Welcome to the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society's Online Annual Aqueous Open International exhibit!
Aqueous is the annual juried exhibit open to both members and non-members.
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If you would like to vote for the People's Choice Award, send us an email with the name of the painting to:
Juror's Statement from
I am pleased to have been invited to jury the 2022 Aqueous Open International and enjoyed reviewing the 145 paintings which reflect a refreshing diversity in subject, style, composition, design, and technique. The 80 selections by 68 artists in this exhibition reflect the broad range I saw overall.
While I prefer to examine artwork in person, the high-quality digital files allowed me to enlarge each work sufficiently to see details and nuances in technique more clearly, a priority for me.
When reviewing watercolors and other water media, I am particularly drawn to those works in which the medium is utilized in different and challenging ways; to those works that are not so tightly controlled by the artist, where the medium is allowed to express itself, flowing freely onto and into the paper. I especially enjoy spontaneity and look for that as well as layering and depth that allows the viewer to look beyond the surface and into the composition. This, to me, defines ‘watercolor’ but I definitely admire the ability it takes to master and control the medium to create some of the exquisitely detailed works in this exhibition.
It is evident in all of the submissions that there is experience with the use of this medium, revealed in the complexity of composition, fluidity in the handling of the paint, and in the skill at creating transparency, translucency, and shifting values through multiple layers of color. The array of landscapes, both urban and rural, is impressive. Portraits (including the animals) are powerfully represented with still life (a favorite subject of mine) a strong third category. I was attracted to specific portraits because the artists achieved not only a likeness (I assume) of their sitters but also captured their personality and conveyed their sassy attitude. The eight abstract compositions (with one exception) all share the spontaneity and painterly quality that I seek in this type of work.
No two jurors see alike. I bring my own curatorial perspective to this process, basing my selections on experience, aesthetics, the artist’s handling of the medium, and my personal preferences. In this review, I was encouraged by the creative use of the medium in all of the submissions.
Barbara L. Jones
From the Aqueous 2022 Chairs
Welcome to Aqueous Open 2022 International Exhibition.
We are most excited that for the first time in three years, we are having our Aqueous
Open 2022 LIVE! And, presented at the beautiful Stifel Fine Arts Center, and Online on their website and ours. As this is our first time back live, our Chairs and Committee Members worked diligently to present a truly outstanding exhibit.
We began the planning for the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society Annual Aqueous Open 2022 International Exhibition more than two years ago, at the midst of a pandemic. We were very positive that we would once again be able to be live, in a wonderful space. We planned for the best and for the worst. We continued to learn a lot about online exhibiting with the past two year’s Aqueous Opens, and we had much success. With this in mind, we are proud to present this 48th Aqueous Open International in our online gallery as well as in the Stifel Fine Arts Center.
This year’s juror, Barbara Jones, has been a joy to work with. After 26 &1/2 years Ms.. Jones recently retired from her position as the Museum’s first Curator, at Westmoreland Museum of American Art. She was promoted to Chief Curator in 2009. As a member of the Senior Management team, she had overall responsibility for the Museum’s permanent collection and exhibitions. With a concentration in the primary fields of nineteenth and twentieth century American art, she holds Masters degrees in both Art History and Museum Studies from Syracuse University and has a record of published research in American and regional art.
This exhibit has been a lot of work and planning for our committee and juror. And, once again, our juror had her hands full. We received 185 entries, from artists in 19 states and 5 countries! As with most of our exhibits, the entries were varied in style, use of media, technique and subject matter. Some seriously wonderful work was submitted. And, Ms. Jones chose a very diverse and compelling exhibit telling a strong story about watercolor. After selecting the entries online via CaFE, Ms. Jones opted to choose the awards in person after the exhibit was installed.
The Pittsburgh Watercolor Society was founded in 1945 to develop, encourage, and maintain interest in watercolor painting. The original membership of 20 was one of the first groups to be affiliated with the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. The membership of the PWS has grown to more than 250 artists who enjoy the opportunity to explore and share their broad range of style and techniques.
PWS has developed a national reputation as a prestigious group of watercolor artists who provide quality exhibits and programs to the region. PWS is the only regional artist organization that hosts an international exhibit every year. We are delighted to present this exciting and diverse exhibit! We look forward to presenting even more in the future.
An event of this scale and quality can only happen with a strong team of dedicated people. We could never make this event happen with out our amazing volunteers. Once again, we send a very special thank-you to our member volunteers who helped to make this wonderful exhibition happen.
Suzie & lisa
Susan “Suzie” Sparks –President &
lisa rasmussen – Exhibitions & Aqueous Co-chair
PWS Aqueous 2022 Awards
(Awards will be posted on Sunday, 9/11/22 after the opening reception.)
by Jeannine Swartz
by John James
by Dorrie Rifkin
by lisa rasmussen
PWS Aqueous 2022 Thank Yous /Sponsors
Once again, we at PWS so appreciate all of our members, friends and volunteers who help us make all of our exhibits and events successful. A special thank you to our Board of Directors, our Exhibition Committee and all of those who helped make this a productive and successful year.
PWS also thanks our sponsors for their generous support.
Ampersand Art Supply
Armadillo Art and Craft
Baltimore Watercolor Society
Blick Art Materials
Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff
Dixon Ticonderoga Art ULC
Dr. Ph Martin’s
Holbein Artist Materials
Winsor & Newton