Celebrating Wins — and Losses

First Place winner in the December 2022 PleinAir Salon, watercolor artist Rukiye Garip had this to say about . . . 


“My inspiration for Winter’s Reflection was the woodland area near my home,” says Rukiye Garip. “I am fascinated by its enchanting beauty in every season and at different times of the day – melting snow during a walk in snowy weather, leaves in the water, reflected tree branches, and light.

“Winter’s Reflection” (watercolor, 30 x 22 in.)

“Since the reference photos I took did not fully meet my dreams, I created a new composition using a few photos. I discarded the details that would create confusion and added leaves and branches. I had to decide where to start for this seemingly multi-layered work. In this process, where I had to plan from the beginning, I experimented with drawing and color for three days.

“In order not to drown in the details, it was best to act in accordance with the order and layers in nature. First of all, I worked on the snowy areas, then the lightest tonal transitions in the reflections, and finally all the details layer by layer.

“I used a salt effect for leaf, stone, and snow textures. I used maskıng fluıd to protect the small glittery areas on the water surface. I completed the painting phase in five days, working an average of four hours a day.

“The biggest challenge in works with reflections is maintaining transparency in the water. Therefore, wet and fast work is required in the first layer. The hardest part for me in this picture was to mix the colors of the leaves visible under the water and the color of the water, without creating any pollution in the first layer. It was both challenging and exciting to be able to give the magical effect I wanted by thinking about the next layers and preserving the light.”


“Entering an art competition requires bravery for almost everyone because in the end, there are only two possibilities: winning and losing. For me, it is important to experience both.

Roasted Potatoes (watercolor, 14 x 22 in.)

“It is very natural for a person who participates in a prize art competition to dream and expect the grand prize, but at the same time, it is necessary to accept the negative consequences as normal. An artist who wants to participate in the competition must first make sure that the conditions and concept of the art competition are suitable for him/her. It is important to be aware of your own level, to know the general participant profiles, and therefore not to be disappointed with the possible results. Instead of expecting good results with a mediocre work, I recommend that they participate with their best work.”


“Not getting a reward once should not diminish your motivation to try again. The experience you gain will guide you in the new steps you will take. Whatever the result, it is necessary to meet it with maturity and chock it up as a plus in our experience ledger.

“For this competition, I experienced the excitement of waiting for the result, the happiness of knowing that my effort was appreciated, and the feeling of peace at the same time. My motivation to make many new paintings was renewed.”

“Lonely Willow” (watercolor, 22 x 29 1/2 in.)

“Garip was born in 1964 in the Bartin city of Turkey, where she graduated from the art department of Gazi University. A retired art teacher, she was painting in various mediums including oil, pastel, and charcoal pencil, until her first watercolor work in 2014, after which she transitioned to watercolor exclusively.

“Garip has taken part in over 70 international group exhibitions and is a frequent award-winner and featured artist in numerous magazines, books, and catalogs in many countries. She is a signature member of the American Watercolor Society (AWS) and member of the International Master of Watercolor Alliance (IMWA).”

The PleinAir Salon rewards artists with over $33,000 in cash prizes and exposure of their work, with the annual winning painting featured on the cover of PleinAir Magazine.



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