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In The Spotlight © Judy Lavoie

In The Spotlight

Original Watercolor on Paper by Judy Lavoie

IMAGE SIZE: 22" x 30"

STATUS: (Currently touring in an Exhibition, through Feb 2017*)
For Sale, matted in ivory and framed in wood, for $1500

This painting was accepted in the prestigeous juried Tennessee Watercolor Society's 2016 Exhibition, and was a top award winner! It is now part of a Traveling Show, being exhibited around the state of Tennessee until February 2017. Scroll down for more details.

"This is a painting of our musical friend Mike. We were at an outdoor gathering in October and he pulled out his guitar after dark and sat in front of a barn, under a floodlight. I loved the dramatic lighting and the casual pose. Another musician was playing his harmonica and partially obscured from the light, in a mysterious way. I took reference photos with my point-and-shoot digital camera set on available light. The shots captured the scene well; not with sharp detail but revealing the contrast and textures which I found appealing.

I was inspired to paint this scene in watercolor. This one is actually my third attempt; you can read my blog post to learn more about the previous unsuccessful efforts - and this one! I was hoping this try would work so I'd have an entry into the 2016 Tennessee Watercolor Society's biennial exhibition, taking place in nearby Knoxville.

In The Spotlight was painted on 300 lb. D'arches cold-press watercolor paper. The heavy weight of this paper keeps it from buckling, so it doesn't require prestretching. It's not a smooth surface, so that helps emphasize the textures of things like the denim fabric and gravel flooring. I mixed all my watercolors from a limited palette of basic red, blue, and yellow, plus a darker blue, indigo, and an earthy burnt sienna. The nearly black background was a mixture of these colors, with two coats to get it very dark. I painted the harmonica player as if he was in full light, then held my breath and used a fine mist sprayer filled with diluted blue pigment to make him appear to be in the shadows. I had preserved the white spots of unpainted paper for the reflections from his zipper and watch, as interesting details, by covering them with masking fluid. Pushing the harmonica figure back helped de-emphasize him and kept the main focus on the figure of Mike.

As with many of my paintings, I chose a title with a double meaning. Mike was literally "in the spotlight" and, as the featured musician, he was figuratively "in the spotlight!"


The photo above shows the subject of "In The Spotlight," my Nashville friend Mike Rogers, below a banner for the Watercolor show on the front of The Custom House Museum in Clarksville, TN, the final host of the Traveling Show. I was very proud to have my artwork featured on the banner!

* This painting was juried into the 2016 biennial Tennessee Watercolor Society Exhibition, and also selected as one of 30 for the TnWS Traveling Show, which brings award winning paintings and others selected by the juror to four additional gallery and museum locations around the state for the rest of the exhibition year.

Fifty-one paintings from several hundred digital entries were selected for the 2016 Tennessee Watercolor Society show by internationally renowned artist John Salminen. The exhibition rules changed from previous years, and no more than one painting could be accepted from entering artists (two entries were allowed, and I also entered "Volunteers."

These exhibitions feature exceptional original watermedia artwork, from extraordinarily talented artists, working in both representational and abstract styles. Visit the Society's website, which features paintings from past Exhibitions.

[NOTE: Judy's painting Elles Tobacco Planter was selected for the 2014 Exhibition (also chosen for the Traveling Show). Prior to 2014, any artist could have up to two paintings accepted; Judy had two paintings in the 2012 Exhibition, "Jerry Van, Music Man" and "Jesus Saves," and both were award winners. In the 2010 Exhibition her painting "Decadence" was an award winner, and "Nature Paints a Picture" was also accepted. Her painting "Out to Pasture" was juried into the 2008 Exhibition, the first one she entered. Judy has earned the status of a Signature Member of the Tennessee Watercolor Society.]

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