Art, Whisky & Cake Contest

A few weeks ago we announced the Art, Whisky & Cake Contest. It was your chance to nominate an up-and-coming artist as Alberta Whisky Cake’s newest Unbridled Spirit selection. It’s been fun working with the Whisky Baker, Kamla McGonigal, and her company’s mission of promoting the western culture, especially in light of the recent flooding devastation in Alberta. The theme fits beautifully with the “unfolding the real West” mission statement of Western Horse Review, and besides, who could resist partnering with such an enthusiastic entrepreneur as Kam.

Check back here for the original post, but the gist of the contest is that each Alberta Whisky Cake comes with an exclusive AWC Unbridled Spirits certificate, which can be presented directly to a select list of AWC artists to receive $35 off of your purchase price, on an individual piece of art valued at $100 or more. Viewers were charged with nominating their favorite artists to be the next Unbridled Spirit. These artists are folks who are involved heavily in the arts, and have not yet become renowned or rewarded for their exceptional dedication to their creative work.

Kam was charged with choosing three finalists, and via this post and Facebook, you get to determine one final Unbridled Spirit winner.

When she wasn’t testing out new recipes in her kitchen, Kam poured over all the nominations and began to make her choices. I could tell she was having a difficult time; given all the amazing talent that had been dished up, choosing three finalists was going to be difficult.

Sometime during the process she wondered in an e-mail to me. . . ” if I should just go with using ALL of these (love them all!)”

No, Kam, you have to choose three. Those are the rules.

So, she did. She picked three artists, and I’m going to show you a piece of each of their work here. In the comment section, go ahead and vote on your favorite. The bonus: all original nominations notes and all votes will go into a hat and we’ll draw a winner for an Alberta Whisky Cake.

I suppose I can’t really vote, but if I could, I would be all over this for that reason alone.

Meet the finalists:

Take Your Eight and Shove It by Karen Coe.

Karen Coe is a Lethbridge, Alberta artist who recently received the distinction of having two of her pieces juried into the prestigious Calgary Stampede Art Auction.

Ranch Branding by Julia Palmer.

Julia Palmer is a photographer and rancher who lives in southern Alberta. Her subject matter is primarily cattle, cowboys and the changing seasons.

Between Classes by Heather Gessell.

Heather Gessell is a fine artist from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with a focus on pets, horses and vintage cars.

There you have it, three talented western artists. Vote for your favorite in the comment section below and be entered to win an Alberta Whisky Cake!


  1. Lori Brecht says

    I am voting for Heather Gessell.

  2. Nancy Smith says

    All are extremely talented artists…Karen Coe gets my vote :)

  3. Val McLean says

    Heather Gessell is my favourite!

  4. Leanne Brunelle says

    Voting for Heather Gessel

  5. Beautiful picture done by Heather Gessell!
    She has my vote!

  6. Judith D> Johnson says

    it is hard all three are very good. But the beautiful horse gets my vote
    “Heather Gessell has my vote.

  7. Alisa Leson says

    Beautiful picture Heather Gessell! You have my vote for “Between Classes” – good luck!

  8. Rebecca O'Byrne-Fletcher says

    My vote is for Heather Gessell. Beautiful artwork!

  9. Fiona Dixon Redding says

    All are awesome! I vote for Heather Gessell from Saskatoon.

  10. Krystal Mason says

    I vote for Heather Gessell!

  11. Ed McNally says

    I am voting for Julia Palmer. Her photograph of the cowboy roping captures the unique bond between horse and rider. This is the spirit of the West. Bravo Julia!!

  12. Lindsay Webster says

    Amazing work Heather!

  13. I’m loving the art by Heather Gessell.

  14. Love the picture by Heather Gessell. That’s where my vote is going!

  15. Heather Gessell gets my vote! Between Classes is amazing.

  16. Heather Gessell’s “Between Classes”

  17. Heather Gessell gets my vote! Very talented!

  18. Betty Weaver says

    Heather Gessell but certainly not an easy decision to reach.

  19. Jackie Squance says

    Beautiful work Heather! Heather Gessell gets my vote!!

  20. I would like to vote for Heather Gessell!

  21. Jean Vollmering says

    I would like to vote for Heather Gessell. Best I have seen in a long time. from: Jean Vollmering

  22. Jenny Hopkins says

    Karen Coe has my vote :)

  23. Kim Kennedy says

    Karen Coe! I swear that bull is channeling Clings eastwood!

  24. Kim Kennedy says


  25. I vote For Karen Coe!!! One beautiful painting!!!

  26. Vote for Heather Gesssell

  27. Karen Coe Awesome talent .. she gets my vote !!!

  28. Karen Coe!!

  29. My vote is for Karen Coe and “Take Your Eight and Shove It!”

  30. Nancy Dickerson says

    I love Karen Coe’s work. Each picture has “attitude” to the max! Thank you for featuring her work.

  31. Corrie Sookeroff says

    Karen Coe gets my vote

  32. Regan Starling says

    Vote for Heather Gessell Between Classes! Beautiful picture

  33. Between Classes has my vote! That fuzzy muzzle, I would be tempted to touch the painting to see if it is as soft as I imagine it is! All three are interesting in their own way but I could stare at this one for hours.

  34. Brenda Keeley says

    Karen Meaker-Coe gets my vote!

  35. Virginia matt says

    I vote for Heather Gessel

  36. Jackie Ainslie says

    Karen Coe gets my vote!

  37. patricia gessell says

    heather gessell has my vote today..

  38. Heather Gessell Between Classes gets my vote!

  39. Lisa Bourque says

    Between Classes gets my vote!

  40. Stacey Anderson Gall says

    Heather Gessell is the best artist out there vote for her!!!!!

  41. Joyce Hubble says

    Although all the artists are very good…my vote is for Karen Coe

  42. Jennifer Hershberger says

    Karen Coe, “Take your eight and shove it” has my vote!

  43. Rhonda Daigle says

    I vote Karen Coe!!!

  44. Claude Daigle says

    Karen Coe has my vote :)

  45. I vote for Karen Coe! Love her art!

  46. Alexandra Hann says

    Take your eight and shove it!!!! Karen Coe!!!

  47. Corrine Carlson says

    Heather Gessell love her work.

  48. Lynette McClain says

    Has to be Karen Coe! Her picture is amazing!!

  49. Karen Coe has my vote

  50. Vote for Heather G