Every year for the last 45 years, the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society has held an annual Watermedia Art Show to celebrate and reward the work of its members. This year, the awards were handed out October 7 at the Triton Museum of Art’s Rose Shenson Art Gallery.
Karen Frey, a Bay Area artist and member of the National Watercolor Society, California Watercolor Association, Rocky Mountain National Watermedia, and Watercolor West, judged the competition, which gave first place to Stewart Weinberg’s “Attitude, a recreation of an early 1900s photograph; second place to Karen O’Neill’s “Aspen Grove,” a painting of Aspen trees; and third place to Ferenc Besze’s “Chinatown,” a depiction of San Francisco’s Chinatown.
“I am very surprised,” said Weinberg of his win. “I would not have voted for me. There are so many better paintings here than mine, in my opinion. I don’t want to insult the judge, but I think there are just some wonderful paintings here.
“It’s a period piece of a young man who jumped out at me and said ‘you gotta paint me. I’m important’…I paint from old photographs and this was from a collection of photographs from between 1910 and 1920 and it was just an attractive pose for me…The colors that I used try to express what I think color was all about back then. I wasn’t born in 1920 but I have a feeling that I know what it would look like.”
Frey’s comments about the work were typed next to the painting. “It’s all about the color and quality of the pigment – very interesting “old timey” feeling. The subtle shading by the eyes is wonderful – reads like a mask. Good composition.”
O’Neill, who has been a member of SCVWS since the 1960s, was shocked by her second place finish. “I shook for a little while afterward because I not only won a ribbon, I won $300. Since I drove two and a half hours to get here, it’s nice to go home with that. And, this group is such a good group, with talented artists. It feels good to be recognized with some of the best artists in California.
“Near where I live there are lots of Aspen trees and I love the colors,” said O’Neill of her painting. “Fall is my season. I wish it could be fall all year round and I love the way the Aspen trees turn in the fall. I love to take drives over the pass and take photos and try to get inspired. I’ve been on a two or three year spree of painting Aspens.”
“The palette is just right,” read Frey’s comments. “Very good linking of colors in the composition. Very appealing.”
The only requirement for the society’s annual show was that artists use a water-based paint. Some “purists” chose to use traditional watercolors, but many opted to use acrylic paints in their submissions.
The art will be on display until November 3. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. For more information on SCVWS visit www.scvws.org.