Watercolor wonders at Butler Center | Rock Candy

Watercolor wonders at Butler Center

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Judi Coffeys Eye of the Tiger
  • Judi Coffey's "Eye of the Tiger"

Jean Gill, a Virginia artist who was the juror for the 43rd annual Mid-Southern Watercolorists Exhibition in the main gallery of the Butler Center, likes the same things I do. I'm not sure what that says about her, but it gave me a bit of confidence when nearly every painting that sucked me had a little award tag with it.

Winning the Juror's Gold Award was Judi Coffey for her complex abstraction "Eye of the Tiger," a rhythmic work with scraps of complementary color forming a circle in a square.

I am a big fan of Margaret Harrell's illustrative work. I say illustrative because she creates images with the tidiest of lines and hatchmarks and precision. Her "Recycling" is of a Chinese woman in a red coat peddling a cart laden with cardboard and plastic ties. Behind her is a wall with large Chinese letters, a flat area of blue that plays off the red in the woman's coat. Harrell won the President's Award of $600.

Some people will say I am not the best person to review a show of watercolors, since I'm not a big fan of the bleed. I am a control freak. I guess Jean Gill is too, because another work we liked was L.S. Eldridge's "Break Time at Brick Street," in which a woman sits outside a quaint storefront using her cellphone and smoking a cigarette. The window of the storefront reflects the street scene. This deft painting won the MSW Silver Award.

Carrie Wallers Reminiscence
  • Carrie Waller's "Reminiscence"
Still another of my favorites is Carrie Waller's "Reminiscence," an ably painted picture of a weathered wooden chair sitting in high grass. Waller created a lovely contrast between the white peeling paint and the dark grass and leafy background. She won the 1st Timer Award.

Sheila Parson-Talley's won the Conway League of Artists Spring Show and Competition last spring for her painting in this show, "St. Mark's Square," and it is great picture made with translucent dabs in a nicely finessed palette and lots of white space. Here she's nabbed the Sponsors Purchase Award.

Also see Jason Sacran's "Back Road," a nighttime scene lit by a street light just off the picture plane, Val Wright's "Spring Fling," and ... well, I'm going to name all the work in the show if I keep it up.

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