By Samantha Clawson
Havre artists Kris Shaw, Vicky Campbell and Becky Ross have been selected for the Montana Watercolor Society's annual competition, a national show featuring artists from across the nation.
The society's 19th annual national juried exhibition opens Oct. 2 at the Bigfork Art and Cultural Center. Of the 75 paintings selected, 32 were by Montana artists. Another Hi-Line artist, Judy Michael of Malta, was among those selected.
To qualify, artists submit two paintings that are evaluated by a judge. Hundreds are submitted.
The judge this year is Mary Alice Braukman, a nationally exhibited artist from St. Petersburg, Fla. Braukman judges the individual pieces for design, content, color and presentation.
Judging is not an easy task for Braukman. "I take about a good week or more to decide," she said. "There are a lot of good ones that have to be left out."
She added that having three artists chosen from the same area is excellent.
Campbell has been a member and board member for the Watercolor Society for nine years and will become president on Oct. 7. This year is the third year she has been chosen for the final competition.
Members who are chosen for three competitions become signature artists, meaning they can sign MTWS after their names on their paintings.
Campbell's submission is called "Kaleidoscope II." She describes it as "a transparent watercolor compilation of clear brilliant colors."
"Besides being an artist I'm also a quilter, which leads to a problem that whenever I'm painting I want to be quilting and whenever I'm quilting I want to be painting," she said. "So I used my favorite quilting ruler to create a very geometric abstract reminiscent of a kaleidoscope."
Kris Shaw has been a board member for two years. She is in charge of the society's Lewistown members-only show. She has been a member of the society for four years and has submitted her paintings every year. This is the first year she has been accepted into the final 75.
Shaw's painting is titled "To the Max" in honor of Peter Max, who has been a major influence in her painting.
"Awhile back Vicky started writing a news column for the MTWS newsletter and she interviewed each of the board members. One of her questions was Which artist influenced your early art exploration?' I was inspired by Peter Max from the '60s and '70s. Because of that I started thinking about his work again. I hadn't done that in awhile. I decided I wanted to paint a tribute to Peter Max."
In this particular piece of art, Max's influence can be seen in the hearts, sunrise and flowers. She also added objects not traditional to Max's work.
Becky Ross is the third member of the Havre trio. She has been a member of the Montana Watercolor Society for five years. This is her second time in the final competition but she has big plans for the future. She wants to be a signature member.
Her painting in the competition is "Shadows on the Edge." The landscape is of an area by Bear Paw Lake.
"I hope they can see the crispness and the clearness of our Montana winters, and how lucky we are to live in Havre," said Ross.
Ross paints from photographs. Her favorite subjects are old school houses.
Ross prefers to paint with watercolors but she also uses pastels and oils. Ross has her own business, Prairie Papers, making handmade paper. She sells her wares in Virginia City at the Virginia City Forge and Tin works.
Ross also teaches an adult education class in art.
The Montana Watercolor Society raffles a book during the competition. The book includes 20 to 40 pieces of art bound in a leather cover. Many of the artists who contribute to the book are nationally known. Shaw and Campbell will be selling tickets at the end of the month.
All art at the show will be displayed Oct. 2-27.