Slideshow of Simply the Best

1st Place ($100)
1st Place ($100)

Song Writer
by Dmitry Grudsky

Juror's comments:  “Song Writer” by Dmitry Grudsky depicts a young woman with green highlights in her hair surrounded by blues.  Everything, from the loose watercolor work in the girl’s shirt and background (leading the viewer to the girl’s exceptionally crafted face), to the coloring of the girl’s almost translucent skin, and a dreamy look on her face, all work together compositionally - and with it’s unique coloring choices - to create an unearthly quality to this piece.  Everything pulls the viewer to the girl’s eyes; which look dreamily out at the world and leave us wondering what she must be thinking. Exceptional in every way.

2nd Place ($75)
2nd Place ($75)

Hamilton
by Susan Jochheim

Juror's Comments: Susan Jochheim shows the viewer the Orpheum theater with its “Hamilton” sign thus giving the work its name. Susan shows what watercolor can do with an experienced hand at the helm.  Gently adding the bold orange of the sign into the details of the building’s face Susan pulls the viewer's sight up, ever higher in the work, until one almost seems to crane their neck to take in the view.  The light watercolor work, the composition, the details, clever use of washes, the bold orange of the sign, and the expert touches all work together to make “Hamilton” a wonderfully executed watercolor that produces a “lifting” experience in the observer.

3rd Place ($50)
3rd Place ($50)

Sunny Centerpiece
by Susan Butler-Graham

Juror's Comments: Susan Butler-Graham’s “Sunny Centerpiece” spotlights the floral arrangement of sunflowers in a clear vessel.  At first look, a viewer might conclude the painting’s focus is in the middle of this artwork - which is normally not suggested.  However, the skilled techniques and the title of this work has this viewer second-guessing as to whether Susan deliberately centered the “centerpiece” or is cleverly pulling the eyes towards the true focus which is the dome of sunflowers.  While each may be true, the petals at the base of the centerpiece and the long stems pulling the eyes up, suggests the latter. Susan’s use of bold, bursting colors in the sunflowers exhibits an undeniable colorist at work in this painting which is also evidenced by the use of purple (complimenting the yellow petals) in the flower’s centers instead of a brown.  The refraction of the stems through the glassware is slight but also demonstrates the mastery of the artist and all of these unique features come together to make this piece stand out.

Honorable Mention
Honorable Mention

Fresh
by Zhi Su

Juror's Comments: “Fresh” by Zhi Su seems to depict a table at a farmer’s market.  Zhi uses colors very effectively in this detailed artwork and her composition draws the viewer’s eyes across the page expertly. The painting might have had a greater feeling of depth had Zhi “blurred” the patrons in the background (upper right-hand corner) with light washes and less detail, however, that is a subtle issue and there are many more highlights in this work to draw the focus.  One such detail being the chalkboard on the box that Zhi expertly illustrates. One can imagine the work necessary to create, not only the chalk writing, but the detail of previously erased chalk. Another highlight is the way the viewer can clearly see the effects of the weight of the basket on the cardboard box. These rich details and the contrast, in lights and darks, in this work merge effectively to show a masterful still life.

Honorable Mention
Honorable Mention

Clementina's Garden
by Eileen Logsdon Bugée

Juror's Comments: “Clementina’s Garten” by Eileen Logsdon Bugée is a fearless floral work that has bold brushwork, brilliant colors, and patterning; all of which summate to provide the piece with depth, texture, and atmosphere.  By laying a “field” of muted greens in patterns, flower buds, and swirls to frame and contrast with the bright, eye-catching purple of the flowers, Eileen makes those flowers “pop” off of the page at the viewer.  Compositionally effective, Eileen’s work generates a contrast between the muted greens and the bright purple; which expertly focus the viewer on the flowers while allowing for the discovery of ethereal quality underlining their beauty.

Honorable Mention
Honorable Mention

Dance on a Branch
by Edna Acri

Juror's Comments: Edna Acri’s “Dance on a Branch” is a wonderful example of why watercolors are a perfect medium for floral art.  In this piece, Edna demonstrates a mastery of watercolor techniques and composition. The washes - both light and dark - in the background, drive the flowers of this work to the foreground where Edna’s light brushwork of barely colored washes in the flower’s petals generate the translucence of which watercolors are so famous and to which so many watercolorists strive to capture in their works.

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