Most of those who use the technique corner are from the Pacific Northwest and while some of this month’s challenge will be specifically to you, there is no reason why those of you in other areas can’t adapt these ideas to a show near you.

    Yesterday the NWWS 70thAnnual Open Exhibition, 2010 catalogue arrived in the mail. This is an extremely strong show. I congratulate the juror, Joe Garcia.  In his statement, Joe said that he was limited to 80 from 400 entries and that the quality of those entries made his job very difficult.

NWWS1 Perhaps you are a member or an associate member and have received a catelogue. If you go on line, you can’t see a good deal but you can go to the Northwest Watercolor Society site, and see the possibilities.  The best collection of photographs is at the award winners link.

If you can, try to see the exhibit.  It is at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center, 800 Convention Place, Seattle, Level II. It is open daily 7 am until 10 pm, until July 17.  I hope you will go with a painting friend and try this challenge.

1. Your best in show.

2. Four you consider traditional watercolor — which do you like best of the four?

3. Four close-ups of figures — which do you like best of the four?

4. Four figures, not portraits — which do you like best of the four?

5. Four cityscapes –which do you like best?

6. Four animal subjects – which do you like best?

7. Four deep space paintings — which do you like best?

8. Four no-space or basically 2-dimensional paintings — which do you like best?

9. Four whimsical paintings — which do you like best?

10. Four flower paintings — which do you like best?

11. Four abstract paintings –which do you like best?

12. Four realistic subjects that are really abstract paintings — which do you like best?

NWWS213. Four that are doing something that really excites you.  Can you figure out how you can use the techniques/ideas to make your work better?

Maybe there are one or two you would not have included in the show.  List those. Can you defend your reasons? It is all right to disagree.

How does your list compare to your friend’s?  How does it compare to the awards ? Do you discover the differences are interesting?  Did you feel these were tough choices because there are so many that are good?

I congratulate Joe Garcia for asking the question, “What is this artist trying to do (say) with the techniques he or she chose to use?” And, “Did he or she do it?”

I believe the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”  Realism, abstraction, flights of fantasy, design dominating content, content presented hauntingly – using the appropriate technique.  Each is a piece of art.

Notice that the juror is known as a wildlife artist and yet this isn’t a show filled with examples of wildlife.  It appears to me that this juror looked at each piece, understood what the artist was trying to say — about the subject chosen with the techniques that best expressed that choice.

Go ye and paint likewise!

How would I rate the six scanned in at left:

top: #8  or  #12
2nd  #12
3rd #2
4th – #13  I love combining drawing and watercolor and this one makes me want to do it now, do it again, do it differently.
5th.  #5 or #8
6th  #9 and #12.  And #13 — for the repetition, the theme and variations.
Fun, isn’t it?  Go to the NWWS exhibit with some friends, or find a show near you and try it  (You may want to make up some more categories).  Then …. go home and paint the best painting you have yet!


© 2010 Caroline Buchanan