Snowy Woods, a watercolor by Z Feng

If you have not experienced the 2024 Green Mountain Watercolor Exhibition currently showing at the Red Barn Galleries in Waitsfield -- do so! The 12th-annual exhibition is a superb collection of representational art. Representational art, “realism” in more generic terms, is enjoying a strong resurgence as public tastes move away from the impersonal non-objective and expressionist art movements so prevalent in the latter half of the 20th century and the first two decades of the 2000s.





Clearly discernible among the 85 watercolor paintings in the competition are the varying degrees of interpretation of the representational form. This is immediately evident upon entering the exhibition. Upon entering, one finds four paintings, cleverly hung side-by-side, presenting a clear illustration of the various representational interpretations from near photo-realism to the more expressive. Szlachetka’s emotional portrait, Ridge’s near photo-realist painting of a foggy morning, Feng’s expressive landscape with its free-form vibrant colors and Clarke’s monochromatic interpretation of a still life are a preview of what to expect from the show.

The use of color as a framework for expression is very evident throughout the exhibition. Chris Krupinski’s and Cindy Brabec-King’s large format still life paintings are powerful, captivating works taking advantage of the strong pigments available to watercolorists while Robert Steedman’s peaceful winter landscapes use the more subtle tones of the medium. A similar comparison can also be made when observing the various painting techniques. Amanda Amend’s and Todd Anderson’s “less is more” approaches to painting play in stark contrast to the complicated patterning of Don Taylor’s interpretation of a cathedral interior. Samuel Wyatt uses dark neutral tones with a lack of vibrant color to invoke a very powerful and emotional work in “BRUSHREST.” Between these extremes, the show is resplendent with the more traditional paintings associated with the art of watercolor.

While representational art is the driving force within the exhibition, the show is not without its non-objective and abstract works or representational paintings that skirt the border of abstraction. Rachel Collin’s intimate views of musical instruments are superbly executed studies of realistic shapes and colors that border on pure abstraction while Harriet King’s and Gary Johnson’s paintings remain true to the abstract and expressionist genre.




The Whiskey Painters of America show-within-a-show of their miniature paintings creates a very dynamic contrast with the paintings of the main exhibition. These paintings, nearly 100 on display, are no larger than 20 square inches and reflect the very same attributes of their larger companions.

Noteworthy and not to be missed is a display illustrating the process involved with the creation of a watercolor. The presentation starts with a photo reference, illustrates the artist’s design process and options of materials then finalizes with the completed framed painting. The presentation clarifies some of the misconceptions often associated with watercolor painting

The exhibition fits perfectly into the spacious Red Barn Galleries. The work is hung without overcrowding, is beautifully illuminated and thoughtfully laid out as to subject matter. This is a very viewer-accessible exhibition easily understood and appreciated.

The Green Mountain Watercolor Exhibition is presented by the Valley Artists Guild and is available for viewing Thursday and Friday, 4 to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 9 p.m. through July 20. Red Barn Galleries at Lareau Farm and Forest, Route 100, Waitsfield. Free and children welcome.