by Shelby Soule
Right now is a great time to take a respite from the rainy weather and dive into some local water-media arts at the 32nd Annual Idaho Watercolor Society Juried Membership Exhibition currently up at Boise State University. Artists from all over the state submitted hundreds of pieces that were winnowed down to the 50 paintings now hanging.
Juried by internationally renowned contemporary watercolor master Sterling Edwards, this year’s selections are as diverse as its participants are talented. Among the fulgent winter- and mountain-scapes you might expect to find in an exhibit of watercolors, the walls are lined with portraits of people, llamas, fowl, machinery and more.
In a letter to the entrants, Edwards described his criteria as based heavily on bold composition and originality:
It's difficult to find something that has not been painted numerous times by various artists. Taking a little artistic license, however, can make a world of difference in creating a unique piece of art that commands attention.
Marcia Warne, publicity chairwoman for IWS, said Edwards encountered some obstacles while judging the entries.
“He said that this show was very difficult to judge, as it was one of the best shows he has ever seen,” Warne said.
And with such a broad range of techniques, concepts and styles represented in the exhibition, Edwards' struggles are understandable. Those paintings found to exemplify the watercolor medium received awards by the juror, IWS and other sponsors. In addition, the top 20 award-winning paintings will comprise a traveling exhibit that will show in four different locations throughout Idaho between August and November.
The exhibit is open for viewing from 7 a.m.-10 p.m. daily through Thursday, June 23, at Boise State’s Student Union Building Gallery, located on the second floor.