Local watercolorist Susan Avis Murphy served as judge and jury for Gaithersburg Fine Arts Association’s (GFAA) 30th Annual Juried Art Exhibit that is on view through June 12 at the Kentlands Mansion. Two-dimensional fine artwork was judged in three categories: water media, oil/acrylic, and other media including drawing, pastel, tempera, pen and ink, ink/wash, encaustic, mixed, and “no assemblage” collage.
According to GFAA President Susan Bradley, the association was established in 1977 by a small group of artists to exchange ideas, techniques and information about visual arts. Sixty-one members currently comprise the association that provides an art forum for its members to collaborate on activities that expand on their individual artistic backgrounds. Members enjoy educational programs during monthly meetings, promotional opportunities, and outreach to local audiences and the broader artistic and collector communities.
“The Kentlands exhibit is GFAA’s biggest show of the year and an opportunity for members to present their best work. Many members regularly exhibit their work throughout Montgomery County and the broader Washington, D.C., area, and a number serve as art instructors both privately and through local art institutions,” said Sandra Schraibman, the exhibit’s chairperson. “We are honored to have Susan Avis Murphy as the juror. … She is a nationally-recognized artist and art instructor whose work can be found in over 20 major corporation collections.”
Murphy, who has lived in Sandy Spring since 1985, added her studio and gallery called ARThouse to her home in 1990. She has signature memberships in the American, National, Baltimore, and Southern Watercolor Societies. Inspired by her mother who took watercolor classes with a neighbor, Murphy began painting when she was 8 years old and “started painting seriously” at 25.She said that the painting an artist submits to a juried show may “be a little different than one for other purposes.” She cites six main characteristics of a good juried show painting: intentionality, timelessness, execution, conciseness, composition and creativity.
She examines the execution of the main characteristics, including the artist’s intentions (they need to be clear, fulfilled and have universal appeal), mastery of technique and confidence in handling materials, communication of one storyline without unnecessary components, underlying abstract design, and balanced composition. Murphy also determines that “the artist understands the principles of design, and the subject is not hackneyed. And if common, an uncommon viewpoint or treatment has been selected.”
“The hardest part will be picking the prize winners since I’m sure there will be many excellent paintings, and it is always subjective to some extent,” Murphy noted in anticipation of executing her duties as juror. “I will need to balance technical skill against creativity and award paintings that show both. I will also look for effort: Is the painting truly finished the best it could have been, or are there lost opportunities?”
She added, “Competition serves an important purpose in the art world because it is constantly ‘raising the bar.’ As artists see what other artists are doing, they become aware of new approaches and become inspired to improve their own painting.”
The Winners are:
Linda S. Sherman, “Bird Trio,” Best in Show
Angela Lacy, “Bird’s Perspective,” 1st Place; Linda S. Sherman, “Coral Reef,” 2nd Place; Marcia Bhorjee, “In the Beginning,” 3rd Place; Jeanne Powell, “Cuban Classic” and Deb Cohan, “Alone Together,” Honorable Mention.
Matthew Baker, “Lavender and Pastels,” 1st Place; Liisa Strandman-Long, “Joy,” 2nd Place; Virginia Chandler, “Chief,” 3rd Place; Marianne Kost, “The Immoratal Cub Cadet,” Bill Mapes, “Andrea,” and Marie Riccio, “Evan,” Honorable Mention.
Estelle Zorman, “Mother Earth’s Howling,” 1st Place; Helga Albers, “Stained Glass,” 2nd Place; Susan Bradley, “Left Behind in Alaska,” 3rd Place; Betsy Kimball Baden, “Balancing Act,” and Marcia Bhorjee, “Connections,” Honorable Mention.
For more information, visit www.gaithersburgfinearts.org and www.arthouseart.com.