ARTISTS REVEAL THEIR BREAKTHROUGH WORK | JOANNA BARNUM
I painted Rift early last year, and it was the first large piece I did realizing an entirely new direction for my work, an exploration of balancing realism with experimentation in watercolor. In this piece, I also started exploring and expressing my own personal emotions in a raw and vulnerable way, which is something I had shied away from doing for a long time. The piece seemed to provoke a strong response from my audience, and it unlocked an excitement in me to continue in this direction. Later in 2017, "Rift" was accepted into the National Watercolor Society's International Open Exhibition, my first time in this competitive show. Along with acceptance to that exhibition, came an opportunity to apply for Signature Membership in NWS, which I achieved by submitting additional work that was inspired by the discoveries of "Rift." This momentum resulted in two solo shows at local galleries in 2017 and 2018, participation in an invitational exhibit with NWS members in 2018, and more invitations to teach classes and workshops as a guest instructor.
I'm at an earlier stage in my career compared to some of the artists featured by PoetsArtists, but for me, this particular piece felt like the key to finally understanding the direction my work should be focused in, and the building block for everything I do moving forward.