Newsletter #10, January 2023

Welcome 2023 ✨🎉✨

My Show Judging Experience
Watercolor + Gouache workshops
This is a photograph of volunteers who set up each and every one of the 85 paintings for the California Watercolor Association’s 53rd National Show (see it online here) and then packed them up and loaded it into a truck after I was done judging. Judging was enjoyable only because they took care of the logistics.

If you look at the image below you can see what I saw while judging! I looked up and saw the volunteers waiting for me to say, "I have made my choice, these paintings need to be put back in the truck." No pressure!!

18 awards were given out today. Each one of them is a biased award. To those who didn’t win, please know it only reflects my taste and does not reflect on your competence.

What Was I Looking For? 

The first pass was done by what was interesting to me. If it was interesting, I marked down why - it was always competence in drawing, competence in composing and bold deliberate choices. I had a fair idea of what appeals to me so I had an excel sheet with these columns marked when I went in to jury.

I refined the paintings' choice to 25 paintings and then reduced the choices to 18. When choosing between first and second award, I had to choose between bold simplicity and toiled simplicity. My natural lean is towards bold simplicity. Something made me break that norm this time.

When the choice was hard, I chose the piece that evoked most emotion in me and generated enquiry within me. A boy standing in sun with a pout makes me want to know more of this little boy's story. The thought went beyond the representation in the painting.

Vote of Thanks
Gary Tucker did a fantastic job of whittling down the entries to 85 paintings. Imagine how hard that must've been! Thanks to Michael Friedland, the director of the National Show, for choosing me as the sole juror of awards.

My taste evolves so we have caught an ephemeral slice of my taste via the award giving exercise. Every time I didn’t choose a painting to award, I turned it around gently and apologized for the finality of the decision. Many times I turned around the painting to see the name of the artist behind it and gasped. I am sad for those that just missed being in the list but not guilty. 
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This is the only online comprehensive wet on wet, weekend watercolor workshop I am teaching this year. March 11-12. 2023. 
Want in-person workshops with group of instructors? Both the workshops below have star instructors and me.
* Urban sketching workshop: See me in Santa Fe (Apr 2023).
* All inclusive weekend workshop? Come to Deck of Textures, in Asilomar, California (Sep 2023).
In other news
I stopped volunteering with Urban Sketchers Executive Board in Aug 2022. I am still not fully ready to volunteer in such a large capacity again. However, as a short term stint, I am remotely mentoring a group of artists in India in between Jan - Mar. I will post an update on it in the newsletter of March '23.

Have you begun on your 2023 art goals? What were they? Share your stories of resolve on social media or by email with me. 


Newsletter #11 will go out in February 2023
Copyright © 2023 UMA KELKAR, All rights reserved.

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