VPS & PSNH 2020 Dual Member Exhibit

Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center
One Medical Center Drive,
Lebanon, NH 03756
January 14 – March 2020

Our JudgeMary Iselin

Mary is a professional artist whose paintings are luminous and filled with light. Iselin is represented by 3 Pears Gallery in Dorset VT ; The Mill Brook Gallery in Concord, NH; Vermont Artisans in Brattleboro, VT; Creative Encounters in Keene, NH; and Sunapee Landing Art Gallery in Sunapee, NH

Judge’s Note:  Thank you for the honor of inviting me to judge this show. I must say, it is probably the most difficult exhibit I have ever had to judge, simply because the quality and professionalism of the work is so high. After several delightful hours of agonizing in front of the paintings, I went home and rehashed all my decisions, and am still at it the next morning. Many of these paintings could have received multiple awards. The Juror’s Choice Award, in particular, went back and forth between the same two paintings at least fifty times. (This is not usually like me at all! But these paintings are just so good!) And I needed to create two small, extra, special awards, because two of the pieces stopped me in my tracks every time I passed them, continually, all afternoon. Finally, I am going with my gut. I was down to half-a-percent difference in many categories. And all judging is, by necessity, finally a subjective process. Thank you again for your trust.

Mary Iselin


Luminous Landscape:
Wendy Soliday (VPS) – Meandering

This painting made me stop and smile every time I passed it. It made me want to enter the painting. I could hear the birds and smell the earth and growing things. Green a difficult color to make “real”, but this artist accomplished both realism and poetry on the same ground. A masterful work that would never become boring.


Reflective Waterscape:
Patti Braun (VPS) – Sunrise Illuminations

While it is the sky which captured this artist’s fullest attention, her rendition of the reflection exhibits a lovely integration of the reflection with the painting as a whole; there is a beautiful restraint in the colors and light on the surface of the water, so that the painting remains full of the “Ahhhh!” we experience at this moment of the day, rather than dissolving into chaos, as it could have done in less experienced hands.


Lively Still Life:
Laetitia Macos (PSNH) – Subdued Nest

I was drawn immediately into this piece! Here, so many elements are so masterfully displayed: the texture of the nest and the eggs; the unusual composition; the tonal colors. It is highly realistic, but still calls attention to the medium in a marvelously painterly way. It is uncommon for a “still life” to move so dramatically. I feel that the nest is both complete unto itself, and, at the same time, so vulnerable to the elements! Beautiful rendering.


Figuratively Speaking:
Gill Truslow (PSNH) – People’s Pint

“Figuratively Speaking”—Gosh, this has it all! The people are warm. I feel as if I must know them. They are beautiful in their unique humanity. They are beautifully rendered. They are smiling, and, if you have ever tried to paint people smiling, you know what an incredible feat this is for an artist to pull off well! I believe in these people and their surroundings. I smell the outside air on their clothing, and I feel the welcoming warmth of the room. I realize that this is a prejudice, but I so love to be uplifted by art; to see the world and those in it as good, worthy and beautiful. This is the kind of painting which, in my eyes, makes the world a better place.


Abstractly Appealing:
Deedee Jones (VPS) – New York State of Mind

This bold composition grabbed me again and again. While deceptively simple in its format, a more careful study reveals amazing textures and completely abstract values, shapes, and colors in that sky. I am drawn to the smoothly rendered, simple, almost cut-out (only at first glance!) buildings as a foil and anchor for the abstract music going on in that sky. This is a very unique piece.


Totally Tonal: 
Katrina Thorstensen (VPS & PSNH) – Midwinter Afternoon

This painting GLOWS. It glows all over the hallway! It is a piece of visual poetry! It grabbed me anew with each pass. If a tonalist painting should reveal the spiritual as it manifests in a fleeting moment of time, this one does it! If you would like me to say something about how, well, the artist has totally controlled her palette, her composition, and her values, to very successfully create the mood she was after. But those were only the vehicles, which allowed Spirit to step right through.


Colorfully Crafted:
Gill Truslow (PSNH) – Rhyms in the Rain

As I study this painting, what I see is that every single inch is imbued with love. Every inch. The entire surface is suffused with love. The relationship of one color to the next is done so masterfully, with each jewel of color moving so longingly into the next, I feel as if the artist has covered the whole surface with crushed gems, then added a layer of crushed pearl. She has done this with a total mastery of her medium—study the piece, and you will see some of the mechanisms. The whole is so complex, with so many working parts, that the painting could have won almost any category. It is realistic, but, as did the works of the High Impressionists, it also roots us strongly in a fleeting, ephemeral reality. Wow.


Lovely Lines:
Chris Reid (PSNH) – Allegro

This was a very difficult category, because there are so many paintings in this show with lovely lines, and because “lovely lines” can be interpreted in so many different ways.

This piece is uniquely engaging, confident, and fresh.

In it, the “lines” are actually linear strokes which work together to create the edges of the forms of the compositional elements.—Elements which would usually have been rendered, well, more “linearly.” But this piece shows such a profuse and complex use of these “lines,” that, when combined with a mature use of color, value, and temperature, the result is that the viewer is brought into the experience: both the experience of the wetland depicted, and the experience of the act of creating, with pigment, a work of art.


Shapely and Edgy:
Keith Demanche (PSNH)- Taking the Long Way Home

This is another piece that could have won in many categories. The composition is so unique, so edgy, so masterfully done. Turn the painting in any direction, and the forms work beautifully. The soft grasses, the hard wall, and the incredible control of values, as well as the rule-busting moon at the tip-top of the painting. Emotionally, it causes the viewer to travel. It makes one feel and think. And the touch of the buildings in the far distance, like a beacon of hope floating before us.




Touchingly Textural:
Leslie Heathcote (VPS) – Jersey Cow “Betsy”

Many of the paintings in this show have magnificent texture, so it was not easy to choose. But the late-spring hair-coat on this cow, with the different textures of the different types of hair, when combined with the smooth, crystal-luminosity of the eyes and the cool, smooth, wet muzzle; as well as the uniquely spring, (versus summer or winter), grass, got this painting my vote. Also, she is simply engaging. She is a nice cow, and makes the viewer feel good. I know that might be politically incorrect to say in the art world, but I feel it is important anyway, at least to me, and, clearly, to many a viewer.


Judge’s Choice:
Lisa Regopolis (PSNH) – When Snow Falls

Gosh, what a painting.
This category caused so much soul-searching in me, but, in the end, here it is. This painting is just so ITSELF. It is loose, yet it demonstrates real mastery of moving, engaging technique. There is thought AND feeling.—Well, so there is in many of the paintings, but this one just sang to me, “Judge’s Choice!”, and I couldn’t keep it down. If there is a reason, I guess it is my gut reaction to the artist’s controlled passion and excitement, caught in the frame. I have been in the woods and seen those colors, felt those colors, and, what’s more, seen that inexplicable light. Sometimes it just does that. It is a thing of Spirit, not reality. –Except in that Spirit IS reality.

Judge’s Notable Award:
Sharon Boisvert (PSNH) – Millyard Sunset

This little cityscape of a parking lot at dawn (or dusk) stopped me every single time I passed it, but I could not figure out a category to give it an award. The mood is just so familiar, so real. The surroundings are so mundane, but glorious at the same time. The mood, which could have been stark and depressing on the other hand, is warm. And I am not the only admirer—People kept stopping to look, to feel, this one.