Artists / Judges Bio's



Beth Dean, a Mississippi native, has painted since early childhood.  She studied under many local artists and was classically trained in her fine arts education.  She holds a BA in Interior Design, and elected emphasis in Renaissance Art History.  After college, Bath had a commercial interior design career for over twenty years. Always vowing to “go back to painting.” Beth committed herself to fulfilling that desire to become a professional artist in 1998.  Beth paints in oil to create her impressionistic paintings.  She draws inspiration from her native Mississippi and the Gulf Coast regions.  As a confirmed “Italophile”, she travels extensively in Italy, which also influences much of her works. Beth is best known for her intense color palate, and most notably her skillful expression of water and skies.  Her artwork breathes with her love of God and His Creation.  It is Beth’s propensity for travel and keen observation of everyday life, both close to home and in far flung places, that makes her works fresh and vibrant.  Beth regularly attends workshops, studying under internationally recognized artists to continually expand her education.  She considers it an honor and her gift to pass on her knowledge of painting, and to encourage others in their artistic journeys. Beth teaches weekly Oil Painting classes, Plein Air workshops as well as Art & Travel Journaling Workshops.

Beth gratefully resides on a lake in Madison County Mississippi, with her architect husband, Richard, their two sons, and pair of rescue dogs who run the place.


mary lambert

Mary has been painting since she was 5 years old.  Along the way, she moved from her native Arkansas and pursued a career as a filmmaker, achieving international success with her music video, feature film, and documentary career. Her most recent paintings find Lambert continuing her investigations into a search for the emotional narrative-employing the same insights and inventiveness that established her as a significant artist in the world of film and media.

“Myth and emotion are at the heart of my visual investigations. What is the image that conveys the emotional story and takes the viewer to a place beyond words? Seeking an answer to this question has led me to look beyond realism into a sensual dream world that exists in a parallel universe.  When I paint, I am able to finally enter the trance state that exists in the present moment.”

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misty staley

Misty Freeman Staley, a working artist living in Helena, Arkansas received her Bachelors of Fine Art Degree from Shorter College in Rome, Georgia.  After school, she lived in Atlanta, Georgia running her business, Gossamery Finishes, where she worked with high-end home designers gilding, painting murals, faux finishing, Venetian plastering and more.

In 2008 Staley moved to Brooklyn, New York to pursue her career a faux finisher and mural artist.

She married her husband, William Staley, in 2010 and moved to Helena, Arkansas to help instill a love of the arts in the people of Phillips County through Thrive, a nonprofit design firm. Her work now consists mostly of outdoor mural paintings, fine oil painted portraits on canvas, and faux and high-end finishes.

Staley also teaches art lessons to children, youth, and adults.  She has held a spring, fall and summer session in Downtown Helena for the past 7 years.  Staley strives to fill each class with half paying students and half sponsored students.  Many murals seen around Helena are painted by Staley with her students ages 7-18.