FIRST PLACE: Enough Dawn by Motoko Yasue Soon
As an artist, I'm always intrigued to observe watercolor pigments traveling and spreading with water on paper. During this process, it is important for me at times to cast fate to the whims of gravity and accept whatever accidental happenings that the water creates. Like one’s life, this phenomenon is not always controllable. The geometric circular shapes in this work are a metaphor of a portal wherein we, humans, seek a transition from dark to light in life’s difficult circumstances. To depict one's movement or transition to a positive mental state, I illuminated the dim seascape by applying thin layers of transparent warm-colors such as red and yellow over the saturated dark blue hues.
SECOND PLACE Olive Trees by Ariane Edmundson
My family has a little summer Villa on the Amalfi Coast. I’ve been missing it so much in these trying times, as my trip was cancelled last summer, and I’ve habitually been going there every year of my life. I call myself half-native to this splendid coastal area, steeped in mythology. This particular stretch, near Capri, is said to be the place where Odysseus was sung to and almost lured ashore by the Sirens. In order to rest and partake, he decided to tie himself to the mast of his ship so as not to fall victim to their splendors. I too, have to resist their song, but am evermore deeply connected...and will return someday soon.
Sparkling Mediterranean waters and the swaying branches are still calling. If you look closely, you’ll find the Siren...
I used in succession: watercolor, line with pencil and grease pencil, acrylic paint. My challenge was to keep the spontaneity and sparkling joy in it, to keep a dancing quality in the movement and not to overwork it.
HONORABLE MENTION: El Centro by Sharyn Richey
I was really pleased to have my work, El Centro, recognized as Honorable Mention among such outstanding work!
Up until now most of my watercoloring has been en plein air, but not being able to travel to inspiring locations during the pandemic forced me to explore other ways to remain active in the medium. At the first of the year I decided to try my hand at abstractions (or nearly so) and this particular work was one of the first of these. I credit Eric Weigardt (whose workshop was the last in-person before we shut down) for inspiring me to paint more freely, as well as to use more brilliant colors and greater variety in viscosity. In addition, I have been studying John Marin's work for ideas on composition. Both influenced this very new direction in my work.
In addition, I think you would also appreciate a little story about a hiccup in the entry process: I submitted three entries a few days before the deadline but then received notice that one of them (El Centro) had not been received. I was asked "Are you still working on it?" No, but that gave me an idea. I was unhappy with an area in the upper left and saw a chance to "fix it up" before re-submitting. But you all know how that can go! On the morning of the due date I was unhappily looking at a piece that had been greatly diminished by the additional work! I considered sending it anyway; but then I gave myself a "talking to": If I had painted it before, I could paint something close to that again. Quickly. So, within a few hours I submitted a new painting with the same name as the original, "El Centro." I have to laugh that of my three entries, it was the one done most quickly with no opportunity for second thoughts that got recognized by our judge. Perhaps I should put all my work on a timer!
HONORABLE MENTION: Kitchen Cleanup by Fontaine Jacobs
Kitchen Cleanup was done during a kitchen remodel. I had to pack up everything and saw a painting moment as I grouped these glass jars on my countertop.
Painting glass on Yupo is fun because of the paper’s wonderful lifting ability. I started my love of painting glass with a series of wine glasses, then martini glasses, and now glass jars.