More than 200 Sacramento-region watercolorists are expected to enter their paintings in “Go with the Flow 2010,” a juried watercolor open exhibition that begins Sept. 7 at the Sacramento Fine Arts Center in Carmichael. The exhibition is presented by the Watercolor Artists of Sacramento Horizons (WASH) and is one of the organization’s two major annual exhibitions.
Watercolorist Dale Laitinen will serve as juror for this year’s exhibition. A signature member of the National Watercolor Society and Watercolor West, Laitinen is a graduate of Modesto Junior College and San Jose State University who earned a bachelor’s degree in art with a painting concentration. He is a past juror for national and regional exhibitions including Watercolor West, the Kentucky Watercolor Society, the Utah Watercolor Society, the Watercolor Society of Oregon, Red River Watermedia Show, Magnum Opus, and many others.
This year’s exhibition will be the fourth under the direction of show chairwoman Patty Waggoner, who said she expects to spend at least a week at the Sacramento Fine Arts Center getting everything set up for the show.
“I’ve learned you need to send the signup sheets out many times and to start contacting sponsors early,” she said.
One of the most challenging parts of setting up is the not-nearly-as-ominous-as-it-sounds “hanging day,” when volunteers hang works of art entered in the exhibition on the arts center’s walls. Overseeing previous exhibitions has given Waggoner a keen eye for the finer details of hanging paintings.
“There’s an art to hanging,” she said. “You learn to know what looks good together, and to try to not put (works by) the same artist on the same wall.”
Waggoner said her favorite part of being associated with the exhibition is seeing artists gain confidence from entering.
“We encourage any artist who wants to enter to do so,” she said. “Even if you don’t think you’re ready yet, you might surprise yourself and get a work in the show. For an artist to have family and friends view their work in a show, that’s the end-all and be-all for an artist.”
WASH’s history dates to 1978, when watercolorists Jan Miskulin and Nancy Haley first discussed the need for a watercolor society. After Miskulin’s watercolor class enthusiastically endorsed the idea, the group was formed and began meeting – electing Miskulin as its first president. In 1987, WASH was invited to become a member of the Sacramento Fine Arts Center by Marjorie Long, a past president of WASH.
Miskulin recalled the goals of the early members of WASH.
“We were just a bunch of artists who wanted to get our work out in the community,” she said. “We really didn’t have a home; we had to get space from about a half-dozen public venues.” These accommodating venues included Fidelity Savings, Home Savings, the John E. Moss building, and Crocker Bank.
Over the years, Miskulin has seen WASH and its members endure various ups and downs. The society’s membership, which peaked at around 200 members, has declined of late. One thing that has remained constant has been Miskulin’s zeal for art and its creation.
“It’s my passion, and I can’t ever remember not doing it,” she said by telephone from her studio. “At the moment, I’m sitting here in my studio, surrounded by paintings, trying to decide which one to enter” into this year’s exhibition.
“Go with the Flow 2010” runs from Sept. 7 to Oct. 2 at the Sacramento Fine Arts Center, 5330-B Gibbons Dr. in Carmichael. Gallery hours are Tuesdays from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. For more information, visit www.sacfinearts.org.