A Sprinkle of Splash

Take a peek at these extraordinary watercolor paintings, all winners in the Splash 20 competition!

Watercolor is one of the most popular paint media—and for good reason. The medium is affordable, easy to transport and, oh, the creative possibilities it offers! Anyone can enjoy painting in watercolor, but to stand out among the crowd takes something special. The Splash series presents works of outstanding contemporary watercolorists from around the globe. In its 20th year, Splash featured 125 works centered on the theme of creative composition. We hope you enjoy this selection of winning pieces!

Want to see your work in the next roundup of winners? Learn more about this prestigious competition and enter now!

Lorraine Watry
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Splish Splash
watercolor on paper, 15×29

“The white feathers and bright orange beak of the American white pelican against the dark water caught my attention. I chose to keep the bird off center, balancing its large shape with the water on the right. The bubbles create texture, movement and leading lines to draw the viewer’s eye.”

Jiang Pan
Zhejiang, China
Cockscomb Flower
watercolor on paper, 22×30

“Cockscomb is a favorite flower in China, where it’s extensively planted in some areas of the countryside. This bright red flower symbolizes happiness and well-being.”

Marnie Becker
Chicago, Illinois
Red Bandana
watercolor on paper, 23×20

“I edited out much of the detail in my reference photo, giving it a dreamlike quality that enhanced the visual appeal. By dropping multiple colors into each area of the painting, I was able to further that fantasylike feeling.”

Cindy Brabec-King
Palisade, Colorado
Cotton Wool and Tin
watercolor on paper, 30×22

“Beginning the compositional process with photos gave me the opportunity to change angles, shapes, light, colors and textures. Sketches and writing about the process helped me make final compositional decisions. I put the tapestry in the middle to direct eye movement.”

Joanna Barnum
Abingdon, Maryland
Gaze
watercolor on paper, 15×22

“While setting up for a life drawing session, I noticed the light from a window falling on the model’s face. I based the view in Gaze on two of the quick photos that I took–one of the subject looking away and one of the subject’s eyes gazing at the viewer.”

Rainbow Tse
Hong Kong
Day is Done 2
watercolor on paper, 22×30

“The empty street of a marketplace at closing brings to mind end-of-day walks back home–a pause during which one notices the dance of light on wet pavement and the ringing noises of a tram–the beauty of the ordinary.”

Kris Preslan
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Memories of Ghent
watercolor on paper, 21×27

“As the tourist boat progressed along the river Lys, I saw, upside down in the glassy surface, stepped silhouettes of the red bricks, gables and carved decorations of Flemish architecture. I imagined life during the 17th century. In Memories of Ghent, I hoped to convey the movement of time.”

Victoria Lisi
Fort Collins, Colorado
Three of a Kind
watercolor on paper, 10×13

“To find the optimal light effect, I took reference photos at different times of day. The rim light fascinated me–the way it filtered through the lace, wrapped around the pears and reflected off the table. My color palette focuses on complements: purple versus gold and blue versus orange.”

Junsung Back
Gyongii, South Korea
Namsadang Nori
watercolor on paper, 15×22 1/2

“Korean culture recognizes a symbolic color scheme of white, black, blue, yellow and red. Traditional troupes wear costumes composed of these colors for namasadang nori [a set of six performances, each featuring a different skill]. In my painting, the tension between these colors and space, working in harmony, delivers the excitement of the spectacle.”

Stephen Zhang
Plano, Texas
Spitalfields
watercolor on paper, 41×31

Spitalfields embodies the importance that I place on the word “move.” First, the artist must be viscerally moved by the subject. Second, the movement of the brush prompts the dynamic paint flow. Finally, movement in composition is vital to the energy of the painting.”

Wen-Cong Wang
New Taipei City, Taiwan
Horse Roping 4
watercolor on paper, 21×29

“My composition focuses on the prowess of an Inner Mongolian herdsman. The horseman, prominent against the lighter background, leans diagonally while the bamboo pole and loop sets a counterbalance. The muscles and manes of the horses and the clouds of dust boost the sense of dynamic strength and velocity.”

Kathy A. Kitz
Lawrenceville, Georgia
Awakening Yellow
watercolor on YUPO, 20×26

Awakening Yellow is the first work in a series exploring emotions and feelings. I started with a horizon line dividing the space. I knew I wanted the bottom section to include my favorite shape–circles–and the top section to be quiet.”

Feeling inspired? Now is the perfect time to enter this year’s competition, Splash 22! You could win prizes, publication, and the opportunity to have your work assessed by our special guest judge, Keiko Tanabe. The final deadline is coming up soon, so don’t wait–enter now!

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