KEESEVILLE — Ann Pember can now sign the coveted “AWS,” American Watercolor Society, after her surname on her paintings.
She was one of 27 artists honored so in achieving a “Signature Membership” at the recent American Watercolor Society 14th International Exhibition at the Salmagundi Club in New York City.
Pember’s “Adirondack Memory,” a landscape of a favorite Keene Valley haunt, was among 1,200 entries nationally and from around the world that vied for a showing in the historic Salmagundi Club on Fifth Avenue.
She joins the ranks of esteemed artists such as Winslow Homer, Louis Comfort Tiffany and Edward Hopper. The society’s purpose is to promote the art of watercolor painting in America.
Pember started submitting work in the 1980s. She became aware of the society’s existence at one of her first jobs after she graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston.
“I was working with a lot of artists and a couple had gotten their memberships,” said Pember, who lives in Keeseville. “It was sort of a goal even back then.”
Each year, a five-member panel of artists/jurors narrows the field. Artists must have paintings accepted for two juried exhibitions to become a candidate for membership. A third painting must be accepted to receive Signature Membership.
Pember’s breakthrough came with the millennial “Dazzling Dahlia.”
“It was on the cover of my hardcover book that came out that year.”
The next coup was a decade later with “Museo Majestuso,” a cityscape in Spain.
“I enter a lot of juried shows,” Pember said. “This is just one of them. Many of them have certain criteria. American Watercolor Society doesn’t. Some don’t want paintings to be more than one or two years old. If a painting is in a show, it’s not eligible to enter.”