“Violent Hues” Virtual Show Stuns with Visual Diversity

The June Members Show of the San Diego Watercolor Society was conducted virtually, with juror Bob Burridge evaluating over 300 submissions to award three top places, a Best of Theme, and five each Juror Commendations and Honorable Mentions. All of the works, including the awarded ones, can be seen in the gallery of the SDWS web page at https://www.sdws.org/galleryart.php?cat=6968

Since the awarded art received official, professional juror comments (these can be found on the SDWS blog page (https://www.sdws.org/sdwsblog/ ), I will focus here on other works that were selected for the show but which did not receive awards. I fully sympathize with the juror with the difficulty of selecting the “best” art from the fine works submitted and ultimately chosen for wards. Nevertheless, some pieces stood out to me, and I will describe them here. Please note that I am not a professional critic, but I do enjoy art, and I review every show, taking time to appreciate all of theselected  works and ideally, to learn from them.

Possibly due to juror preferences for subject matter, there were a lot of images of people represented in this show. Outstanding to my eye among them included Roberta Dyer’s “Aphrodite”, with its dramatic swaths of tones of primary colors. Wanda Honeycutt also addressed the theme in “OMG!” where the astonished expression on the face was emphasized with deep complementary colors of purple and yellow. Nancy Anderson nailed the theme in both “Reaching Back” and “Spanish Dancer”, the first being a carefully rendered portrait including brilliant colors and the second a more abstract rendering of a figure against a chaotic and riotous background. Finally, “The Tour Guide” by Rochelle Weidner shows a determined-looking face with a vivid background of red and gold colors and forms.

Several landscapes stood out with violent hues. “Red Cliffs” by Betty Hock is a study in primary colors, the large shapes molded expertly with subtle colors into landforms.  Buffy Kaufman introduced a blue-highlighted raven into the foreground of the richly colored desert canyon pictured in “Too Precious to Mine”.

Among the several florals in the show, “Maui Zowie” by Sylvia Smith stood out with the purples and golds set off by just enough green to nod to the botanical subject matter. There was one still life as well that brought the vegetable world into sharp, colorful focus: Susan Keith’s “Pepper your life with Color”, which kept the deep colors of the peppers apart from the almost violet shadows with an exquisite white lace tablecloth.

Several cityscapes adhered to the theme of violent hues as well.  The deep blue shadows of Jami Wright’s “Highland Castle” played off the vivid gold-greens of the foreground vegetataion and the sandstone colors of the castle walls. Gabriel Stockton’s “Support the Arts” uses primary colors to great effect in the almost-abstract image of Spanish Village in Balboa Park.

Marine images are almost an art form in and of themselves. Angela Westengard livens up an otherwise tranquil scene in “Bay Parking” with the vivid hues of the boats in the foreground. Jan Min took a different approach in “Evening Glow”, making an almost monochromatic statement with the glorious golden-orange sunset and its reflections in the harbor’s water.

Abstracts were very well represented in this show, and the artists did not hold back with the vividness of their pigment applications. Vita Sorrentino got a jaunty motorcycle vibe in her “Easy Rider”, with bursts of color creating action and motion.  “Festival Time” by Joye Moon used color and shape to evoke music and a real sense of swing. Kathleen Mooney’s “Monolith Harbor” and “Monolith Regalia” have very different feels as pure abstract images, with the former using cool colors that manage to be action-packed, and the latter featuring warm colors that transition into red-hot.  Finally, Abbyann Sisk’s “The Fairyland Loop” is possibly my own vote for “Best of Theme”, with its vertically trending abstract shapes painted in a rainbow of intense and vivid hues.

As usual, these mentioned works are just a small fraction of what is available for on-line viewing in the June Members Show. Spend some quality time browsing at the web page. And don’t hesitate to reward the artist of your favorite work with a purchase. Art sales conducted through this web page benefit not only you the collector and the artist, but also the San Diego Watercolor Society. That’s three wins!

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