Deb Ward, GWS, OWS, PWS, WSI - WATERCOLOR/WATER MEDIA - My passion is teaching adult “beginners”. Weekly classes in my home; workshops; classes for Cincinnati Recreation Commission. My work is nationally recognized and published - see “Featured” on my sidebar. I’m a Signature Member of Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana state Watercolor Societies, Cincinnati Art Club, past-President of Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society. Contact info below under “Class Information”

Monday, November 28, 2011


This photo is a little odd in color, but you can see the addition of a stem for the left flower.
As usual, when I do a demo, I’m not really invested in the painting and probably don’t care whether I ever complete the painting. However, since I was in a sunflower mood (!) I decided to complete this one - at least, I think it’s complete – any suggestions? - and please don’t say (like my daughter does) “needs more detail”!!! (LOL)

This is fluid acrylic on a 10x20 canvas.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Here I’ve added to the greenery, deepened the sunflower center and added the leaves.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


When I picked up the painting again, I wasn’t sure if I’d remember the colors used, but have them pretty close. Obviously, here I have worked on the left sunflower, then some more on the right.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


It’s been a while since I’ve really had time to paint, and in order to sort of “get back into the swing of things” I’m working on something that’s quite old.

This one was started for a demo some time ago, then left to sit.

As noted, this was a demo – so I had part of the sky, some of the yellow on the right flower, some of the greenery completed before the demo, then added some to the painting during the demo. You can probably see where the sky was stopped and started at the top of the left sunflower – I let a petal run off the page at that point.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I have auditioned my pinks and am ready to begin the background – nothing ventured, nothing gained, right??
Well, definitely nothing gained!!!

At this point I'm ready to give up.  The blue paint is lifing too much, the background and shadows are too blotchy and I'm not happy.  I may try adding some fluid acrylics at this point, or I may just give up.

Looks like the painting won after all!  Remember that score card? Now it's Painting 3 - Deb 2.

Win some, lose some.  I lose.

But it's definitely worth another try.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Our ViewPoint show opening was a huge success last night; great crowd, beautiful show.  Watching the judging on Wednesday prompted me to write this post.

So, you entered the show properly and your painting was accepted into the show. Hurrah!

Now it’s time for awards judging.

What you will never know, and what I never realized until watching the judging process take place, is that your painting might have been in the running for an award!

In my (vast!!!) experience, the judge will take time to walk around the gallery several times, perhaps closely inspecting some of the paintings. If there are specific awards that need to be chosen (such as an award specifically for pastel or watercolor or a local artist or . . . ) the judge must take those criteria into consideration during the judging process.

Finally, on one of those walks around the room, the judge will begin to put a post-it note or some other indication on or next to some of the paintings. This process can take a while and sometimes the judge asks questions about certain paintings. Maybe a post-it note will come off one painting and go onto another painting. Maybe that will happen several times. At last, a decision will be made for each award and the judge will probably take at least one more walk around to ascertain that the final decisions have been made.

So, you never know, your painting may have been up for an award for quite a while until some criteria changed the judge’s mind to give that prize to another painting.

In addition, that old saying about not “painting for the judge” really is true, in my experience! A capable judge will be looking at each painting for its own merits and just because that judge paints in a particular medium or in a particular style doesn’t necessarily mean that only paintings done in the judge’s style or medium will be juried into the show. You may be surprised what that judge puts in. And those judges know when people are “painting for the judge” and guess what – they don’t really like it!

Always enter your best work, whatever it may be, and trust in the integrity of the judge and the organization running the show.

And, take heart, and consider yourself a winner any time you get a painting accepted into a show, especially a national show of any sort. You weren’t competing with local artists, but those from around the country, and your painting is holding its own and hanging on the wall next to some of the best painters in the country. And maybe, just maybe, it was up for an award for a while!

How cool is that?

Well, not as cool as winning that award, but still pretty darn cool.

And now you know the “inner secrets” of how an art show is judged!

* * * * *
I would like to add here Greg Albert's (ViewPoint judge this year) juror's statement - wise words, indeed.

Juror’s statement by Greg Albert
Judging an art show is always difficult. No piece is perfect and most will have many, but different, qualities that make choosing some over others a challenge. But in the end, a judge must do what the artists themselves had to do: draw the line somewhere. Although I attempt to be as objective as possible and consciously apply the established principles for assessing the relative quality of artworks, I recognize that in the end, all judgments about art are subjective and personal. Another judge would most likely make different selections using the same criteria. That alone should remind the artists not to take any one judge’s decisions too seriously, or become discouraged by the results.
A judge can only see and assess a work in front of him. No juror can know the background or context of its creation. The effort, energy, frustration or satisfaction the artist experienced in its creation is not known. It’s unfortunate an award can’t be given to the artist who had the most fun while making his or her art.
There are two generally accepted criteria for judging art in a show: concept and execution. Concept is the idea behind the work. Is the idea original? Is it significant? Is it interesting? Execution is how the idea was expressed in perceptible form, which includes composition or design, the use of color, line, contrast, as well as craftsmanship or control over the materials used. These criteria apply to both representational and non-representational artworks. An unoriginal idea, no matter how well executed, or a poor execution of an idea no matter how brilliant will not get this judge’s nod.
Seeing such a variety of great work in this year’s Viewpoint Exhibit is a thrill. I hope everyone who participated will be encouraged and inspired to continue producing more great work.