LITTLE ROCK — Artists from across the region gathered Feb. 14 in the Trinity Gallery of the Historic Arkansas Museum for the opening of the Mid-Southern Watercolorists 44th annual Juried Exhibition. Two artists from the River Valley & Ozark Edition coverage area are among the award winners.
Sheila Parsons-Tally of Conway received the Doris Wmson (Williamson) Mapes
Memorial Award of $635 for her painting Spider Creek #4. Diana Foote of Clinton received the Jacquelyn Kaucher First Timer Award of $250 for her painting Seaside Waterfall.
Parsons-Tally has been a member of the Mid-Southern Watercolorists for about 35 years.
“I am quite honored to have had my painting selected as the first Doris Mapes Memorial Award because I respected Doris so much as an artist,” Parsons-Talley said. “She was a wonderfully creative artist.”
Mapes was a co-founder of the Mid-Southern Watercolorists in 1970. She died Nov. 20, 2013.
Parsons-Tally said her prize-winning painting is one she did during her annual Ozark Adventure in Watercolor workshop in Eureka Springs.
“The Spider Creek Campground welcomes my students and me to paint there,” she said. “The creek, cabins and woods are great subjects. This subject, the creek reflecting the brilliant fall foliage, grabbed my attention, and I had to sit there on the bank for my demo.”
Parsons-Tally has been a professional artist and workshop instructor since 1976. She owns and operates Sheila Parsons’ Art-Ventures LLC, a travel-study painting company that takes students across the United States and into several foreign countries.
Parsons-Tally has a master’s degree in art from the Pratt Institute in New York City and has studied since then “with some of the greats in the watercolor field,” she said, “including Milford Zones.”
Parsons-Tally is a signature member of the Mid-Southern Watercolorists and a member of the Oklahoma Watercolor Association, the Midwestern Watercolor Association, the Arkansas Arts Council Registry and the Conway League of Artists.
“I have been a member of MSW almost 35 years,” Parsons-Tally said. “I got my letters (signature status, which means a member’s work has been accepted into five MSW annual exhibitions) within the first five years, but the competition wasn’t so tough then. Now I feel honored just to be selected for the show.
“I have never been in the top three [places], but I’m sneaking up on it. Last year I received the purchase award, and this year, the Doris Mapes Memorial Award. I’ve been in the show 15 or 20 times in those 35 years, and these are the only two awards I’ve won.”
Foote has been a member of the Mid-Southern Watercolorists for about 10 years.
“This is the first time I have ever entered this competition,” Foote said. “I was overjoyed just to get in. I’ve been a member of the Mid-Southern Watercolorists for at least 10 years, but this was the first time I had entered something for the show.
“I was quite excited to be accepted and doubly excited to have won an award,” Foote said. “This really means a lot. It has been a great first-time experience.”
Foote said the idea for her painting Seaside Waterfall was taken from her trips to Maine.
“My parents grew up in Maine,” she said. “I visited the Maine coastline many times and loved watching the waves crash across the rocks.
“This painting, which is a mixture of watercolor and acrylic, shows water splashing against rocks and trickling down a rocky edge. It depicts what I saw at Pemaquid Point (in Bristol, Maine). There are some pretty fantastic rocks there.”
Foote grew up in Crossett and graduated from Crossett High School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Kansas.
“I began painting in the ’70s,” she said. “I have been painting for 40 years, off and on. It wasn’t until we retired to Clinton in 2007 that I took it back up on a full-time basis. We live in the Holley Mountain Airpark, which is for people with pilot licenses.”
Although she did not study art in school, she said she has taken classes and workshops from national teachers in Kansas, Missouri, Maine and Arkansas.
“I don’t paint every day, but I consider myself a full-time artist,” she said. “I consider my painting to be an avocation of mine.”
In addition to the Mid-Southern Watercolorists, Foote also belongs to the North Central Arkansas Art League in Fairfield Bay.
The Mid-Southern Watercolorists exhibit will remain on display at the Historic Arkansas Museum through April 6. There is no admission charge. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.
For more information, call (501) 324-9351. The museum is at 200 E. Third St. in Little Rock.