Friday, April 16, 2010

AWS awards

Saw that the American Watercolor Society had announced their award winners for this year. Two of the top winners are among my favorite contemporary watercolorists.

John Salminen was the Gold Medal winner, and Dean Mitchell was awarded the Silver Medal.

John Salminen's work first attracted my attention when I saw the painting "Cadillac Sign, Times Square" in an art magazine. It had won first place in the National Watercolor Society exhibit that year, and I was amazed at the subject matter and the painter's approach to composition and design. His winning AWS painting this year is "Morning Fog."

Most of John's paintings reflect similar urban, fractured scenes, which are held together by judicious value-based compositions. He's prolific, regularly recognized for his work in national exhibitions and magazines, and keeps a busy teaching schedule.

Dean Mitchell caught my eye when I was looking through the winning paintings in the now disbanded Arts for the Parks exhibition (the competition in recent years has been been folded into the PaintAmerica organization).

I can't be certain of the specific painting (and the old competition website is no longer available) but I think it was "Rustic Elegance" (click on the link, then scroll down the page and click on the thumbnail to see the painting in a larger format).

For those who know me, you also know of my love for architectural elements in paintings. Edward Hopper famously said "Maybe I am not very human - what I wanted to do was to paint sunlight on the side of a house." Well, sunlight on the side of a house transfixes me, and Dean Mitchell's ability to transform that light into lyrical passages stopped me cold.

More of Mitchell's work can be found at one of his representing galleries, Bryant Galleries of New Orleans, and there you can see more of his amazing landscapes and architectural paintings, but you can also see the scope of his work, including his gift for figures and portraits.

His winning AWS painting for this year is "Sunshine in New Orleans."

The AWS site is

Another great piece of news from the AWS is that the traveling exhibition of the show will come to this area! From March 11 to May 8, 2011, the show can be seen at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown, Md. Can't wait to see it!

1 comment:

  1. You mention two of my favorite watercolorists! I visited the AWS exhibition last weekend and marveled at their paintings. Truly wonderful!