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A splash of the unusual

There's more depth and color range than one might expect from transparent watercolor as a medium in the 20 paintings included in the Watercolor Society of Oregon's traveling exhibit. Bright shades are at their brightest, darks at their deepest, and absent spaces move to the front. Unlike the usual florals, landscapes and portraits, many of these paintings are abstract, geometric, angular and whimsical.

"There does seem to be a little more color, a little more splash in this show," says Charlotte Peterson, a Medford artist whose painting "It Sings" is part of the exhibit. "Each WSO show has a different juror, so each show is different."

This show features paintings from the WSO's 43rd Fall Transparent watercolor competition. Members submitted about 400 paintings, and 80 were selected by Linda Doll of San Diego to be at the show held in Florence. Doll's experience as a juror came from her stints as president of the San Diego Watercolor Society and the American Watercolor Society. From the 80 paintings, Doll selected another 20 to receive awards and be included in an exhibit that is touring statewide through March.

The exhibit opens Friday, Jan. 9, at the Rogue Gallery & Art Center, 40 S. Bartlett St., Medford. The show's opening reception will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16, during Medford's Third Friday art walk. The WSO exhibit runs only two weeks at the Rogue Gallery — through Jan. 24 — before it moves to Bandon.

Peterson will be at the reception to discuss her painting, which earned an Award of Distinction at the Florence show, along with five other Southern Oregon artists whose paintings were part of the initial 80. They include Betty Barss, Nancy Block, Anne Brooke, Dodie Hamilton and Dolores Ribal.

Peterson co-owns Art & Soul Gallery in Ashland and has been a member of WSO for more than 12 years. She has a penchant for brightly painted florals, along with still-lifes and landscapes. Her paintings have earned her a People's Choice award at Medford's Art in Bloom festival and have been featured on the annual event's posters.

"A juror told me once that if I wanted to get into shows with florals, I had to do something that would catch the viewer's eye and hold it on the painting," Peterson says. "One day I was listening to old music while painting in my studio, and I decided to put the lyrics in the paintings."

Phrases from "The Very Thought of You" and other pop standards are layered in almost transparent lettering across "It Sings."

"Jurors try to select paintings that will present a balanced show," Peterson says. "They look for subject matter that is unusual." See Peterson's artwork at cspeterson.com.

The grand prize winner of the WSO show was "Wake-Up Call #5 — Save Habitat & Species" by Judy Hoiness, an artist and teacher who lives in Bend. The first-place winner was Kris Preslan of Lake Oswego for her painting "Sharing Secrets," and Kathy Tiger of Eugene took second place for "The Elder Series — Anne." All three paintings will be at the Rogue Gallery.

The Rogue Gallery & Art Center is a nonprofit community art center founded in 1960 to promote and support the arts in the Rogue Valley. The gallery offers local artists an opportunity to display their work. This exhibit is sponsored by Sourthern Oregon Orthopedics.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. See roguegallery.org or call 772-8118.

'It Sings,' left, transparent watercolor by Medford artist Charlotte Peterson, includes lyrics from pop standards in the artwork. The painting earned an Award of Distinction at the Watercolor Society’s show in Florence. “Wake-Up Call #5 Save Habitat & Species,” right, by Judy Joiness of Bend won the grand prize, and “The Elder Series Anne,” below, by Kathy Tiger of Eugene took second place at the show.