Juror’s Choice @ American Landscapes 2019

Very overdue update, but I’m pleased to share that my painting Desolation was chosen as one of five Juror’s Choice pieces at American Landscapes 2019 in Annapolis, Maryland. I’m honored that my painting was included among such beautiful work and proud that my painting was selected by the highly respected Jack Rasmussen to receive an award. Mr. Rasmussen shared that he selected each awardee because they demonstrated an exploration resulting in the artist learning or discovering something new. That was truly the case for me. 

“Desolation” is watercolor on aquaboard and so far is my largest piece using that support. Aquaboard has a challenging texture that difficult to control and predict. It absorbs water quickly; broad washes are difficult to lay down smoothly and pigment stains more easily. While it’s more difficult than watercolor paper for obtaining a smooth, flawless wash, it’s also easier to pull the pigment from the support, providing the opportunity to create interesting textures. But that presents yet another challenge–each successive layer reactivates and pulls existing pigment from the support, making it challenging to build intensely dark shades. 

In this painting, I explored pulling and blotting pigment to create the feathery textures of clouds and eerie haze of the horizon. In contrast, I worked to build and maintain deep, dark layers in the middle and foregrounds, with crisp, organic brushstrokes to flesh out the leafless trees against the sky. 

The scene itself is of one of my favorite wetlands in Southern Maryland, in late autumn, when the grasses have turned golden and died back, and the thin, tall trees appear skeletal. This landscape has always spoken to me, but especially so at the time that I created this painting. This was one of my favorite parks to walk my dog George, who had just recently passed away. Losing George, I felt compelled to create. This scenery spoke to me because of its connection to George and in the beginning, its starkness spoke to the pain in my heart. As I worked, though, I came to see the contrast of the dark land and skeletal trees against the bright sun–is it setting, or is it rising?–as symbolic of the hope and happiness that George gave me throughout her life. 

American Landscapes 2019

My painting “Desolation” will be featured in the 2019 American Landscapes exhibit at Circle Gallery in Annapolis, Maryland. The show runs from August 22 to September 21. The opening reception is Sunday, September 8, from 3-5PM. Hope to see you there!

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