Brookside Gardens: Juror's Remarks

1st  Place
Noreen Brunni – Joy
This piece vibrates with light and color, achieved through both a bold color sensibility but also through the substantial dark and muted tones that balance out that boldness. Control and chaos battle throughout this work through a variety of wet and dry techniques. The piece feels incredibly complete—a full dialog not only of the titular joy but also its opposite. Of course one cannot exist without the other.
2nd  Place
Vicky Zhou – Old Garden Gate
A balance of high key color versus muted chroma, shimmering light versus inky darks, and a composition that beckons you in make this image a favorite of mine.
3rd  Place
Wei Liang – After the Rain
Mesmerizing detailed line work and understated color palette both invite prolonged investigation. Gorgeous asymmetry that is playful and unexpected.
Honorable Mention
Anne Cordes – Lily Pons Statue
What an inventive subject and composition. I am charmed by the many different aspects of viewership—looking up, down, over, through, and around. The mark marking is also nicely varied.
Honorable Mention
Stephanie Gustavson – The Midnight Garden (Cone Flowers)
This piece evidences a pop of color only enhanced by deep darks. Bold colors dazzle while the quiet gray fence texture beckons the eye to explore the background
Honorable Mention
Margitta Hanff – Red and Dead 2
Bold and graphic design choices, in particular that turquoise stripe that runs the center of the image, operate in direct contrast to the more organic form of the drooping flower. Opposites in balance—a lovely musing
Honorable Mention
Karen Norman – Old Friends
Soft muted colors and strong drawing skills give this painting a poignancy that I quite enjoy.
Honorable Mention
JoAnne Ramsey – Pink Peonies
I love a painting where the center of the composition is empty. I am then swirled around the edges of the image with its pinwheels of peonies.
Overall thoughts on the show:
I was again honored but tremendously challenged to jury this Potomac Valley Watercolorists show. There is truly not a weak painting on display on these Brookside Gardens walls. This outstanding collection of artists continue to set the standard for outstanding and diverse water-media in the DC area. As I toured the exhibit, I was thrilled to see how each artist chose to explore the medium and natural scene through their own unique style—loose or tight, a vignette or a masterpiece, intimate or boldly assertive. All should feel proud at their accomplishment in creating such quality work.
In the end, I selected for special merit those works of art that satisfied the particular criteria that I look for in a work of art—those qualities being overall composition and treatment of the entire image area, a sense of light and color that is compelling, unique design choices, and an evocative narrative or mood. Nearly every prize-winner utilized the entirety of the image area to navigate color and value relationships. Glowing light was often made luminous by equally powerful darks. Subject matter was animated through thoughtful design choices as well as earnest brushwork. Whether the work was highly charged with emotional brushstrokes or patiently crafted with delicate line and brush touches, the undeniable quality of the prize winners (and SO MANY more that I could not honor with a ribbon) was joyful to witness. I love looking at good art and this show is replete with it. Thank you again for gracing our eyes with your creative vision.

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