IWS is thrilled to have Peggy Macnamara serve as the 2020 IWS Members Show juror. Macnamara earned her MA in art history from the University of Chicago and has served as both the Artist-in-Residence at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History since 1990, and as an Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has traveled with Field Museum scientists all over the world to paint nature and illustrate conservation efforts. She has published 4 books in collaboration with museum scientists through University of Chicago Press and created two children’s books.
The 2020 show is a tribute to the artists of Illinois. Five novices all produced work worthy of a prize or at least admiration. Each of the five pieces from the novices showed incredible promise. So I hope to see these artists at the next exhibit.
I felt the flower studies were exceptionally well done. Tiger Lily Tango, Purple Bearded Iris, and Stumped In Blue Gill Prairie showed watercolor at its best. The loose abstract work like Conifer has an appeal that has always brought viewers to watercolor. I think what the show exhibits is that watercolor can be used for strict realism, light abstraction, as well as inventive expression.
It was very hard to single out six pieces for the excellent awards. I had at least twelve on my list and it would have grown if I had seen the originals. One juror’s opinion is nothing more than one juror’s opinion. Although you try to remain totally unbiased, some thoughts just slip into the process. I’ve always been challenged by composition. There are rules but a good composition pulls the whole piece together without being obvious. The color, value, and shapes are just where they should be. I think a good composition signals experience and understanding of the subtleties of painting.
I’ll close with my favorite Michelangelo quote, “If people knew how hard I had to work to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.”
Peggy Macnamara IWS Members Show Juror, 2020
Members Show Paintings
As IWS Director, I want to thank the members for continually supporting IWS and participating in this online members show. It was not ideal situation but turned into a wonderful exhibition. I am continually awed by the artistic vision and technical skills shown by our members. This year, we restructured the awards and granted seven equal Awards of Excellence. This was also our first year of granting awards in a novice category. We felt it was important to encourage beginner painters both in their artistic endeavors and participation in IWS.
Secondly, I want to thank our juror, Peggy Macnamara for her thoughtful consideration of the entries. Due to the subtleties of tone and texture, it is not easy to judge a show of watercolor paintings in a digital format.
I also want to thank the IWS Board members. Launching this show was a team effort. Ken Call handled the online entries, Tony Armendariz managed the finances, Carole Hennessy was the liaison for our juror, Jerry Lewis documented membership renewals, Sylvia Aruffo publicized the show and entry process, Alessandra Ubezio developed the online entry form, and I built the show’s webpage and catalog. All along, Dan Danielson has been working with the OakBrook library and demo artists developing methods of continuing our meetings online.
Although we are not able to gather and enjoy each other’s company and paintings in person, I hope seeing everyone’s work will offer inspiration and encouragement. We have provided pricing information for the paintings. Please contact me at MemberShow@illinoiswatercolorsociety.org for artist contact information.
Again, thank you all for your support and enthusiasm for IWS.