Two local artists honored at Mid-Southern Watercolorists exhibit

Carol Rolf/Contributing Writer Published March 13, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.
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Carol Rolf/Contributing Photographer

Hot Springs artist Richard Stephens won the Silver Award in the Mid-Southern Watercolorists 44th annual juried exhibition, which is on display at the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock. He won the award and $1,200 for this painting, Brunch at the Crescent Hotel.

Two artists from the Tri-Lakes Edition coverage area have won awards in the Mid-Southern Watercolorists’ 44th annual juried exhibition on display in the Trinity Gallery for Arkansas Artists at the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock.

Richard Stephens of Hot Springs received the MSW Silver Award and $1,200 for his painting Brunch at the Crescent Hotel.

Ron Kinkaid of Benton received the Austin Wiggins Memorial Award and $500 for his painting Ray.

“I have been very lucky over the years in this annual show,” Stephens said. “I have entered the show 17 years and have always somehow managed to be accepted as a presenting artist. Of those 17 years, I have won awards in 13 shows.”

He won the Gold Award in 2012, as well as in 2006 and 2009.

Stephens is a Signature member of the Mid-Southern Watercolorists, earning that status in the first five years he entered; he received the status in 2000.

An artist must be accepted into five juried exhibitions before he or she is awarded Signature status.

Stephens said the idea for his prize-winning painting came while he was teaching a workshop in Eureka Springs and was a guest at the Crescent Hotel.

“Early one morning, I went down to get coffee in the large dining room and could not help but notice the wonderful light streaming through the tall windows, backlighting the diners sitting at the table,” he said. “I took a couple of quick shots with my iPhone, and those were my reference for the paintings I did a few weeks later.

“I have done about six paintings of the scene, but I did a warm version and a cool version as full sheet paintings, 30 by 22 inches. I actually did the cool version (the one in the MSW show) as a demonstration painting at a workshop I was teaching in Crawfordsville.

“I had a hard time deciding which painting to enter. I finally decided on the cool version, as I felt I had handled the figures a little better, and I liked a chair I had suggested in the foreground. Guess I made the right choice.”

Stephens graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway in 1969 with a degree in art. He served as an illustrator in the Army and began his commercial art career in 1971. He is now retired from his commercial art business, and he mainly focuses on his work and his workshops.

Kinkaid said he was “very surprised and happy to win an award.

“I’ve only been in the association (MSW) for six years, and this is my fifth time to be accepted. I received my Signature membership this year.”

Kinkaid said he received an honorable mention award in the 2013 show.

A native of Benton, Kinkaid is a 1959 graduate of Benton High School. He majored in art at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, graduating in 1971.

“I worked for several years before I went to college,” he said. “My wife and the government got me through [college]. I attended on the GI Bill. I was in the Army for three years, mainly in Germany.”

Kinkaid was a commercial artist for several years.

“I just got tired of that and started doing woodworking,” he said, “but I had to give that up seven years ago when I had a mild stroke. So I started painting again. I guess you can say that I’ve come full circle.

“I remember as a child I was always trying to draw or doodle. I believe talent is generally liking what you do. It gets better the more you do it.”

Kinkaid said his prize-winning painting is of Ray, the cook at the Brick House Grill in Hot Springs for more than 20 years.

Works by three other local artists are included in the Mid-Southern Watercolorists exhibit, which will remain on display through April 6.

• Marlene Gremillion of Hot Springs Village has two paintings in the exhibit: Dancing Pieces and Welcoming Spring.

• Cynthia Schanink of Hot Springs Village had one painting accepted: Charming Story.

• Gary Weeter of Hot Springs Village has one painting in the exhibit: Boundary in Bloom.

There is no admission charge to view the Mid-Southern Watercolorists exhibit, which features 41 watercolors by 35 artists. The Historic Arkansas Museum, 200 E. Third St. in Little Rock, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 1-5 p.m. Sundays.

For more information, call (501) 324-9351.

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