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White Salmon watercolor artist wins award in society show

Kristen Olson earns Watercolor Society second place ribbon

Local resident and watercolor artist Kristen Olson won another award in this fall's Southwest Washington Watercolor Society's active members show.

This is the third time in a row she has placed in their juried art contests. The latest award was presented at the Society's dinner ceremony held in Vancouver on Oct. 2.

Olson's painting, "An Illusion, A Shadow," took second place in the Mixed Watermedia category. In this class, artists submit works completed in any water-based media, such as acrylic and watercolor pens. Her prize winning work was accomplished with gouache, a vibrant opaque watercolor.

Olson, who lives in White Salmon, has been painting watercolors for less than four years and just recently began painting full time. In that time she has won several honorable mentions in area competitions. This most recent win garnered Olson a cash prize as well as art supplies.

This fall's contest was open to the Society's active members only.

Active members are those whose work is considered by committee to be of consistently high quality. This year's judge was Eric Wiegardt a nationally recognized watercolor artist, instructor and author of the popular instruction manual "Watercolor Free and Easy."

"Two years ago when I submitted a painting for the first time and received an honorable mention I thought it was just beginner's luck," said Olson. "I am very honored to have won another award. The caliber of work at these active members' shows is very high."

Almost ninety paintings were submitted to this latest SWWS exhibit. In the previous two contests Olson's watercolor "The Opposite of Talking is Waiting" took exclusive first place honors and her "Dance of Joy" painting won for best transparent watercolor. Each of her winning paintings have sold, one having done so before judging began.

This summer, Olson's watercolors were featured at The Dalles Art Center in The Dalles. The "New Artists" show, which also featured Parkdale artist Bill Sturman, led to new exposure for Olson.

"The local Columbia Gorge art scene is amazing," she said. "I am grateful to the non-profit Dalles Art Center and Columbia Art Gallery, in Hood River, for their efforts in giving artists a forum to display their work."

All the artwork featured in the current SWWS show, including two of Olson's paintings, will remain on display at the Westfield Shoppingtown (formerly the Vancouver Mall) in Vancouver through Friday, Oct. 18.


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