Missouri Watercolor Society Invitational opens in Montminy Art Gallery

Sunday, September 11, 2011 | 5:38 p.m. CDT; updated 7:57 p.m. CDT, Sunday, September 11, 2011

COLUMBIA — Seventy-eight Missouri Watercolor Society members from 23 different states contributed work to the 2011 Missouri Watercolor Society Members’ Invitational on Sunday. The show’s opening and award ceremony took place at the Montminy Art Gallery of the Boone County Museum.

In past years, the Columbia Arts League hosted the exhibition. Jen Flink, executive director and curator of the Boone County Museum, explained that the show moved to the Montminy Gallery because it needed more space — the gallery offers 8,000 square feet.

The main reason for moving to the Montminy Gallery was that the show has been growing since it began 11 years ago, said George "Papa" Tutt, founder of the Missouri Watercolor Society.

He said the exhibition is a “state-fair-type show,” which means that any watercolor society members may submit their work. While artists used to be required to deliver their painting in person, they can now mail the painting directly to the gallery.

Tutt has a special connection to the gallery. He was a student of MU Art Professor Tracy Montminy. She and her husband Pierre Montminy were major donors to the gallery, which is named for them. Tutt said that Tracy Montminy was extremely influential in his decision to continue pursuing art.

“We want (our winners) to experience the good, the bad and the ugly,” Tutt said.

The judging of the show is the sole decision of the previous year’s winner.

Paul Jackson, of Columbia, Mo., won last year and it was his day to experience the ugly side of winning. 

“Some of the members are going to be mad at me when I come in,” Jackson said. But he said he did his best to judge fairly. He started by studying the paintings from about five feet away and tried not to look at the signature. In fact, there was only one thing he was hoping to find.

“I was just looking for excellence,” Jackson said.

The top three ribbon winners were “Three Tier Tea” by George Schoonover, “Wild Iris” by Marlin Rotach and “Jeremiah 1:5” by Diane E. Halley, respectively.

The three pieces varied in subject, style and technique. “Wild Iris” depicts a bright pink flower and is painted with photographic precision.

In contrast, “Jeremiah 1:5” was done with watercolor and colored pencil. Jackson said that it almost looked like pointillism, a style of painting with small dots that make up a picture. 

Jackson said judging is subjective and participants shouldn’t take it that seriously. “If you win an award, great. If not, keep painting.”

The Missouri Watercolor Society exhibition will be on display through Oct. 30. The Montminy Art Gallery hours are 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.

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