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Saturday, December 14, 2013

McLean art show is a holiday treat

Betty Ganley's Spring Diva captured first place at the McLean Art Society's December 2013 show.

For art lovers there are few things more enjoyable than visiting a new show and viewing paintings, accompanied by vino and hors d'oeuvres and talk with the artists.

And so it went last week at the McLean Project for the Arts at the McLean Community Center where a crowd showed up to see the McLean Art Society's new competition, 40 works selected by juror and artist Kurt Schwarz.

The grand prize winner was Betty Ganley's Spring Diva, which was not the first time Ms. Ganley has won a blue ribbon.  Indeed, her works have won several first, second, and honorable mentions in national and area competitions.

Her story is one which gives hope to new and/or struggling artists. 

Years ago when she was a part-time nurse who rose at 4 a.m. to get to work, Ms. Ganley began painting, a diversion from work and family responsibilities.  Fearful that the oils and materials stationed in her bedroom where she painted were too tempting for her young children, she turned to watercolor and worked in her kitchen. 

Watercolor is much easier to set up and take down, she explained. And she still paints in her kitchen.  In watercolor.

"I can't imagine retiring without something to do," she said at the McLean opening.  At Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring where she worked, she directed an employee art show where one surgeon was a glass blower and another, a deep sea photographer. 

For a contemporary show, few abstracts are found in the McLean display, but plentiful scenics and pleasant landscapes fill the gallery. The only unsettling piece is a self-portrait watercolor whose female frown stops you on the ramp walk, not only because of the unhappy stare directed at the viewer, but because of the vast difference from the other subjects. 

Carmen Uribe's Les Champs Elysees won second prize at the McLean Art Society's December 2013 show.
Judge Schwarz, whose oils hang in collections around the world and who teaches at the Art League in Alexandria and the Loudoun Academy of the Arts, said both Spring Diva and Les Champs Elysees by Carmen Uribe, which won second, "grabbed my attention immediately."  Diva has "beautiful use of rhythmic shapes, lost and found edges, and masterful control of the medium," while the contrasting colors in Les Champs help make it "a striking composition," according to program notes.

He said it was difficult to narrow choices to 40 for the show:  "I get rejected a lot myself and know what it feels like."


Two Goats by William Dunn won third place which Schwarz said he would "love to see hanging in my home."

Honorable mentions went to Hill Town by Carol Higgs, Harbor Colors by Virginia Luster, and Spirited Journey by Betty MacDonald.

Norma Anderson, Queen's Lace, did not win a prize but its beauty and detail drew attention.

Most of the paintings are for sale and provide a lovely change from the malls for holiday shoppers, and who would not welcome finding a new piece of art under the tree?

What: McLean Art Society's Members' Juried Show

When: Now through January 6, 2014, Monday through Thursday: 9 a.m. - 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday: 9 a.m. - 12 a.m., and Sunday: 12 - 6 p.m.  (Closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.)

Where: McLean Project for the Arts at the McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Avenue, McLean, VA 22101. For directions and a map, click here.

Admission: No charge

Parking:  Plentiful and free

For more information: 703-790-1953 or 703-790-0123
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