During the AIS show in California, I was able to reconnect with my friend Kat Fisher, whom I hadn’t seen or spoken to since 2016!

By Carol Strock Wasson

On my way home from the Chicago area recently, I got to thinking about the importance of attending an exhibition even if you have not received notification of an award or, in the case of a juried exhibition, going to the opening reception even if your work wasn’t accepted.

There are many artists — and I used to be one of them — who would not go to an opening reception unless they were juried into the show. This year, whenever I could, I traveled all over the country to attend opening receptions of groups that I am a member of — to California for the American Impressionist Society’s Small Works show at Randy Higbee Gallery, the IAPS show in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Pastel Society of America’s “Enduring Brilliance” exhibition in New York, the American Women Artists “Under a Vast Sky” at the Tucson Desert Museum, and the Chicago Pastel Painters show in Oak Brook, Illinois, at the Mayslake Peabody estate.

This is a photo taken at the American Impressionist Society Small Works exhibition in California. I had the opportunity to meet Higbee himself, which is something I had always wanted to do. He has a fascinating personality.
I met so many wonderful artists at the International Association of Pastel Societies that I now call friends.
The best part about going to the events whether you’re in them or not is painting with the artists you meet there! I always bring my gear. In this photo are Mary Ann Davis, Susan Kuznitsky, Kathleen Newman, and Nancie King Mertz.
I’ve admired Karen Margulis for a long time; her energy and excitement inspired me. She was shorter than I imagined, ha!
It had been decades since I last connected with Susan Kuznitsky. What a pleasure it was!

I’m honored to report that in most of these shows I was juried in, and at some I won awards, but the most important lesson I learned was how good it is to go and reconnect with the artists I know, and meet new ones. It is a great opportunity to exchange ideas or to learn about plein air events or additional shows to enter, ones to avoid, new techniques, and new materials. It’s invigorating to connect with another artist face-to-face who has your level of excitement and enthusiasm.

At the PSA show in New York, I was thrilled to meet and have my photo taken with the incredible Daniel Greene. He’s a living legend.
Richard McKinley, another incredible artist I was fortunate to meet. He was tall!
Night painting on the streets of New York with Nancie King Mertz and Michelle Wells
In Tucson at the AWA show
Here’s the amazing Kim Casebeer painting from the back of her truck.

This article was also featured in PleinAir Today, a weekly e-newsletter from PleinAir magazine. To start receiving PleinAir Today for free, click here.


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