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Watercolor Ohio 2012′ to be ‘visual feast for the eyes and the soul’ in Columbus

Courtesy of Sally S. Heston

This week’s rainy weather might be the perfect backdrop for a new art exhibit opening downtown this week.

The 35th annual “Watercolor Ohio 2012” exhibition, which is scheduled to run Thursday through Jan. 13 at the Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery, showcases water-based media from more than 65 artists.

Mary Gray, director of the Riffe Gallery, said she is excited to welcome the exhibition back to the gallery.

“The Riffe Gallery hosted the 31st annual exhibition, and it was a terrific collaboration, so we joined forces again this year,” Gray said.

She also said the pool of artists chosen to participate in the exhibit change from year to year, but all of them are members of the Ohio Watercolor Society and must showcase water-based media.

“So it’s not necessarily all watercolor paintings,” Gray said. “There could be watered down acrylic paintings or gouache, which are opaque water paintings, for example.”

Sally Heston, a signature member, which is the highest level of membership in the Ohio Watercolor Society, is one of the artists participating in this year’s exhibit.

“My painting is a figurative painting telling a narrative story,” Heston said. “It’s a portrait of three children who are having their picture taken. In the past, I’ve entered landscapes and still life, so I’m doing a different subject matter this year.”

Heston said although she has had her paintings showcased in past year’s exhibitions, she still feels honored when her work is chosen.

“This group represents the best of all water media, so I’m quite flattered to be part of these shows when I do get in,” Heston said. “It’s very difficult to get in because they usually get hundreds of entries and they have to whittle it down to 60 or 70.”

For each year’s exhibit, a juror is chosen to evaluate artists’ submissions and select which works will be showcased. This year’s juror is Michigan-based artist Mark Mehaffey.

“I think this show is a visual feast for the eyes and the soul,” Mehaffey said.

Mehaffey said his job as juror is difficult because of the artists’ talents.

“I selected what I think is a broad show in terms of content, style and technique,” Mehaffey said. “It is a very high-quality show which made the selection process all the more difficult.”

Rachel Weiskittle, a fourth-year in psychology who has a minor in studio art with an emphasis in painting, said she is interested in seeing the exhibit.

“Columbus has a great support system for artists and this sounds interesting because I’ve never been to that gallery before,” Weiskittle said.

Gray said she thinks the exhibit will appeal to artists and non-artists alike.

“There’s something for everybody in the work,” Gray said.

Riffe Gallery is located at 77 S. High St. and is open on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Admission to the gallery is free.

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