by Paula Fowler, Gallery Co-Director
WAS-H is so fortunate to have a long list of amazingly talented teachers who so generously and energetically share their knowledge with us on a regular basis. It’s a pleasure to be able to pay tribute to them at this time and to give their students an opportunity to display works created under their tutelage. Since work done with a teacher is not allowed in our other shows, this gives our members who are not yet working independently the experience of having their work displayed, critiqued and, perhaps, being awarded a prize.
This year’s show was certainly a welcome distraction as we began our fifth month of COVID-19 restrictions that kept our brick and mortar gallery closed. What better way to energize us than by working with our talented membership and realizing that our creative juices keep flowing despite adversity.
The process of presenting a virtual show has been a challenge that a group of our multi-talented volunteers has met with tenacity, enthusiasm, humor, patience. There’s been a lot of learning-as-you-go! Special thanks go to Karen Stopnicki, our Website Director, Sally Holt, Volunteer Director, Cissy Geigerman, volunteer extraordinaire, Nancy McMillian, Gallery co-Director, and, of course, Beth Graham, our President who’s vision and energy keep us going.
We were so happy to welcome our talented member, Tamara D. Kontrimas, as judge this month. Tamara’ love for art began as a child and was found again in 1995 after she had pursued a successful law career and raised her children. Her work uses strong design, radiant washes and precise attention to detail to create bold observational paintings. Houston artist and teacher, Arthur Turner, described her works as being “composed and executed like the well-chosen and meaningful lines in a memorable written work—a great novel or insightful poem.” Tamara has exhibited her works in solo and group national and international exhibits including the Transparent Watercolor Society of America’s Annual Exhibit, the National Weather Center Biennial, the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art and WAS-H International Show. Her works are in several private collections in the U.S. and Canada. She currently works out of her studios in Sugar Land, Texas and Nova Scotia, Canada.
Tamara’s words about the winners are so perfect that I would like to share them with you here as she wrote them.
FIRST PLACE: LUIZA GRANDCHAMP – “NICLOLE’S PEONIES”
“Comments: I feel this piece has taken a piece of paper and transformed it into the very thing that is depicted creating a painting that feels almost sculptural. The artist has combined strong observational ability with beautiful command of the medium. The flutiness of the edges, texture of the petals, movement between and within shapes are combined beautifully with both restraint and specificity in a way that makes one truly experience the lushness of peonies.”
SECOND PLACE: BILL CURTIS – “TEMPLE MOUNT STEPS”
“Comments: What I love about this piece is that it shows us the extraordinary in the ordinary. The piece is neither fussy nor posed. The artist has used a scene most viewers would not necessarily notice and taken us by the hand and said, “Now hold on a minute. Look closer.” The play of light and texture draw us in. Simple things like the light on the lower steps, the wedge of dark in the middle area and the texture of the wall become exceptional. Suddenly the viewer feels he is on an exotic vacation feeling the sun on his skin.”
THIRD PLACE: ZAHID SHAIKH - “TRIBAL CHIEFTAIN”
“Comments: I was drawn to the intensity of the character. It’s as though you’ve just challenged the Chieftain and found yourself slayed by his gaze. The strong light source from the left, the contrast between the white of the facial hair and the skin tones create strong drama and make the piece really shine. The eyes portray both ferocity and wisdom. The brushstrokes are bold and confident. The artist has surrounded his exceptional portrait with a background that enhances the figure with areas of both restraint and definition.”
HONORABLE MENTION: KAE KINLEY - “ON THE ISLE OF SKYE”
“Comments: I was attracted to the freshness and vitality of the piece. The artist’s brushstrokes are very confident and loose while maintaining intentionality. The eye travels easily and naturally through the piece with the entry point of the large figure in the lower left and the two smaller figures in the upper right. The strong values and details in the foreground are balanced well with the less specific but very nicely done figures in the distance. I love the glow the yellow glow and the authenticity of the palette. Overall the piece gives me a feeling that the artist is painting a place with which she is familiar. I was also impressed by the size of the piece and I feel it is expressive of the animals it portrays.”
HONORABLE MENTION: LAURA MCMAHON – “ROSE OF SHARON”
“Comments: This is a nice bold composition with impactful depth and value. The very delicately colored flowers are contrasted with the dark background which darkens in value as it moves to the upper right. There are nice value exchanges between the flowers denoting petals that lie either under or over one another. The light is handled beautifully on each petal particularly where the white of the paper is allowed to shine through.”
Congratulations to all of our winners!
The August and September prospectuses are posted. Check them out here and make plans to enter a show soon. It’s a great way to support our amazing organization and to stay connected. Hope we are able to meet in person again soon!