Photo from the artist / "Catching Some Rays" by Mike Elkins was selected Best of Show in the 37th Juried Exhibition of the Tennessee Watercolor Society.

Some of the state's best watercolor paintings are on view this month at the Association for Visual Arts Gallery, part of a biennial exhibition that AVA's chief curator says always leaves her impressed by the talent on display.

"What I always know I'll get with the [Tennessee] Watercolor Society is quality," says Kreneshia Whiteside. "They're meticulous with details. Lifelike as far as realism. With the abstracts, the blending is always beautiful. I'm never disappointed when I open it up."

The show began as 70 paintings in the society's 37th Juried Exhibition, which closed late last month at the West Tennessee Regional Art Center in Humboldt. From there, 30 works were juror-selected for a traveling exhibition that brings them to Chattanooga through Nov. 6, then on to the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center in Clarksville.

The traveling exhibit is a traditional outreach to share the best watermedia paintings in the state with more of the population. It is funded by a grant from Chattanooga-based Lyndhurst Foundation.

Photo Gallery

Prize-winning watercolors at AVA Gallery

The 30 paintings selected for the road show include 14 that shared most of the $14,000 among 19 awards. Internationally distinguished juror Soon Y. Warren selected Mike Elkins' "Catching Some Rays" as Best of Show. The $2,500 prize is known as the Joan Clark Memorial Award and donated by the late artist's family. The painting depicts a child snuggled in a colorful quilt playing with a sunbeam.

The second-highest award of $1,780, provided by the members of the society, went to Lil Clinard for her dynamic "Rogue Wave III."

Longtime member Fred Rawlinson won the $1,200 third-highest award in memory of Max Hochstetler for "Landslide," an intricate winter scene.

The new president of the society, Linn Stilwell, was awarded the seventh place $725 award for her capture of a graceful heron eating a "Tadpole Snack."

Other award winners were Patsy Sharpe for "Black Irises"; Pam Austin, "Opening"; Mark Cobbe, "Haulin' Grass"; Gayla Seale, "Love Locks in Budapest"; Kate Aubrey, "What It Takes"; Patricia Ing Wilson, "The Treasure"; Johnny Guthrie, "Thoughts Churning"; Coco Dauer, "Whimsey Quilt"; Mary Spellings, "No More Dawn to Dusk"; and Robert Smith, "Mouths To Feed."

Even the non-award winners are eye-catching. Whiteside says her favorite is "What a Wonderful World" by Judy Lavoie. "There is this one of a little boy blowing bubbles," she says. "I think it's so adorable."

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be no reception for the show. Masks are required to enter the gallery at 30 Frazier Ave. in Chattanooga's North Shore, and space is limited to no more than 10 visitors at a time. Hours are noon-5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

For more information, visit or call 423-265-4282.

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