"Pieces of Life" was the theme of the West Pasco Art Guild's first show of the year at its gallery at 6206 Jefferson St.
Themed art receptions are held monthly, and the last one was Friday. Members can create art in any medium that follows the theme, said Sally Hanlon, the guild's publicity chairperson.
"Everybody's got their own style," Hanlon said. "You give someone a paintbrush and say 'paint this,' and you get all these different works."
In addition to art receptions, the guild holds weekly classes on topics such as acrylic painting, watercolor, ceramics, polymer clay, fused glass and more.
A schedule of classes, which range in cost from about $25 to $150, is available online or by calling (727) 841-7732.
St. Petersburg artist Robert Simone was selected to judge "Pieces of Life." He impressed the audience by giving a detailed description of each piece of art and why he chose it for a merit award, honorable mention, third, second or first place.
"Cat Knap," a painting by Nancy Caposey, won first place for its composition, green and purple coloring, the pattern on the couch in the painting and the expression on the kitten's face, which "made me laugh," Simone said.
Caposey had two other works on the gallery's walls, a painting of her other cat and a still-life of two-ply toilet paper that she jokingly painted in a class that asked artists to create unusual still-lifes.
"I was shocked," Caposey said in response to taking first place. "There is a lot of great work here. It's very subjective to the judge, and I don't think anyone is better than anyone else, but I'm happy to have won."
The gallery building is owned by the guild, Hanlon said. It was built in 1926 as St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. The guild held its first meeting there in 1963, making it the oldest art group in Pasco County.
The guild, which will mark its 50th anniversary this year, is run by volunteers. The yearly membership fee is $30, and money made on classes helps with expenses.
"We all work together to do what we need to do," Hanlon said. Hanlon has been a member for more than a decade. After moving to New Port Richey from Massachusetts, she went looking for a local place to paint.
In addition to access to equipment such as kilns and to art supplies, members can check out books from one of three libraries in the building. The guild has hundreds of books on painting techniques, art history and more.
"We have more art books in our library than probably all of Pasco County put together," said the guild's president, Beverly Heller.
Longtime member Charlene Schilk, who died in November, bequeathed more than 300 books to the guild.
"I think the fellowship here is what draws people," said Jean Metzenthin, an artist and workshop leader. "Seeing them improve in their skills is rewarding. We've developed some really good artists."
The next reception, a tea party, is scheduled for Feb. 9. The theme will be "Time and Again." Details will be available on the website before the reception.