NWWS Winners Announced

Updated with this year’s award winners.

The Northwest Watercolor Society (NWWS) 80th International Open Exhibition is online only this year through January 1, 2021. Juror Ron Stocke had his work cut out for him to narrow the 674 entries from 38 states and 12 countries down to the 75 paintings in the exhibition.

“I’m excited to be involved in this year’s International Open Exhibition; it has some fantastic work,” Stocke said. He is an award-winning and internationally known watercolor artist himself as well as a signature member in NWWS, the American Watercolor Society, and the National Watercolor Society plus an elected member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour.

NWWS President Molly Murrah believes the main reason for so many entries this year is that the exhibition accepted a wide range of substrates for watermedia paintings on any appropriate, archival, two-dimensional surface, natural or synthetic. “Last year we opened the exhibition to expanded framing option for paintings. This year with Covid-19 and having an online only show only, NWWS drew more artists to participate because paintings didn’t have to be framed and shipped to hang,” Murrah noted. “As a result, truly exceptional artwork is on display.”

“Other incentives we had were that the minimum painting size was set at seven inches and artists receive 75 percent of the sales price,” added exhibition co-chair Cindy Baij. “This is also the first year we’ve had the Open in the fall.”

“A Breath of Fresh Air” by Dongfeng Li

First place of $2,000 cash went to Dongfeng Li for his painting, “A Breath of Fresh Air.” “He paints with a brush in one hand and a foam roller in the other,” Stocke said of Li, “and he builds up these lovely formed paintings. Just master class.” Li was born and raised in China but moved to the U.S. in 1992 and is an associate professor of art at Morehead State University in Kentucky.

“Bubbly” by Janine Helton

Second place of $1,300 went to Janine Helton of St. Charles, Missouri for her painting, “Bubbly.” At the virtual awards reception October 30th, Stocke said, “There’s one thing about portraits I particularly look at – does the painting capture the personality and soul of that person.” Stocke went on to say he didn’t know the person in “Bubbly” but felt like he does now “simply by looking at Janine’s painting.”

“Nap at the Sawmill” by Karen Mai

Karen Mai based in Hong Kong received $800 for her 3rd place award of “Nap at the Sawmill.” “This is what watercolor is all about,” Stocke said. “The values, the shapes, the lines, the perspective, the composition – everything about this painting is working.”

To hear Ron Stocke’s own words on why he chose each watermedia painting and to see the exhibition please go to www.nwws.org.

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Kelly Kane
PleinAir Magazine and American Watercolor Weekly Editor-in-Chief With more than 20 years experience in art publishing, Kelly Kane has served previously as Editor-in-Chief of Watercolor Artist magazine and Content Director for The Artist’s Magazine, Drawing, Acrylic Artist, and Pastel Journal. She has interviewed many of the preeminent artists of our time and written numerous articles about painting, drawing, art education and art history. She is now the Editor-in-Chief of PleinAir Magazine and the American Watercolor Weekly newsletter. Click here to send her an email.


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