Signal Mountain artist Leslie Dulin's submissions to the Tennessee Watercolor Society's 33rd Exhibition were named first and third place winners out of 70 works in the biennial exhibition.
Though Dulin has been a member of the society for more than 15 years, her participation in the group's shows began about six years ago. She was awarded second prize in the 2010 show, but this is her first time taking the top honor.
"I have not in the past attempted to enter a lot of shows," said Dulin. "That's why this really was a big surprise to me."
She received $2,700 in total prize money for the two awards. The first place Atelier Award was presented by Fred and Jo Rawlinson and Atelier Affiliated Artists in Germantown, Tenn., to Dulin for her abstract "Patina," and she was given the the third place Jeffrey A. Shoham Purchase Award for "Root Entanglement," a realistic watercolor.
Dulin is considered a signature member of the society, defined as a member whose work has been accepted into three of the society's shows, which she said is not an easy feat.
She said 113 artists in the society, with members spanning across the state, submitted 212 works to the juried exhibition this year. Each artist was permitted to submit two works. Both Dulin's pieces have a strong focal point with visual paths leading to them, and successful composition was one thing judge Gerald Brommer said he looked for when selecting the show's winning pieces, said Dulin.
"He's very well-known across the country for his painting and his teaching," she said of Brommer, author of 23 books for high school students as well as for professional painters.
She first attended one of his workshops five years ago, and also participated in the workshop he held just prior to the show that focused on design and composition.
"Patina" is an abstract piece Dulin created by sprinkling paint using various tools and choosing shapes she liked, said the artist. "Root Entanglement" is a realistic watercolor painted from a photograph of a fallen tree at Edgar Evins State Park in Baxter, Tenn.
"It's a fairly abstract painting even though it's realistic," she said. "I added a lot of color to it."
A member of In-Town Gallery in North Chattanooga for several years, Dulin's works range from watercolor to acrylic on canvas to mixed-media sculptural pieces.
Founded in 1971, the Tennessee Watercolor Society has around 70 local members. The group holds a professional workshop each year, with the next planned for Cookville, Tenn., to be led by Memphis College of Art professor Fred Rawlinson.