Judge's Statement

MAY 31 – JULY 23, 2023
Judging PVW’s Green Spring Gardens Exhibition was both an honor and a challenge. The quality of the submitted works was so high, it was difficult to cull those that stood out as so many were worthy of awards.   My evaluation criteria had some givens, paintings needed to be well crafted, both demonstrating fine watercolor or water medium techniques and presentation (framing and matting), the composition needed to be balanced, interesting and fresh. Pieces that caught my eye were those that brought me in from a distance, with strong value or color contrast yet revealed greater detail as distance narrowed. I also wanted works that revealed the artist, his or her unique expression. What was remarkable was that so many paintings met these criteria!
The other challenge was that I know so many of you or know your work. Over the years, I’ve seen how your work has transitioned and often become stronger. While this may seem like an advantage, in truth, I think I might have been tougher on you. I had to justify my selections to make sure I was being totally impartial.
Liang Wei is a fellow artist at the Torpedo Factory.  Both of his submitted paintings were extraordinary.  His first place award for Brilliant Time was given because it was not only extremely well executed, it was unique and differed from the work I’ve seen Wei produce before, both in palette and composition.
Second place winner, Marshall Carolus, also submitted two beautiful works. I chose Winter’s Glory for its exquisite detail, different palette, and the mysterious drama created by its dark background.
Jean Thomas’ third place award for Onion was well deserved. The mastery she demonstrated in rendering onions and netting, lite objects and shadows was breathtaking and the composition, perfect.
The Virginia Watercolor Society Award went to Cecilia Capestany for Flower Hunter, a jewel of a painting, beautifully rendered.
Rachel Collin’s Inside the Raufarholshellir Lava Cave, was given the Southern Watercolor Society Award. Her painting, rich with textural granulation and minimal palette, was a compositional standout.
Apple Story, Gloria Tseng Fischer’s Memorial Award, put a grin on my face as soon as I saw it. It was fresh, light, narrative, and demonstrative of the best in transparent watercolor.