2022-2023 proposed slate of officers for WAS-H board

March 29, 2022 8:31 AM | Ksenia Annis

Karen Stopnicki is a native Houstonian and lifelong artist, who while in the 4th grade convinced her parents to let her to take adult painting classes, and ultimately earned her BA in Art from the University of Texas. She currently runs a busy household that includes her husband, 12-year old son, a cat and a dog, does commissions as a professional artist, and is a consummate volunteer.

A long-time WAS-H member, she has served on the WAS-H Board of Directors in a variety roles including Public Relations Director, Annual Members Exhibit Director, and Website/Technology Director. She has also served key volunteer roles in the Mark Twain Elementary PTO and the West University Little League Auxiliary.

She will bring business acumen to her role as WAS-H President from her years in corporate advertising and marketing for local and national retailers. “I hope to marry my love for WAS-H with my background and experience to keep the organization heading in a positive direction. We have so much to offer the community, and I look forward to seeing WAS-H full of shows, classes, and events with members and guests.”

Irene Sheytman’s romance with watercolor started when she studied architecture in college at the Azerbaijan Engineering and Construction University in Baku (1977–1982). Among other subjects, watercolor painting was a prerequisite for architectural rendering.

For a time, life forced her to set painting aside. But later when Irene finally had more free time on hands, she started painting again. Realizing, that she needs to develop her own visual language, Irene is expressing her thoughts and emotions through properties and peculiars of watercolor painting. She also tried different mediums (though watercolor is her favorite), along with different tools and a less realistic approach. Irene confesses that she loves to travel and to see new places, cities, and counties. That is part of why historical architecture is her passion.

Irene has been a member of WAS-H for many years and enjoyed plenty of workshops, classes and shows. But most of all, she appreciates being a part of a great group of art enthusiasts and appreciators. “I am thankful for a chance to serve as a co-vice-president for a second year and hope that with all my energy and enthusiasm I will help WAS-H to promote art and artists.”

Donna Van Fleet's inner artist made a 3rd-grade debut with a paint-by-number set, won a set of encyclopedias in a 6th grade national newspaper coloring contest, won a 7th-grade geometry art contest that required using protractors, compasses and rulers, took a hiatus when her parents informed her that she would major in math because "art is a hobby", stayed dormant during a three-decade career at IBM, then re-emerged after retirement to finally become an art major, with gratitude for WAS-H's rich menu of classes.

Besides art, another of Donna's passions is collaborating with a team to help organizations thrive from good to great. During her executive management at IBM and at more than a dozen nonprofit organizations, Donna has never met a challenge that didn't inspire her or a problem she didn't want to solve, always with a sense of humor and joy in camaraderie.

Galveston provides Donna the best of all worlds, living on island-time in a Gulf-side, art-laden home, plus Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony, WAS-H and airports to faraway lands just up the road.

Donna thanks WAS-H for inviting her to serve a second year as co-vice president, a cherished opportunity to combine her passions for art and for helping organizations grow. Donna looks forward to working together to advance WAS-H's impact by empowering artists and enriching art audiences.

Kathleen Cooper attended college at the University of Florida, and she had no idea what to major in.  She tried math, but that quickly became incomprehensible.  English proved to be much more boring than it was in high school.  Since she always liked art, she then decided to major in art education.   However, upon graduation she knew that teaching art was not her passion.  While working in a bank and contemplating next steps, a friend announced she was going to law school.  Kathleen thought that sounded like a good career choice, and rode the wave of law schools trying to increase female enrollment.  At the end of law school, Kathleen stuck around for one more year and obtained an LL.M (Legal Masters) in taxation.

Upon finally graduating, Kathleen threw everything in a U Haul and moved to Houston as an adventure, knowing about two people who lived there.  Ah, the ignorance of youth!  Kathleen ended up going to the University of Houston at night to take accounting classes for CPA certification, while working for the Big Eight firm of Touche Ross (yes - a long time ago).  After a few years in accounting Kathleen decided to try industry, and worked for 22 years as an international tax planner for Marathon Oil Company.   Upon retiring from Marathon in 2009, Kathleen decided that she needed to round out her work experience by working for the government.  A couple of years later the IRS was hiring International Examiners, so she worked for the IRS for seven years, retiring for good right before Covid struck.

During most of her working life, Kathleen did almost no art work of her own, content to visit museums and art fairs.   But in 2011 she joined WASH to learn more about watercolor, as a hobby.  Not a driven, passionate artist, Kathleen does not paint faithfully on a daily (or even almost daily) basis.  But she has a lot of fun taking courses and day-dreaming about what she will paint one day when she finally buckles down.

Janet Traylor is a native Houstonian.  She graduated from Deer Park High School and then graduated from UT Dental School as a Certified Dental Assistant.  This is also where she met her husband, Tony and will celebrate their 47th anniversary this May.   They moved from Houston to Baytown.    After working in the Dentistry field for six years she decided it was time for a career of her own.  She attended University of Houston and received a degree in Accounting.  She then followed her dream of working in the Oil & Gas Industry; she worked for just over six years with Tenneco Oil Company.  As happens in the ups and downs of the Industry Tenneco sold its position in exploration and production, at the same time Janet was blessed with her only child, a beautiful baby girl.  Great timing, she became a stay at home mom, volunteering with Service League, tutoring children in math, and holding the position of her church bookkeeper.  When her daughter left for college she resumed her career in Oil and Gas Accounting at Houston based Enervest, where she retired as Manager of Accounting Advisors in April 2017.

Her first dabble in Art was in 2006 when she took some classes at the Jung Center in Chinese Brush Painting.  After retiring she followed her long time teacher and friend, Peihong Endris to WASH.  She joined WASH in 2017 and has taken many classes and major workshops since.  

I feel blessed to have found such a welcoming organization as WASH.  Although I have never served in the capacity of secretary, “preferring numbers to words” I look forward to helping WASH in any capacity I can. 


  • April 01, 2022 10:13 AM | Jan McNeill
    what a great roster for WAS-H Directors! I am excited and impressed and plan to vote in support of them. I hope you will too!
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