New Brunswick’s Ann Balch has been working as a full-time professional artist since 1996. She was elected to the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour (CSPWC) in 2001 and the Society of Canadian Artists (SCA) in 2007.
Her work has won prizes at the national level from both SCA and CSPWC, including the 2004 Jarvis Award for Excellence in Transparent Watercolour for Eye of the Beholder, a painting now hanging in Rideau Hall, the residence of Canada’s Governor-General. In 2017, Jean at Eighty-Five was given the CSPWC Sloan Award, and her painting Regret, held in the CSPWC National Diploma Collection, was one of those chosen to represent the evolution of the watercolour medium in Canada. In 2015, Two of a Kind was awarded the Best in Show at the SCA Open Juried Exhibition. Ann’s work was juried into the 80th Anniversary exhibition of the Society in Toronto in 2005, and The Scar won the coveted Charles Comfort Award from the society in 2001.
She was one of six Canadian artists represented among 30 countries at the Fifth International Watercolour Biennial at the Museo Nacional de la Acuarela (National Museum of Watercolour) in Mexico City (2002 – 2003).
Her work has been featured in magazines published in France: Pratique des arts (2016, 2012), and l’Art de l’Aquarelle (2012); in the international Art of Watercolour magazine (2012) and various other publications. She was a finalist chosen from over 11,000 entries in the 2008 annual international competition of the American publication The Artist’s Magazine and in 2006 finished among the top ten in American Artist Watercolor magazine’s competition. She was one of the contributors to an American instruction book published by International Artist in 2004. Her work has twice been on the cover of New Brunswick’s international literary journal, The Fiddlehead Magazine. In September 2021, Ann's painting "Presence" won the "Outstanding Watercolor" prize in the BoldBrush Painting Competition.
Although her love affair with watercolour continues, Ann has rediscovered her love of oils in the past few years and has included both in recent exhibitions. In 2019, Ann was commissioned to undertake the impressive oil portrait of retiring University of New Brunswick professor Dr. Eddy Campbell.
Work is held in public and private collections in Canada and the United States, including The Canadiana Fund State Art Collection; the Department of Foreign Affairs, Government of Canada; The New Brunswick Art Bank; the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour Diploma Collection; the Atlantic Lottery Corporation; the City of Moncton collection, and that of Measha Brueggergosman.
WHAT IS A TRANSPARENT WATERCOLOUR?
Transparency is the quality of watercolours that allows the passing of light through glazes of paint to reflect off the paper's surface. Transparency as a classification of watercolour indicates no white, bodycolours or gouache (opaques) were used. In a transparent watercolour, the white of the paper is preserved by the artist wherever a white statement is intended in the painting.
WHAT IS AND WHY USE ARCHIVAL ACRYLIC VARNISH?
Ann has eliminated the need to cover her watercolours with glass by finishing them with an archival acrylic varnish protecting them from UV rays, moisture and dirt. The acrylic archival varnish bonds with the watercolour pigment and paper and the resulting image may be regarded as an acrylic impregnated image. These pieces are referred to as "mixed media", but they retain the visual quality of a watercolour while letting the viewer experience the painting in a more direct way.