Deborah Perrino knows how the year of COVID-19 has affected everyone emotionally.

“Everybody seems upset and afraid and kind of down,” she said. “So I was looking to do something that would bring people up—have a joyful attitude and (be) hopeful and sunny.”

That desire manifested itself in her watercolor painting of a lamb frolicking in front of a Wisconsin State Fair Ferris wheel.

The Wisconsin State Fair Park Foundation last week named Perrino’s painting as the winner of the 2021 Fairtastic Poster Competition.

“A panel of judges representing professional artists from throughout southeastern Wisconsin selected the work for its tranquil color palette, pastoral quality and nostalgic feeling,” a news release states, adding that posters and other materials featuring Perrino’s work will be for sale at the fair.

Perrino, 60, has lived in Janesville for about 30 years. She attended Eastern Washington State University and is a member of several art organizations, including the Janesville Art League.

It was through the art league that she heard about the poster contest. She said she entered last year and was a finalist.

Perrino teaches art once a week in Rockford, Illinois, and has taught other classes, too. She also sells her artwork, but she said she doesn’t look at that operation as a “money maker” right now.

“More just for fun,” she said.

She mostly does acrylic and watercolor paintings.

Perrino said she was “very pleasantly surprised” to hear she won the contest. She said she started attending the State Fair in West Allis a couple of years ago “and really enjoyed it.”

“Especially the cream puffs,” she said with a laugh.

Another local finalist in the poster contest was Delia Pacheco of Janesville.

The State Fair is scheduled to run from Aug. 5 to 15. Perrino said she hopes people go to the fair and participate in some of the art opportunities there or enter the poster contest next year.

“I hope people go to the fair this year,” she said. “I hope we’re able to have it.”