Monday, March 31, 2008


Those of you who are seriously into watercolors do not need an explanation of what AWS is. The mere mentioning of this acronym is always accompanied by awe and wistful eyes, and the thought of "some day, I wanna make it into that show!".

For those of you who do not belong to that crowd, AWS stands for
American Watercolor Society, whose annual show is probably the most distinguished one to be accepted to. Hundreds of entries (if not more) are sent every year, which makes it extremely difficult to get in. Many artists try again and again, getting rejected, and keep on trying. And then, one day, they make it in.

This year, 96 paintings were selected. Both Mike Bailey and WackieM made it into this prestigious show for the first time, each with an incredible painting

And - WackieM (who goes by Myrna Wacknov in the non Nava-blog realm) got an award on her painting "Reflections on Turning 65".

This is so incredibly cool!!!

"So, what are you bragging about!?", you ask. "It's not like you won an award or even got accepted!".

True, very true. I am still wading in shallow water and muck with the unwashed masses, making my first steps in the art world, one tiny step at a time.

And yet - I am lucky to have both Mike and WackieM as great teachers and mentors, which kinda has some braggin' value. I can bask in their glory, I can hope that - along with their teaching - some of their mastery rubbed off on me, and I can just be very happy for them, 'cause they both deserve to be recognized.

But there's another thing: The JohnnyB and I now get to wallow in the glee and piousness that comes with the good ole "Told ya so!" - which is always an undeniable fun.

Y'see, just before the annual show of our organization in October 2007, WackieM was deciding between two paintings, and I was one of those whose she asked for. Both The JohnnyB and I unanimously voted for the one that had striking novelty and uniqueness in its composition and the idea behind it, as well as a powerful emotional effect in its honesty and vulnerability. WackieM decided to go along with that painting - and indeed, as you may recall, got the First Place Award, together with an unprecedented consensus and countless comments about how much it's touched everyone who saw it. The painting also won the first place in the Popular Choice vote. (I can now say how relieved I was that it got awarded; when you give advice and it turns out sour, well, I have a sensitive conscience).

Realizing this painting has something very special about it, she decided to give it a try at AWS. . .



Myrna Wacknov said...

I blush at your words! At the rate your paintings are improving, it won't take you nearly as long as it did me to get to the AWS show.

Smiler said...

nava: I'm sure your mentors are rubbing off on you. That's the nature of mentorship. And I agree with your recommendation on which painting Myrna should go with. I haven't seen the other one, but this one is very special. I couldn't manage just one of those portraits, never mind nine of them on the same page! Ack! I can see why she inspires you.