by Paula Fowler, Gallery Co-Director
I think that most of you have had that art teacher. The one that saw something in you that maybe you didn’t see in yourself. Perhaps that person nudged you in a direction that influenced your career choice, or maybe the nudge was just toward a lifetime love of producing art. Mine came in the third grade at Flato Elementrary in Kingsville, Texas. I was oblivious of trying to do something special in art. I just knew I loved to be putting marks on paper. I really don’t know what she saw in me, but she contacted my mother and offered to teach me to paint and draw without charge. Mrs. Wallace was her name and that encouragement led me to a degree in art education. I only taught for a few years, but the interest and love of art that she instilled in me has remained and brought me so much joy…and brought me to WAS-H when retirement allowed me time to indulge my passion.
When WAS-H was formed in 1975, the purpose of the organization, as stated in the bylaws, is “to further the cause and interest in watercolor art through teaching, programs, demonstrations, outreach and exhibitions”. Because of that, we are now some 46 years later able to work with a wide array of teachers that possess amazing talents and are creative and energetic as they nudge us on, just as my teacher did in the 3rd grade. They instruct, inspire and encourage us and make us see things about ourselves that we didn’t see before. They are such a huge part of what makes WAS-H such a first-class organization. We thank them and we honor them. We proudly display the works of 18 of those teachers in this month’s show. I hope you sign up for a class soon!
Our show this month also showcases works done in class or with other supervision. It’s such a great opportunity for students at all levels. For many, the Student Show is the first show they enter, an act that actually takes courage if you haven’t put your work up for public scrutiny before. It’s a steppingstone to entering other shows. The paintings entered were really wonderful and presented a challenge to our judge to pick just a few
One of our teachers, Ksenia Annis, graciously accepted our offer to judge our July show. Ksenia was born in Soviet Russia and educated to be an architect, a career that she pursued for 20 years in Russia and the U.S. However, in 2009, her primary passion to be a profession artist won her over and the classical drawing and painting training she had while studying to be an architect laid the groundwork for this to move forward. She dedicated the next few years of systematic studies in classes, workshops, and regular studio work. Then in 2014, she founded her company, Tummy Rubb Studio. She has created paintings, illustrations, and public art projects. Her primary focus now is teaching art classes in water media (watercolor, gouache and acrylic) and helping her students to achieve their own artistic goals. In addition to teaching at WAS-H, Ksenia is a very valuable volunteer. We appreciate the time that she took to carefully study the student entries. I will now let her tell you in her words what influenced her when she chose the winners:
1st place – Light and Shadows – Best time of day by Leisa Patin
“The artist very successfully created the illusion of sunlight and depth of space in the painting. Great composition with the room framing the window where we see just a hint of clouds. Darker passages of the interior guide our eye around the painting. I love the use of saturated colors while preserving transparency of paint. Full scale of tonal values, unity of the palette, dominance of warm colors with cool green and teal accents – all these subtle but important nuances make this a successful painting filled with warmth and charm.”
2nd place – Reflections by Kristel Peale
“I was really drawn to the complexity of meaning and beauty of execution in the painting. It doesn’t reveal itself at once to the viewer, but requires looking and thinking. Various textures, balanced tonal relationships, the juxtaposition of warm ochre and varied blues all contribute to the great result.
Additional kudos to the artist for incorporating the figure very successfully. It works as the focal point of the painting without distracting the eye with too many details.”
3rd place – Grandmother by Patty Mcgrath Jones
“Masterful handling of watercolor while painting such difficult subject as human face. I see a perfect combination of hard and soft edges, interesting use of texture, especially in the hair and in the background. Excellent drawing of the face and the resulting warm expression with a subtle smile (no small feat to achieve) all drew me to this painting.”
Honorable mention - The Universe: Objects May be Sharper Than They Appear by Marion Friedman “
“At the first glance his painting kept drawing my attention with its bold composition and color. It kept my eyes studying it as I discovered all the subtle details that the artist added. It achieves a balanced composition, has a variety of shapes and textures, movement, focal point, bright but harmonious color palette – all using the language of abstract painting.”
Honorable mention – Bird in Bamboo by Louise Bateman
“In this painting the artist demonstrates an assured, decisive handling of demanding materials and a substrate that does not allow any hesitation or corrections. Fluency of brush strokes, fine details, a reserved color palette are just a few of the great qualities this painting displays.”
Honorable mention - Resting Time by Kyunghee Johnson
“Hyper realistic style of this painting clearly demonstrates a high level of control of watercolor, especially in delicate color variations in the white fur. Despite all the fine details, the paint remains transparent, the overall form is well-described and the painting has depth of space.”
Our monthly shows would not be possible without the work of the following valuable volunteers:
Nancy McMillan - Gallery Co-Director
Karen Stopniki - Website Director
Cissy Giegerman - Website Administrator
Sally Hoyt - Website Administrator
Laura Mossman - Executive Assistant
Our August show has a theme of SCAPES (LAND, SEA, & CITY). The prospectus is currently available on the web page.