Traveling exhibit comes to Le Mars
LE MARS — The Le Mars Arts Center is once again hosting The Iowa Watercolor Society (IWS) Traveling Exhibit.
Each fall, the IWS sponsors a juried exhibition with monetary awards. The IWS accepts entries in water media on watercolor paper, and awards the finest in watercolor in the state of Iowa. From this exhibit, a traveling show is created and provides outreach around the state.
The Le Mars Arts Center is on the tour of this annual exhibit, which features the center’s own Adult Watercolor Instructor Jean Weiner, and local artists Melissa Van Egdom and Connie Luhman.
The exhibit is on display through Jan. 30.
“Having a painting selected for the IWS annual traveling show is a great honor,” said Weiner. “This body of work is a smaller subset chosen by the juror/judge from the IWS annual show. The traveling show works become ambassadors for the medium of watercolor as they travel across the state, bringing the beauty of watercolor to a wider audience.”
She continued that Juror/Judge Frank Eber, AWS, NWS, judged the exhibition by viewing the paintings in person during the Iowa Watercolor Society 43rd annual exhibition when he was in Perry, to conduct two watercolor workshops for Iowa Watercolor Society in September 2020.
Eber was also the juror for the annual show.
“Iowa Watercolor Society member artists submit a digital image of the painting(s), they wish to enter for consideration, following the guidelines of the society’s prospectus/call for entry. The juror then reviews those images and selects the paintings for the annual show,” Weiner said.
Weiner’s entry, “Chino,” is an original 22” x 30” transparent watercolor, and features a real life sea lion named Chino that lives at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska.
“He was enjoying a relaxing glide in his pavilion pool on the day my family visited. Sunlight sparkled on the water and across his head and I knew I’d want to try my hand at painting him,” Weiner said.
“Chino” received fifth place and a monetary award in this annual show.
Van Egdom, who lives in Hull, said getting into the traveling show is an honor. Her entry is “For the Love of Ewe,” a 15” x 22” piece.
“’For the Love of Ewe’ is a painting based on a photo I took in my family’s lambing barn of my dad working the babies. The title is a twist of words, hopefully making the viewer look a little longer to see the momma ewe looking for her baby and it’s also about my love for my dad and his love to his children,” Van Egdom said.
She said her favorite subjects to paint are animals.
“I love painting animals and have been doing commission pieces for clients for a few years. To capture the personality of each family pet and create something they cherish is a wonderful way to share my talent with others,” Van Egdom said.
She loves working in watercolor.
“I love the challenge that watercolor creates. You need to constantly think of where you want your highlights and work at building the colors on top of each other to develop dimension in the painting. In the end you want your main subject to ‘glow’ and really pull the viewer in,” she said.
Luhman, who lives in Sergeant Bluff, took her first painting class in 2007, and has studied under various local and international artists.
Her piece in the exhibit is, “Grandma’s Tulips,” a 30” x 22” watercolor on 300-lb. cold pressed paper.
“This was my only submission for the exhibit this year. The pigments are professional grade watercolor pigments. I have a simple pallet of a triad of red, yellow and blue. The secondary colors of orange, green and violet are achieved by mixing the pigments of the triad,” Luhman explained.
She said she thoroughly enjoys the fluid nature of painting with watercolors.
“I can achieve secondary and tertiary colors right on the paper as the water moves the pigment and allows them to mix and mingle. I also have learned over the course of my career using watercolor, that there are ways to ‘fix’ whatever I am not completely satisfied with.
“I love how transparent watercolor allows first washes to shine through subsequent washes if care is taken to allow previous layers to dry thoroughly,” she continued.
Luhman said she has not become a fan of any particular subject matter.
“I love subjects that allow for light to dance on the subject and produce varied areas of interest for the viewer. I always want to have the viewer in mind,” she said.
Being chosen to be a part of the traveling exhibit is an honor for Luhman.
“It is always a great honor to have a work in an exhibit. It is especially wonderful to be a part of a traveling exhibit. So many more viewers to learn to appreciate the medium,” Luhman continued. “We watercolorists have so much to show the viewer about the possibilities of watercolor. I often get this statement, ‘That’s Watercolor?’ So, most don’t realize that this medium is a true contender in the art world.”
Weiner, who lives in Le Mars, has been painting professionally with watercolors since 2005. She exhibits, competes, and sells her work nationally and has won numerous awards.
“I love that painting with watercolor requires a thoughtful and strategic plan for saving the light. After saving the light (white paper), through applying subsequent transparent layers of paint to gradually build the medium and dark values, the final work remains luminous,” Weiner said.
She is drawn to paint varied subject matter, from still life, wildlife, to figurative work.
“The common denominator in the subjects I choose to paint is light. The subjects I paint are bathed in light!,” she said.
“Having a painting selected for the IWS annual traveling show is a great honor. This body of work is a smaller subset chosen by the juror/judge from the IWS annual show. The traveling show works become ambassadors for the medium of watercolor as they travel across the state, bringing the beauty of watercolor to a wider audience,” she added.
Gallery and gift shop hours at the Le Mars Arts Center are 1-5 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 1-7 p.m., Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday. The center is closed Sunday and Monday. For special requests, call the center at 546-7476.