The ceramic sculpture “Phineas Finch” by Mike O’Day won first place in the 3D category at the 41st annual Arts of the Terrace.

The ceramic sculpture “Phineas Finch” by Mike O’Day won first place in the 3D category at the 41st annual Arts of the Terrace.

Whimsy abounds in winners of Mountlake Terrace juried art show

The 41st annual event runs from Sept. 21 to Oct. 5 at the Mountlake Terrace Library.

Ceramic artist Mike O’Day loves to make whimsical creatures. If they get a laugh, he’s happy.

One of his latest works, titled “Phineas Finch,” is a bird dressed in an aviator’s scarf and goggles, flying a plane painted to look like a bird.

“People think that’s hilarious,” O’Day said. “I love the craziness of that. It kind of appeals to me.”

O’Day, 57, of Brier, is among this year’s winners of the 41st annual Arts of the Terrace, one of the region’s major juried art shows.

Artists vie for awards and $5,000 in prizes in six categories: paintings, prints and drawing; 3D; miniatures; photography; artisan’s works and calligraphy. “Phineas Finch” won first place in the 3D category.

The event, sponsored by the Mountlake Terrace Arts Commission and the Friends of the Arts, is Sept. 21 through Oct. 5 at Mountlake Terrace Library.

A former cartoonist, O’Day has been working in ceramics since 2004. He has shown his award-winning work at Arts of the Terrace, Edmonds Arts Festival and the Edmonds Art Studio Tour, an annual self-guided tour set for Sept. 21-22 this year.

“Phineas Finch” was inspired by Dr. Seuss and Maurice Sendak, whose children’s books have influenced O’Day’s work. He also drew on childhood experiences.

“When I was younger, I did a lot of model plane building,” he said. “This was kind of easy for me to form a cartoon creature in a strange-looking plane.”

This year’s artists on exhibit at the Arts of the Terrace are from Snohomish, Skagit and King counties, and as far away as Idaho, Michigan and Florida.

A record 170 artists entered 348 pieces — some of them works unlike anything the festival had previously seen.

“This is the first year I’ve had robots in the show,” said Judy Ryan, chairwoman of the city’s Arts Advisory Commission. “It’s pretty fun. I haven’t seen that before.”

Terrace’s Jerry Steffen Jr. was awarded first place for “Mountlake Terrace School Bus.” His three-dimensional paper cutting art shows kids making silly faces out the windows of a school bus.

The painting “Harmony” by Everett’s Barbara Freeman took second place in its category. It shows a mythical woman with long, pointy ears whose hair grows from tree roots above her. Two crows also sit on top of her head.

“Space Cadet” by Brier’s Lori Knight received an honorable mention. The robot, which functions as a USB charging portal, resembles robots from 1950s pop culture.

Mark Seeger of Mountlake Terrace received an honorable mention for his robot, “Go Go Seeger Bot.” The robot, standing inside an old hurricane lamp, is made of metal kitchen tools such as tea strainers and measuring spoons.

Other Snohomish County winners are Lynn Garka of Snohomish, Janet Graham and Renee Roberts of Mountlake Terrace, Ginger Gray and Bob Sears of Edmonds and Gail Martinez of Everett.

Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, Twitter: @ByEvanThompson.

If you go

The Arts of the Terrace juried art show is Sept. 21 through Oct. 5 at the Mountlake Terrace Library, 23300 58th Ave. W. The library is open from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Go to for more information.

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