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Three AAG Members Win Merit Awards in Gateway Show

The Gateway Arts Center in Westminster reopened with a show called Revival, which is on display from June 4 to July 6. There are 130 pieces in the show.

Five merit awards were given out, including three to Anderson Artists Guild members. (Note: Other AAG members were in the show, but a list of entries was not available.)

Here are the artists’ reflections on their award-winning pieces:

Persuasives to Early Piety (mixed media collage) by Diana Walter:

“The inspiration for the piece–and ultimately its namesake–was a small leather-bound book published nearly 200 years ago. Of particular interest to me was the book’s crumbling leather binding and torn interior pages where foxing had created a variety of patterns and colors.

“My process for creating collage is to first gather materials that support the theme (or historical focus) and the color palette that I have in mind—and then to collect found objects or textiles that will provide the texture and depth for the final piece. The process also includes selecting the right substrate for the piece (salvaged wood, in this case) and placing the various elements in ways that create balance, interest, and movement.

“Addressing the challenges is one of the best parts of creating collage artwork! At some point in the process the piece starts to ‘talk back’ and exert its own influence on which items should be used and where they should be placed, and what areas should be emphasized. (Of course, there are more mundane challenges, too, like finding the right type of adhesive to properly and securely fasten everything from wire to fiber to a twisted piece of driftwood.)"

Sea Change (mixed media) by Debbie Bzdyl:

“I did it about a month or so after the COVID lockdown. That was my inspiration for this piece. I really felt that we all were going through a sea change with all that was happening: the uncertainty, the abrupt change in how we now had to live, not knowing what was coming, how it would change our lives, or how long it would last.

“I wanted to have a turbulent, stormy feel with lots of movement. But the bright blues and touches of gold keep it from feeling ominous.

“This is a very heavily textured piece. My first step in creating these types of textured pieces is to create the design using modeling paste or tile adhesive. Once the adhesive is dry, I cover it with gesso and let that dry. Then the painting begins. This is a slow process with many glazes and layers of paint rubbed into the surface to bring out the texture and develop the design.

“My challenge with this type of painting is that as the details are revealed, design problems may show up that I didn’t notice when I was working with the adhesive. I was lucky that this one came together with no significant problems.”

Hallelujah Sunrise (pastel) by Brenda McLean:

“I recently became interested in portraying the unbelievable brilliance of the sky at sunrise and sunset, especially the light reflecting in the lakes all around us and bouncing off of the cloud formations. I was never successful representing those colors in oil or acrylic, but the freshness, purity and brilliance of soft pastel sticks really puts me right there in intimate contact with my substrate, no brushes or mixing to slow me down. I never tire of capturing the transitory nature and the variations of form, value, and hue of the rising or setting sun. I have taught several pastel classes on painting the sunset sky in an effort to share my enthusiasm for the subject.”

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