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 again...by 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 still...you 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.