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"Character Study" by Leslie J. Dulin

IF YOU GO

What: Tennessee Watercolor Society exhibition.

Where: The Incubator, 100 Cherokee Blvd.

When: Dec. 2-Jan. 6, 2015.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Information: www.tnws.org

Chattanooga artists

Eleven local artists are in the Tennessee Watercolor Society exhibition:

• Sandy Boone

• Helen Brooks

• Helen Burton

• Harriet Chipley

• Joan Clark

• Leslie Dulin

• Amanda Farris

• Lee Glasscock

• Mary Britten Lynch

• Maggie Vandewalle

• Sandra Washburn

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"Sky Jewels" by Mary Britten Lynch
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"Easy Street" by Sandy Boone
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"Ivory" by John Wilkerson won Best in Show.
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"Red Bike +2" by Harriet Chipley
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"Classic Brass" by Helen Burton
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"Kindred Spirit" by Joan Clark

Chattanooga artist Sandy Boone was thinking of Leonard Cohen - poet and singer for the beautiful losers - when she entered into the flow, a trance-like state that athletes call "The Zone."

Cohen's lyrics about streets where the dice are loaded against the poor and the fights are all fixed on behalf of the rich seemed to guide her as she painted "almost as if someone was painting for me; it's a feeling I've never had before."

She was using watercolors as she detailed a gritty neighborhood laced with graffiti, grit and charcoal shadows. Houses that seemed to glow golden blossomed in the center of the scene like the fragile, hopeful flame that flickers through Cohen's song "A Street":

"I used to be your favorite drunk/Good for one more laugh/Then we both ran out of luck/Luck was all we ever had ... But I've landed on my feet/I'll be standing on this corner/Where there used to be a street."

"I wanted to make a statement about the haves and the have-nots and I used watercolors instead of words; water colors are not just for little old ladies painting flowers," Boone says.

A jury of nationally renowned art judges, gathered by the Tennessee Watercolor Society, awarded Boone a $1,200 prize for the work. Now her painting, "Easy Street," will be displayed with 29 other watercolors in the Hamilton County Business Development Center Incubator. An opening reception will be held Friday, Dec. 5, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The paintings are part of an exhibition that opened in May at the O'More College of Art & Design in Franklin, Tenn., and, since June, has been traveling across Tennessee. Eleven local artists have works in the exhibition.

Sending paintings on the road is a big endeavor involving packaging that combines special bubble wrap with Mylar, but the paintings journeyed all over the state intact.

Chattanooga artist Harriet Chipley's painting, named "Red Bike +2," also made it into exhibition. She painted three bicycles huddled together, a simple subject with a strange, otherworldly aura. The bikes are clumped together near a stone wall, their tires worn, the chains battered but their their red, blue and gold colors gleaming in half light. A shadow envelops the back half of the painting, yet the bicycles seem to exude life and fun.

"I've painted the family's bicycles off and on over the years, probably a metaphor for something, but I don't know what," Chipley says. "This will be my last painting on the topic. The kids are all grown and gone away. These bikes are old and out-of-date, but the kids had such good times with them."

Visitors also will be able to see the watercolor portrait called "Ivory" by John Wilkison of Nashville, which won Best in Show among the paintings. The $1,500 cash award, the grand prize, was raised by Chattanooga businesses and supporters to honor the memory of Jane Yelliott, a longtime member of In-Town Gallery on Frazier Avenue, who died last December.

"Jane was 87 when she died and a great artist who did everything -- watercolors, acrylic painting, porcelain mosaic tiles," says artist Helen Burton, whose painting, "Classic Brass," is in the watercolor exhibition. "Jane created the mosaic mural of fanciful sea turtles that's in the Tennessee Aquarium. She won a competition to design a stone bench and now her bench is outside the aquarium. It's decorated with a mosaic mural of cats watching fish."

Contact Lynda Edwards at ledwards@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6391.

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