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Remember to Vote for your favorite piece in the exhibit by emailing us at exhibits@pittsburghwatercolorsociety.com

BLUE! PWS Members Online Exhibit 2023, Juror for Awards Anni Matsick 

Juror’s Statement:

A themed exhibit presents added fun, especially one with the broad title, BLUE!, which imposes no limits on subject matter. Interpretation of the theme was high on my list of criteria, along with effectiveness in depicting that vision. 

Originality was of equal consideration, and the entries show a satisfying range of exploration. The 61 paintings in this gallery are overwhelmingly the results of personal viewpoints, so the challenge was to whittle further in my choices. 

Skill in handling the medium is always a factor. Although there are suggestions I’d make in some of the techniques and treatments, the overriding successes in each award-winning image worked in raising them to the top.

After finalizing my choices, I saw that four have settings near bodies of water. Yet, the use of blue is diverse, in shadow, water/sky, and cloth, again attesting to the show’s variety.

To all who entered, please be assured that each work was thoughtfully considered. Technical skill was especially appreciated and admired in many pieces not given an award. All of its parts contribute to a successful themed show, and this one does not disappoint.

Now, have some fun and vote for your favorite!

Anni Matsick

The Award winners:

1st Place: A Very Hot Day, Debbie King

 2nd Place: Morning Lure, Christine Duggan.

 3rd Place: Ocean Blues, Debra Valentino

 Award of Merit: Blue Heron Rising, Renee Keil 

 Award of Merit: The Cold Blooms by Celena Deng

Juror’s comments:

1st Place

Although it occupies only a fraction of the composition, the cool blue shadow in A Very Hot Day by Debbie King is essential in anchoring the figure on its slender legs. The closeness of the “melted caramel”-colored animal makes for a dynamic composition and convincingly depicts what the title suggests is a warm, perhaps overheated, saddled steed.

2nd Place

Morning Lure, by Christine Duggan, relies on a monochromatic shape with a gently undulating bottom edge to establish the water, with no need for a horizon line, which we know to be lost in the mist. The figure sits securely against that backdrop of pale blue. The artist’s restraint has resulted in a captivating image.

3rd Place

The flushed faces and the child’s wilted look in Ocean Blues by Debra Valentino give a sense of atmospheric heat, relieved by the child’s airy blue garment. The soft, cubistic treatment of the fabric flows into the horizon and makes him the main feature in what might otherwise be a flat composition. The facial expressions are well-depicted and endearing.

Awards of Merit (2)

The energy in Blue Heron Rising by Renee Keil makes it a standout. The magnificent bird seems to be part of a glowing stained glass window. The artist presents a rich tapestry of experimental color and texture.

The accomplishment in The Cold Blooms by Celena Deng is its spontaneity and freshness. A vibrant study in blue.

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