Patricia Dummill Betteridge took a leap of faith, and it paid big dividends for the Independence artist.

Betteridge’s abstract still life is the winner of the Independence Art Association’s Best of Show award. She and other local artists, who won blue ribbons in their respective art fields, will be honored today from 5-7 p.m. at the 44th annual Independence Art Art Association Art Show at the Disabled American Veterans building, 14605 East U.S. 40.

Joining Betteridge in the spotlight are blue ribbon winners Jim Shaw, opaque; Carlos Benson, drawing; Colleen Latimer, water color; Roger Campbell, photography; and Pat Deeter, mixed media.

“This might sound a little bit crazy,” Betteridge said, chuckling, “but I learn something every time I start painting. With this still life, I painted around some of the objects, and they just appeared.

“They just came to life. The chair, for example, I thought about repainting it, but I didn’t, and I think it turned out well. I’m really happy with how the entire painting turned out and I’m so proud that it was named best of show.”

Early Thursday morning, Marcia Pugh, a founding member of the art collective Art Squared, located on the Independence Square, and a member of the Independence Art Association, was at the DAV to place ribbons on the award-winning entries.

While she takes great pride in area artists, she is also excited about a new showcase where they can display their work.

“Right here at the DAV,” Pugh said. “We have Art Squared up on the Square in Independence, and starting in August, we are going to have a gallery here in the DAV.

“Artists will be able to display their work for three months at a time. It’s going to be called the Mark Hope Gallery, after Mark – a late Independence artist who suffered from post traumatic stress disorder after he served in Vietnam. We have featured many of his drawings, and we are so excited to have the gallery and to have it named after Mark.”

Hope’s former wife, Colleen Latimer, who was honored for a water color piece, will run the gallery.

“Colleen is the perfect person to be in charge,” Pugh said. “I know what it means to her, especially since it is named after Mark.”

Shaw and Deeter were also on hand Thursday morning and, much like Pugh, are eager for tonight’s big event.

“I love the association and I can’t wait for tonight,” said Shaw, an on-site artist at Art Squared. “I’m really happy with my winning piece, ‘Hunting for Shade,’ which features two horses in the shade of a tree.

“I’ve had a lot of success painting horses lately and am honored to get the blue ribbon from our association. But I don’t do this for the accolades, I do it because I love it.”

Shaw proved that he has a sense of humor, too, as another piece he entered, which featured a still life of pears, is called “Three of a Kind Beat a Pear.”

Deeter said the annual event is special for many reasons.

“It’s just so much fun getting together with everyone,” Deeter said. “I love to look at all the different art, the different styles and the photographs. And we get to share it with everyone Friday night.”