Member Show Winners Announced !

By Irene Angeles, BFA and Lifelong Artist
Judge of WCAL Member Show 2021

Thanks so much to all the talented artists who courageously ventured out into an often kind, but sometimes scary world, by publically expressing themselves through their art! It was humbling to see the beauty that was created, and some of the more advanced skill present made it a difficult show to judge.

I know it would have been impossible to give everyone a ribbon. However, the sheer effort it took to put each very special piece together, along with the lifetime of skill accumulation necessary to make many of the works, certainly made that option tempting! In the end, I had to abide by the rules! I was told I had six awards to give, so the following look at each winning piece came as a result of that imperative.

In looking at each piece, I considered many different things, and I would be the first to proclaim that art is one of the most, if not the most, subjective thing in the world. Therefore, if you feel your work should have gotten an award, recognize that with a different judge, it might have! 

Some of the things I considered (in no particular order) were:

  • Overall skill level in the medium used,
  • Craftsmanship,
  • How pleasing to my eye the image was in general,
  • The idea behind the image and how successful the image was at conveying that idea,
  • How the elements and principals of design were utilized,
  • The degree to which the tenets of atmospheric perspective were successfully employed (in landscape images).

Art is a lifelong look into one’s soul. To the artists: I hope your soul was magnified in the creation of your images and in seeing all the images around it. I join you in gratitude for the exquisite pieces that artists created.

(The winners below are not listed in order of merit. In other words, all of the first prize winners – the first three- are in no particular order, and the works which received honorable mentions – the following three- are in no particular order.) 

This first place award-winning pastel image was rendered by Nancy Peterson and is called Autumn Light.

The first thing that struck me about this image was the form of the foreground tree. There is a life-like-ness to it which I think is lovely. There is beautiful detail in it, especially in the use of purples and blues to show form. Overall, a strong sense of space is present. Nancy used larger shapes in the foreground and greater contrast in the foreground to contribute to a sense of the viewer being in the landscape. In the background sky, she used marks which were all made in the same direction. This technique helps the viewer to understand the deeper space in which those marks reside. I really enjoyed her color choices and the lacey sky holes she made in her background trees, which lend a feeling of breath to the piece.

This first place award-winning acrylic image is called Snowy Evening at Water Tower Place and was rendered by John Yost.

One can almost hear the wind howling! Just looking at this image almost made me shiver in cold! With its exquisite frigidity, one really experiences a frosty winter night.

I enjoyed the wonderful textures in the piece, which you have to be near the image in person to fully appreciate. Also, John employed many tools to achieve balance in the image. These include well balanced light sources, the tree on the right lending balance to the main building, and the pull of the red light at the bottom, balancing out the tendency to look at the top of the building. Additionally, the repetition of the green light at the top of the main building and at the bottom right draws your eye up and down. Tiny figures both give the image scale and speak to how mammoth the force of nature is by comparison to minute humans.

This first place award-winning pastel by Renee Couture is called Abandoned Mill Shed.

I found this image exciting! Renee’s mark making was highly varied over all, and yet the image was very cohesive due to the style of her hand and repetition of color. I felt that I was in the woods as I looked at the glorious deep space created in the image through the excellent use of the laws of atmospheric perspective. My eye was taken back to the shed through her skillful use of the path-created line. Additionally, I particularly enjoyed the texture of the bark in the trees and in the stones. 

It was very evident that Renee has a strong grasp of the pastel medium. The image was beautifully crafted.

This honorable mention award-winning image is called Desert Bloom, and is an acrylic by Janet MacIver.

The colors in this image vibrate as one feels the heat of the desert. I really enjoyed the use of the red underpainting in this color scheme, which showed through colors which were often transparent. In some cases, the artist mixed some of her color right on the canvas. There is a strong sense of space which was created by the use of contrast: the difference in the size of the foreground bush and the size of the background rocks. The greater detail in the foreground also lends itself to an appropriate sense of space. I felt that the very loose, almost semi-finished sensibility of this image was a daring departure from many of the other images in the show.

Early Crisp Farm Morning is the title of this honorable mention award-winning acrylic by John Klug.

The snow is the highlight of this image, and “crisp” is a great descriptor. I really enjoyed the use of blues to describe the chilly sensation one gets by looking at this painting. I was taken in by the simplicity of the overall design, and the starkness of the contrast in color and value. I think that the monolithic, balanced, feel of the barn was anchored by the use of the circular architectural detail in the building, which lands right at dead center of the image. The addition of the tree in front of the barn creates interest and adds the perfect foil to an otherwise symmetrical design.

Hawk’s Flight Plan is an honorable mention award-winning image in acrylic ink made by Jan Wood

(I chose to include the frame in this image because I thought it was particularly well selected.)

I loved the intensity of the hawk’s gaze and how well Jan captured the movement of the hawk’s head, but the real gem here is the use of color intensity, overlapping, and value to delineate time. I thought that was particularly creative and a very successfully rendered idea. I found that the splattering of paint (which was darker and more intense in the foreground, with splatters that were lighter and smaller in the background) was an effective tool to show atmosphere, focus, and harmony in the image.

A message from Renee: A huge thank you to those who came to the Artist Reception. And to those who brought some friends and helped bring goodies and voted for our People’s Choice Award! Congratulations to Bloo Marine for capturing both of the People’s Choice awards!