson, Kansas. She loves the physicality and directness of pastels; "The process is almost alchemical. The pastels come from the ground in the form of pure pigment. Then they transmute once they get to the surface. And I get to touch them in my hand." Potter exercises careful control to ensure command in value, in dark and light - which to her is the most important thing in painting.

J. Alex Potter, KA, PSA has consistently won national and regional awards for her artwork. Her pastels are included in the book, "Best of Pastels", as well as featured in magazines that include Southwest Art, Focus Santa Fe, American Artist, The Artist's Magazine and Pastel Artist International. She was a winner of a Mid-America Arts Alliance/National Endowment for the Arts Grant and a Kansas Arts Commission Developmental Grant, and was the subject of a MacNeill/Leher News Hour PBS television program. She holds prestigious signature memberships with Knickerbocker Artists, USA and the Pastel Society of America, and was honored as Master Pastellist by the Kansas Pastel Society.