- St. Joseph resident Becky Staneart won the Grand Champion prize for her watercolor painting of daisies at this year’s Benton County Fair.
- St. Joseph resident Becky Staneart’s watercolor painting won the Grand Champion, Best in Show and First Place ribbons at the Benton County Fair this year. It was her first time entering her artwork at the event.
- Becky Staneart of St. Joseph talks Aug. 5 about the first watercolor painting she entered at the Stearns County Fair in 2010. She won first place.
- St. Joseph resident Becky Staneart holds her watercolor painting of flowers last month at the Stearns County Fair. She took home the First-Place ribbon in the watercolor division.
by TaLeiza Calloway
Winning a top award for her artwork was one of many things on Becky Staneart’s “Bucket List.”
It’s not like she has always dreamed of being a famous watercolor artist. But for someone who just decided to sign up for a community-education class to explore something new, it has become her thing. The 46-year-old St. Joseph resident has won six ribbons at area fairs this year. The most recent feat was clinching the Grand Champion, Best in Show and First Place awards at Benton County’s 100th fair this year in Sauk Rapids. She is still a little surprised by the recognition for her depiction of daisies. This was her first time displaying her work at the Benton County Fair.
“I was so excited,” Staneart said. “I was shaking. I’ve been waiting for this.”
The last day of the Benton County Fair was a little bit more special because she got to share her win with her mother and grandmother. They shared long embraces and were smiling from ear to ear. As Staneart recalled the moment she saw that purple ribbon with gold lettering, she just lit up with excitement.
Her next goal is to enter her artwork in the Minnesota State Fair. That won’t happen until next year, since the deadline has already passed. However, she already knows which of her many creations she will submit — the ribbon-winning daisies.
She was told by fair officials that she has three years to enter into the state competition.
The very first painting she entered at the Stearns County Fair in 2010 received a blue ribbon. It was a painting of trees in a wooded area. Last month she won two first-place ribbons at the Stearns County Fair and one second-place ribbon.
She signed up for a community-education class in 2006 after her son, TJ (Anthony), graduated from high school.
“I just thought ‘Oh, I’ll give it a try,’ ” she said. “I love going to the class.”
Well, she did give it a try and a few years later she is not the only one admiring her class projects. Each class lasts for four hours. By the time students are done, they are leaving with colorful landscapes, flowers or sceneries. Staneart usually takes a class during the fall and winter months.
Some of her work adorns the walls of her St. Joseph home, but it’s only temporary. Most of the paintings she creates she gives as gifts to friends and family.
“I feel a homemade gift is more personal,” she said. “It’s from the heart.”
The painting she made as a Christmas gift for her son this year hangs near her living room. When he gets married next year, he will take it then to hang in his home, she said. He attends graduate school in Boston.
Becky is quick to tell you that she is no expert and is still learning how to paint snow and rocks—something she says takes time to master.
“It’s interesting,” she said of the class. “You’re always learning something new.”