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Jesus Saves © Judy Lavoie

Jesus Saves

Original Watercolor on Paper by Judy Lavoie

IMAGE SIZE: 29" x 21"

STATUS: $900

This painting was juried in and an award winner in the Tennessee Watercolor Society's 2012 Exhibition*, winning the "Past Presidents'" prize!

"Jesus Saves" is done in watercolor, depicting a barn I have often photographed on a nearby rural backroad. It has so many fabulous textures - the old barnyards, rusted metal panels as siding, rusty hinges, an overturned water tub, a field of wildflowers. I could hardly wait to get started.

As I sketched the barn on the heavyweight watercolor paper. I was bothered by the lack of a "focal point." I thought of adding a farm animal (horse or cow), but that didn't seem interesting enough, and might detract from the barn too much. It finally came to me - what I call "Christian barn graffiti" would be perfect! It's quite common here in the rural South to see hand-scrawled religious messages - even lines of scripture - painted on old barns. Lettering naturally captures your eye in a painting, but positioning this graffiti in my painting was critical. I hand-wrote the words "Jesus Saves" on a clear piece of plastic, at a size in proportion to the barn, and moved it around on my pencil sketch to determine where the words should be added. The lettering needed to be logical to the painting, not covering hinges or going across a door opening, and not taller than a person would stand to paint them. And the words needed to work with the overall design. The left end of the barn seemed ideal, especially if I simplified the background trees so the strong diagonal of the roof angle would strongly point in that direction. In addition, the water tub - as a singular element, standing out lighter color than its background - would balance the graffiti on the right half of the scene.

I haven't painted in watercolors for a while, so I also used this painting as an exercise to reconnect with the medium. In the past, I've worked with a "limited palette" - just a few watercolors for a whole painting - and had good success. Limiting the colors naturally creates harmony, since you don't have one area of the painting screaming out for attention simply due to being a different color. I did this entire painting with only 3 paint colors, Holbein Royal Blue, Holbein Permanent Red, and Winsor & Newton Yellow. All the greys, rusty colors, and greens of the grass and trees were mixtures of these colors; the only place I used the paint just as it came out of the tube was for the yellow wildflowers in the foreground. It was a challenge which I found really intriguing."

* Here are the Exhibition details:

Tennessee Watercolor Society's 33rd Biennial Exhibition was held in Memphis, May 19 - June 20, 2012.

Seventy paintings from several hundred digital entries were selected for the show by internationally renowned artist Gerald F. Brommer. Over $14,000 in cash and merchandise was awarded for the winning artists. Two paintings by Judy Lavoie were accepted to the show, and both received awards, Jesus Saves and !Jerry Van, Music Man

These exhibitions feature exceptional original artwork, from extraordinarily talented artists, working in both representational and abstract styles. The Society's website, features the paintings from past Exhibitions.

(NOTE: Judy's painting In The Spotlight was accepted and a top prize winner in the 2016 Exhibition. Elles Tobacco Planter was selected for the 2014 Exhibition (also chosen for the Traveling Show). Prior to 2014, any artist could have up to two paintings accepted; Judy had two paintings is the 2010 Exhibition, "Decadence", an award winner, and "Nature Paints a Picture". Her painting "Out to Pasture" was part of the 2008 Exhibition. Upon her acceptance into a third show, Judy earned the status of a Signature Member of the Tennessee Watercolor Society.)

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