By Joel Hall
The 2009 Georgia Watercolor Society (GWS) Member's Exhibition, a collection of some of the best watercolor paintings from around the country, will premiere this week at the Arts Clayton gallery in Jonesboro.
In addition to being able to see the exhibition this month, interested art students will have a chance to learn from Judi Betts, one of the country's renowned watercolor artists.
The opening reception for the exhibit will take place on Thursday, Sept. 3, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. According to Arts Clayton Gallery Manager Karen Powers, this will be the first time Arts Clayton has hosted the works in the 30-year history of the GWS Member's Exhibition.
"The Georgia Watercolor Society does two shows a year," Powers said. "We were awarded this show two years ago. It is a very big deal, because the Georgia Watercolor Society is a very prestigious organization. They had the choice of doing this anywhere across the state of Georgia ... yet they chose to have it here."
According to Powers, the exhibition will consist of 70 pieces by GWS members -- 500 artists from 34 states. She said watercolor work is challenging, because it employs artistic techniques which run counter to traditional oil and acrylic painting.
"You have to be pretty sure of your choices before you make them, because it's not as forgiving as acrylic and oil," Powers said. "Whenever you see white on the painting, it is the paper coming through, not the paint. The white is not painted. It's an incredible medium, and they [the paintings in the exhibition] are some of the best examples of watercolor I've seen."
In addition to the exhibition, which will be on display from now until Oct. 3, Arts Clayton will host the GWS Watercolor Workshop with Judi Betts, Sept. 14-18.
Author of the award-winning books, "Watercolor ... Let's Think About It!" and "Painting ... a Quest toward Xtraordinary," Betts will take beginner and advanced artists through a multitude of painting techniques.
The five-day workshop will take place during business hours at a cost of $500 per person for the class.
GWS President Sally Evans said last year's GWS Member's Exhibition took place at the Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta. She said Arts Clayton is an ideal location for this year's exhibition, as well as the GWS Watercolor Workshop.
"It was following our plan to have shows around the state," Evans said. "We found that [Arts Clayton] would be a great venue, and it had what we required. Within watercolor circles, she [Betts] is very well known.
"We all tend to get stuck in a rut with how we paint," she said, "so it is good to go somewhere else and see how they work. It [the workshop] is for beginners, as well as advanced painters, who may need to be reminded of things they've forgotten."
The opening reception for the GWS Member's Exhibition is free to the public. Space for the GWS Watercolor Workshop is limited. To register, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Arts Clayton at (770) 473-5457.