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10 Members Receive $100 Merit Awards in AAG Show

At the Anderson Artists Guild Member Show, which opened on Oct. 20 and runs through Nov. 22, 10 members received $100 Merit Awards. Here are their reflections on their pieces:

George Crown’s Bobby’s Tug ($100 Merit Award from Carolyn Gibson)

“This painting is a transparent watercolor and gouache on 140 lb. Arches watercolor paper. I took a photograph of my friend’s working tugboat being hauled out for the last time as it was being cut up and sold for scrap metal. The photo was taken on Harsens Island in Michigan. I had a whole different concept for this painting, but it took on a life of its own. Working with limited color, strong lights, and darks, I composed the painting with dramatic verticals on a horizontal piece of paper. The asymmetrical arrangement of shapes completes the composition.”

Kathy Moore’s Jack ($100 Merit Award from Diann Simms)

Jack is a wearable mask created out of recycled cardboard. I made this as a sample for students in my advanced level art classes. Before I assign a new project for my students, I create a sample or two so I will have first-hand knowledge of the challenges they might face during the process. Jack proved to be challenging when it came to proportions, placement of the cardboard strips, and the concave areas of the head. I constructed the basic armature/shape and then cut out the recessed areas instead of trying to do this simultaneously. This method proved to be the most efficient and the best way for my students to experience success. I love working with cardboard because of the endless possibilities for expression. Creating Jack was such a joy! I look forward to doing another sculptural cardboard project in the near future.”

Terri McCord’s Boccilemonball ($100 Merit Award from the Anderson Arts Center)

“This photograph is a quiet interior piece that actually just happened­—at least in regards to the content. Neither the composition nor the subject matter was staged. I try to be very open to these magical moments that occur and record them as best I can. I did crop the photo for emphasis, and I did increase the saturation for the spot of color. I also physically moved around the scene to explore the design and various perspectives. And I am always drawn to the potential beauty in natural light.”

Wesa Neely’s View of Sorrento ($100 Merit Award from Sylvia Woodall)

“I took the photo that inspired this painting in Italy. The stunning landscape just amazed me. I was trying to capture the early morning light and shadows. The different textures were challenging—stone, plant life, and water. The reflections were important, too, so I had to really concentrate on these aspects while I was also keeping it fresh and light!”

Craig Johnson’s Climbing towards Heaven ($100 Merit Award from Barbara Crown)

“This is the interior of the St Augustine Lighthouse in Florida. Stair climbing is one of my favorite exercises. Lighthouses are one of my favorite things to climb. Before I started up this one, I thought I would get an Escher-like composition of the Victorian staircase and its 219 steps. It's also reminiscent of a Fibonacci spiral. The staircase was much better seen from below than above; the structural elements are much more obvious. Image was made with a Canon 7D at f/7.1, 1/20 sec, ISO 320. This is handheld! No coffee or jitter drinks beforehand. The frame is made from rough sawn wood retrieved from a machinery crate recently arrived from Italy.”

Hamed Mahmoodi’s Balance ($100 Merit Award from Dawn Hayden)

“Balance is a narrative depiction of an actual sport of northern nomad Mongolian deer herders and has somewhat a children’s story quality about it and is painted with thin acrylic to show a light and airy feeling.”

Matt Brophy’s Forested Blues ($100 Merit Award from Philip and Sue Cheney)

This is actually part of a lamp series I did. Since it works as a vase or lamp, I left it unrigged as a vase. If you look you can see a small hole drilled into the bottom for the lamp wire. Tall, vertical pieces can be difficult. The glaze can run down the sides and onto the kiln shelf, ruining the piece if you’re not careful. As usual, I always leave a portion of tan or dark clays I use exposed so people can see the kind of clay it’s made from.”

Simeyon Mendez’s Spire Cove ($100 Merit Award from Chet Lawson)

“This piece was inspired by the German fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. I illustrated Spire Cove as my version of a cover for the story Hansel and Gretel with a surrealism approach. I used ink wash and techniques developed by artists such as Salvador Dali and Franklin Booth.”

Chet Lawson’s The Red Brush ($100 Merit Award from Sue and Jerry West in honor of Tri County Plein Air Painters)

“Last fall, as a break from watercolors, I decided to revive my childhood interest in oil painting. I started with a series of portraits and figure studies inspired by the work of John Singer Sargent. The last in this series, The Red Brush is a painting of John Singer Sargent painting in plein air. I painted this piece using a photograph of Sargent that I found online while researching his work. I am guessing that the photo was taken around 1890, possibly in England. Very recently, I came across a passage in the book entitled John Singer Sargent by Kate F. Jennings that describes this photo perfectly: ‘When he went out in the fields in the Cotswolds countryside near Broadway to paint, he wore a straw boater, checkered vest, tie, and casual white slacks. He carried a basket along to hold his brushes, palette, and paints.’ The painting is 18 x 24 inches, oil on canvas, and took approximately three weeks to complete. I attempted to paint this in the style of Sargent utilizing a somewhat impressionistic technique on the back and foreground while ‘tightening up’ the subject. The major challenge was working from a rather small black and white reference and reimagining it enlarged and in full color. Also, capturing the presence and demeanor of the subject posthumously is always a challenge especially since so few photographs and portraits exist.”

Shea Abramo’s Home ($100 Merit Award from Kathe Harris)

“This was the longest piece I have created to date, six months on and off. I remember when I tried starting at my house, which was built in the 1910’s, the biggest area for this 36 x 48 piece was my kitchen propped against my refrigerator. As I started to map out my lines on the wood paneling and place the two doors, I could blatantly see I was waaaay off because my floors were waaay off. Once I demonstrated an apple rolling to the other side of the room, I knew I had to find somewhere to paint Home. Artisan on Market Street immediately offered me space and time. I dedicated myself to a daily regime to show up, do ten pushups, get out my notebook and process, then paint. . . or not paint, but I started off the same every day. Ten push-ups, journal, process. I brought in a T-ruler and tape to get my lines right and not lose perspective, and throughout painting I continued to breakthrough my technical hang-ups and I continued to perform no matter the difficulty—could’ve been the space, could’ve been the routine, either way, it transformed me.”


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