Preview of the 43rd International Exhibition at the San Diego Watercolor Society Gallery

The 43rd International Exhibition of Watercolors will open on October 1, 2023 and will continue at the San Diego Watercolor Society (SDWS) Gallery at 2825 Dewey Rd, Suite 105, in Liberty Station, San Diego, California through October 31, 2023. All works will be available for viewing and purchase, both in the gallery and on line.

The International Exhibition has attracted entries from artists all over the world who create works in watermedia, including in watercolor, mixed media, and acrylics. This year, 41 international artists from over 20 countries, including Canada, China, Great Britain, India, and Spain, submitted over 800 paintings for consideration by juror Stephen Zhang. Zhang is an assistant professor at University of North Texas. He has received numerous national and international awards and has been featured in publications such as American Art Collector, International Artist and Watercolor Artist. Zhang is known for his unique approaches to watercolor, incorporating the artistic traditions of the East and West.

Zhang selected 27 works for cash awards totaling over $27,00. The award winners are shown below, along with the amount of the award and the award’s donor.

The top four awards, along with Zhang’s comments about them, are shown here.

4th Place Stan Siegel Award of Distinction

“Charlotte in Waiting” by Ken Call

This painting sympathetically portrays a child apprehensive about waiting for someone or something. Technically, it is a well-executed work. The watermarks and patterns are complex and delicate, forming a perfect background for the figure. The anatomy, including the hands, face, and knees, is expertly handled. The composition, cascading down from the top right to the bottom left, is abstract yet expressive. It’s an excellent painting in multiple ways.

“Charlotte In Waiting” by Ken Call

Valli McDougle Third Place Award of Excellence

“Manos del Tiempo” by Evaristo Callo Anco

This piece is distinctive for its selectiveness. The focus on the hands draws attention to the hardworking life etched onto them. The depiction of the face in shadow, while simple, still reveals the subject’s personality with compassion. The artist employs a creative economy yet imbues the painting with layers of humanity and story. Moreover, the contrast between the fluid wash juxtaposed with the controlled depiction is effective in guiding the viewer’s eyes to key focal points.

“Manos del Tiempo” by Evaristo Callo Anco

Dyer Family Second Place Creativity Award

“Florida” by John Salminen

I chose this dynamic work for second place due to its innovative and intriguing qualities. The daring composition immediately draws viewers in—the diagonal lines and shapes guide their eyes, creating an abstract composition that evokes an unsettled feeling. The figure in the shadow creates an element of mystery that invites viewers to explore the story. The boldness of the composition, coupled with the mystery, triggers a sense of fascination in the audience.

“Florida” by John Salimen

Best of Show Thomason Family Inspiration Award

“Rowena & Her Little Friend” by Dean Mitchell

I selected this painting for the top award due to its expression of profound humanity. Despite the lady’s apparent vision difficulty, there is a remarkable sense of communication between her and the bird. The bird, whether literal or symbolic, seems to evoke a feeling of joy in the protagonist. The artist adopted a minimalist approach—it has a limited yet sophisticated palette; the composition has a distinct tilt to the left, yet simultaneously maintains a balance expertly. Ultimately, it is the painting’s portrayal of gentle feeling that convinced me to choose it for the top award.

“Rowena and Her Little Friend” by Dean Mitchell

Overall, there were 44 SDWS members accepted into the International Show this year. These members passed the extremely high bar for admission to the show (presented in alphabetical order). Award winners are marked with an asterisk (*).

  • Edward Abrams
  • Geoff Allen
  • Deena Altman
  • Marina Anta *
  • Sean Barrett *
  • Lynette Bredow
  • Will Bullas
  • Robert Burridge
  • Denise Cerro
  • Janice Cipriani-Willis
  • Bev Coalson
  • Roberta Dyer *
  • Robin Erickson *
  • Lorna Farmer
  • Richard Glassman
  • Ken Goldman
  • Tatsiana Harbacheuskaya
  • Richard Hawk
  • Helen Hayes
  • Wanda Honeycutt *
  • Marie Huggin
  • Jai Kim
  • Su Yong Kown *
  • Rebecca Krutsinger
  • Stan Kurth *
  • Wendy Kwasny
  • Robbie Laird
  • Shuang Li
  • Anne McCartney
  • Joan Merrick
  • Jan Min
  • Dean Mitchell *
  • Kathleen Mooney
  • Pat Moseuk
  • Steve Rothert
  • Charles Henry Rouse
  • John Salminen *
  • Thomas Schaller
  • Kathleen Scoggin
  • Beverly Tuzin
  • Liz Walker
  • Astrid Edel Walter
  • Leslie Wilson

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