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5 Members Win Purchase Awards in AAC’s 2024 Juried Show

In the Anderson Arts Center’s 2024 juried show, which will run through May 31, five Anderson Artists Guild won purchase awards: Larry Bennett, Barbara Ervin, Andrea Harper, Wesa Neely, and John Urban.


Here are their reflections on their award-winning pieces:


Larry Bennett’s Tall Trees (photography)


“I saw this in my mind as a pastel look from the get-go. It’s taken with a long telephoto lens to compress the foreground.” 


Barbara Ervin’s The Long View (mixed media)


“I started my horizontal image by painting Golden iridescent pearl acrylic lightly on my paper. I then began my monotype process of transferring ink rolled onto plexiglass onto my paper by way of an etching press. My first roll of (oil-based) ink is usually a dark blue/purple to a lighter salmon to white to blue again at the bottom of the potential image. If you study Japanese woodblock prints (ukiyo-e), you will see that they use this simple and well-observed technique to create depth and distance in their woodcut prints. 


“After cleaning my plexi plate, I begin rolling and painting my ink as a line across the plate, pulling some out with a mat board squeegee or paper towel.(that is how I got the green ground part at the bottom of the painting). I will place pieces of the decked edge of handmade paper over the inked edges to create the land and cloud shapes in the distance. I have discovered that natural objects seem to repeat their shapes—whether it is the natural edge of a piece of paper or a cloud or distant tree line. The image kind of creates its own self between my not really knowing what kinds of squishes and shapes I will get from running it through a press or using organic items to make shapes. I only dictate the horizontal or vertical idea of the print. Even the colors are a surprise a lot of the time. My favorite part is the crack of white that cuts across a light peacock blue, salmon orange, yellow and blue purple on the right side of the sky. I just can’t get enough sky and landscape! 


“Once I have the main body of the work done, I tweak it with color pencil or acrylic. This print turned out to be a particularly lovely piece. I almost didn’t want it to go!”


Andrea Harper’s Chestnut Mare (watercolor)


“I was inspired because I love horses and was thinking that I might never get to ride one again, after back surgeries. The style is based on stained glass and quilts. This is the largest watercolor piece I’ve done (18” x 24”). The large size proved a great challenge, as I was bedbound during January and February, awaiting a spinal fusion. I’d been working on watercolor techniques in bed for the prior year, and I stretched/taped the paper to an acrylic sheet to work against. I didn’t realize until after selling it, but the reason the sky colors weren’t lifting easily is because the paper was actually mixed media (Canson XL, 300 gsm, acid-free) paper!


“The horse is painted with granulating watercolor pigments and granulation medium to provide interest. I ended up painting the sky and smoky mountains in oil pastel over watercolor, and details in the mane and around the eye with Pitt Pastel pencils.” 


Wesa Neely’s Floral Abundance (watercolor)


“The orange colors were a challenge as I darkened around them to make them pop! I am drawn to florals and landscapes, so this was a piece I enjoyed painting. The glass and furniture added interesting contrasts of surfaces. Sometimes the greatest challenge is knowing when to stop!”


John Urban’s Afternoon Thunderstorm (oil)


“This was a spinoff from a scene I painted a couple years ago. I had this cloud reference I took but didn’t have a good foreground to go with it. Then it hit me one day that I had this scene from Charleston. But this time the center of interest was going to be the storm cloud. It was challenging to fabricate the lighting due to the photo references being taken in two different places at different times. This painting was started in my demo at the 2023 Soirée. I’m looking forward to painting more storm clouds. I found them really fun to paint.”


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