Friday, July 9, 2010


As you know, Deb, Sharon and I took a short road trip sans Georgia (Sharon's snooty GPS), and spent some time viewing the American Watercolor Society travelling show held at the Middletown (OH) Art Center. A beautiful show and we all agreed it was a strong showing of work.

There were the "usual suspects": those artists who are top of their class and always in the top shows like John Salminen (Gold Medal/$4000), Dean Mitchell (Silver Medal/$3000), Carla O'Connor ($2000 award), etc. And then there were the delightfully new and fresh names - which turned out to be some of my favorites.

Sharon and I both chose this one as our overall favorite and I'll have to search this artist out to find out more about him. The work read well close up and far away and pulled you back - that blue, that orange, that light!! The energy in the piece! Beautiful work.

(This was a full sheet watercolor by Preecha Promprabtuk, called Speaker #3. He received a $500 award - I would have given him more!)

We all really liked the full sheet piece by Judy Morris titled Curtain Call, and it was Deb's favorite. There was such interesting texture and design work in the piece and her use of reds - very muted except for the sky which looked like a pure, warm red - was beautifully handled. (I would have given her more than the $500 award she received.)

Another piece that I liked was this fanciful full sheet by Pat Holscher called Party Animals. Such fun colors and you know I love those drizzles!

And a piece I returned to again and Guan Wiexing called From the Hometown of Runtu, was a beautifully evocative portrait. If I could paint a portrait with this much emotion and delicacy, I would be very happy, indeed! And I would have given this a pretty substantial award. But then, I wasn't a judge and we don't all agree...but tell me...

The photos don't really do the paintings justice, as there were reflections here and there. And you just can't "see" a painting unless you are standing in front of it and see the mastery of the strokes, the wash, the blending and modeling the shapes. This was an intimate portrait, also, in the size, which was less than a full sheet painting like most of the others.

This truly was a beautiful showing of watercolors. My only nit-pick was that Kathleen Maling (one of my favorite artists - her gators rock!!!) wasn't in the travelling show. I would have loved to see her Watergator up close and personal and I'm glad it got a $1750 award. I'm glad I purchased a catalog to see some of the ones who were not in the travelling show but still won awards.

Some more favorites of mine:
Carla O'Connor's Of Kimonos and Kabuki...

Kathleen Conover's Changing of the Guard... (wish I had gotten a better photo of this but the darks really reflected the lights in the room and changed the painting too much, adding too much stuff to it. But you might be able to see it online at the AWS site.
If you get a chance to visit the travelling show, do it!! You won't be disappointed. Although many watercolorists are loving the color grey and painting dark and muted things (which could really be a bit of a downer if that was all there was), there is a good balance of those artist who fill their paintings with glowing color and light to raise your spirits and make you remember why you love this medium.


Ann Buckner said...

I enjoyed reading your comments on some of the paintings in the show, Rhonda. You have a way with words that paint an interesting story.

Carrie H. said...

I just wanted to share with you Preecha used to show and I think just about always took top honors when he was in the Oregon Watercolor Society. One year he unfortunately did not return home from India to turn in his painting and had to be penalized. I ddon't think he lives in Oregon any longer.

Gretchen Bjornson ART said...

I wish I would've known about this show. I live in Ohio and am trying to get more involved in the local art activities and events. I, like you, also believe art can only truly be appreciated up close and personal. What great pieces you were able to view!

RHCarpenter said...

Thanks, Ann. I should have spent more time thinking about each piece that I liked - and those I didn't - and why!!

Carrie, thanks so much for letting me know - I'll change the pronoun to reflect Mr. Promprabtuk's gender correctly. (Hadn't had time to look up this artist prior to the post and hope he is still painting and showing in the US).

Gretchen, it's not too late - it will be at the Middletown Art Center through August!!! Day trip!!! The Middletown Art Center has shows all the time and does the AWS every other year (I think).

debwardart said...

You will make my post (whenever I get around to it!) redundant (and boring!)
I will reiterate what you said - all watercolor painters in the area really should make time to see this show!

Vicki Greene said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. While I am not close enough to see it IRL I certainly enjoyed seeing it through your eyes. Now I have several new artist to check out too!

RHCarpenter said...

Do show your photos, too, and give your impression, Deb :) I'm still thinking about some of the winners - I guess a judge's job is never easy! ha ha

Vicki, glad you get to see a bit of it from my point of view - sorry it's not going to be close enough for you to view it IRL.

Christiane Kingsley said...

This show is certainly not close enough for me, but indeed, through your words and eyes, Rhonda, I have certainly caught a glimpse of it.Thank you! I also will look up a few artists that you have mentioned and that I have never heard of.

You three ladies obviously had a glorious afternoon.

Gaylynn said...

Rhonda thanks for the review. Because of your comments I think I might have to go sooner to see the exhibition. :-)

RHCarpenter said...

Yes, a bit far for you to travel, Christiane, so I'm glad I could give you a glimpse without having to click on all the links at the AWS (a bit tedious and you wind up skipping a lot).

Gaylynn, do go and let us know what you think :) I may even go again just to spend more time really looking at the work and studying it - one always wants to know why this got in or why this one didn't, etc.