Fine Art & Culture

World-Class Watercolor Artists in Fallbrook

The Fallbrook Art Center is currently presenting the Worlds of Watercolor, which is comprised of the Signature American Watercolor Exhibition and the National Watercolor Societies, 89th Annual Exhibition Travel Show.

Both shows are hanging in the Janice Griffiths Gallery and are a testament to the vast array of work possible with a single medium. The skill of the artists in both exhibitions is extraordinary.

Photo by Natalie Mills

The Signature American Watercolor Exhibition was open to Signature Members of recognized water media societies and associations in the United States. Out of 211 submissions, 29 were ultimately chosen by juror Frank Webb AWS (DF) NWS. Webb chose 13 artists to receive the various awards offered for the show.

A few notable pieces from the exhibit include:

“Sunshine inf the Kolob Canyon” by Gloria Miller Allen, which depicts spires of rock covered in a dusting of snow, you feel cold looking at it, feel pity for the artist who painted this scene. One wonders how she kept from freezing while dealing with the cold rock face.

Another favorite piece was “Fractal Beach” by Missi Paul. A colorful play on a landscape using blocks of brilliant color to produce a visual riot, yet tranquil at the same time. Trying to discern a beach you will tire your brain. Just enjoy it for what it is.

National Watercolor Societies, 89th Annual Exhibition Travel Show occupied the remainder of the gallery. There were 97 paintings submitted to the exhibition, of which a final 27 were chosen. Fallbrook is one of only five stops in the Country before the exhibition returns the the NWS headquarters in San Pedro, California.

The travel show seemed to have works that were a little more vibrant visually, with some techniques that were stunning. Seeing watercolor paintings that look like a photograph or reproducing the distortion of rain on a car windshield going down a busy road take a heavy dose of creative talent.

A piece that stopped people dead in their tracks was “Shadow Design” by E. Gordon West, which won both the Utrecht Award of Excellence and Canson Fine Paper Award. It is a brilliant tension between sunlight, shadow and darkness. You can feel the light, so bright that it hurts and dazzles your eyes, and your sight is swallowed by the pitch black darkness.

A personal favorite that almost came home with me was “Road to Charlotte” by Thomas J. Owen, CO, which won the Henry Fukuhara Award. You feel like you are partaking in the rainstorm, with the light blurring off the window, distorting reality as you drive on. This is a brilliant work, and at only $1958 is sure to be snatched up. Photo by Natalie Mills

Take an hour and a half out of your day, and go see this display, if you are an art buff you will be glad you did.

Read it fast and you will think it's a last name. Photo by Natalie Mills

The Loo Gallery shows that someone has a wicked sense of humor. What would have been a wasted space anywhere else, has been put to use as a mini gallery which can hold about 10 paintings.

There was one other small gallery present, or was it a dining room with art. It was a room with duality that was neither restaurant nor gallery, sort of an eternal battle over food or art and neither one exerting it’s dominance. This gallery was refereed to as the Salon Gallery, which is featuring the work of three local artists, Annette Lotuso Paquet and Carol Thomason from San Diego and Rikki Reinholz from Carlsbad. Their show, appropriately enough, is called “Three Perspectives” and features serveral forms of watercolor-based media.

Loo Gallery

Robin Erickson's work “Circa 2010” has the honor of hanging in the Loo Gallery, which if not a highlight of a career, is certainly a memorable event. Photograph by Natalie Mills

Cafe des Artistes

While reviewing the stunning works of art hanging on the walls of the gallery we kept hearing the din and rustle of what we thought was a big meeting. After spying Champagne buckets, we decided that a closer inspection was in order.

Tucked away in the back corner of the Fallbrook Art Gallery is Cafe des Artistes an absolute jewel of a Cafe, that rewrites the rules of what a Cafe is, and just how much goodness you can cram into such a tiny package. This Cafe was such a hit that it rated it’s own small review, and we will certainly be back in the future. See:

Some of the fantastic watercolors on display

“Finale-Allegro molto” by Ted Nuttall. Photograph by Natalie Mills

"Series Four" by Nanci Yermakoff, MN, Loa Ruth Sprung Award. Photograph by Natalie Mills

"Old Reflected in the New, Westbahnhof, Vienna" by Valerie Crooks. Photograph by Natalie Mills

Art has Soul

Art is even more subjective than wine tasting, it is really something that you have to go and experience yourself first hand. Even excellent photographs do not do justice the majority of art. Good art has a soul that moves you, and creates an emotion that can rarely be captured in film or pixels. Art has to be experienced. Sometimes that experience is disturbing and unsettling, other times, exciting and vibrant, or worst of all is when the art itself is dull and lifeless.

You will not experience any of these things sitting in front of a computer reading about art, go and see it. If not this exhibition than something else.

The current shows run until March 28, and admission is only $5.00 for adults.

Red Twig

"Red Twig" by Geoffrey McCormack, OR, National Watercolor Society Purchase Award, with Silver Star. Photograph by Natalie Mills

Fallbrook Art Center

103 South Main Street

Fallbrook, California 92028

Phone: 760.728.1414


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