I was now beginning to understand what particular technique and composition made a painting a show winner. Although we lived in Oklahoma, my heart was still in Arizona. I had banked many photo shots from my favorite area in Sedona, Arizona, ‘Tlaquepaque‘. That was hard to pronounce and spell! I picked my favorite photo from many, backlit from an angle to produce unique shadows. After putting the drawing on the paper, I was intrigued by the beautiful shadows on the stone floor. I was still working in a limited palette of greys accented with shorten colors. During this period I worked with the brush to soften edges and lift pigments.

First Sign of Spring sprang from the gate to be exhibited in the March 1 – 31, 1983 “Eighth Annual Exhibition of the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies” held at the Imperial Bank, San Diego, California. Jury: E.J Velardi and Pat Berger. This highly prestigious exhibition was my second time to have been juried into the Western Federation Exhibitions.

It was later exhibited in the traveling exhibition, “Color Flow” by the Galleria Mesa, Mesa, Arizona, October 26 to November 15, 1983. Juror: Rex Gulbranson. The painting was on a roll.

On March 4 – 10, 1984, it garnered a Merit Award at the “Scottsdale Artists’ League Show, The Salamander ’84”. Camelview Plaza, Scottsdale, Arizona, Jury: Jaqueline B. Schultz, James Ballinger, Raleigh Kinney.

On September 9 to October 21, 1984, Maxine Masterfield selected the painting for “The Kentucky Watercolor Society Aqueous, ’84” my first appearance in KWS. University of Kentucky Art Museum, Lexington, Kentucky.

After a short time off, the painting scored a huge win as “Best of Show” in “The Edmond Art Association Juried Expo ’85” at the Kresge Fine Art Center, Oklahoma Christian College, OKC, OK, June 27 – July 11, 1985. Juror: Katy Scales.

On May 16 – 24, 1986, First Sign of Spring earned a Merit Award and was promptly purchased for $600.00 at the “Oklahoma Art Guild Juried Exhibition”. Juror: Rod Radcliff.

I never saw the painting again. I hope the owners enjoy the painting, I did.

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