President's Letter - July 2020

July 01, 2020 9:50 AM | Ksenia Annis

by Beth Graham, WAS-H President

Dear Friends,

Our June Exhibit, the first held online, was a great success thanks to all the artists who entered 147 paintings, and to the gallery team led by Paula Fowler. Helping her were Karen Stopnicki, website director, Nancy McMillan, gallery chair, Cissy Geigerman, Sally Hoyt, and Martin Butler. We have already sold 4 paintings from the show and hope to continue this trend as buyers discover us online. We continue to practice social distancing, so the sales occur online, the artist drops the painting off by appointment at WAS-H, and the buyer later picks it up by appointment. All sales occur online. If you haven’t yet viewed the exhibit, I encourage you to browse through the beautiful work.

The July Student Exhibit will also be held solely online. Be sure to carefully read the prospectus to see who is eligible to enter this show. WAS-H is the only watercolor society that holds a student show to encourage new painters to share their work and experience the gallery exhibit experience. All WAS-H teachers are asked to submit one painting (no fee). It can be one that is currently for sale, or one no longer available for sale. Show us your favorites!

Our early summer workshop offerings organized by Nicole Hansen, education director, are by instructors who have the technology to teach online from their home studio: Ksenia Annis, Ed Pettit, Susan Giannantonio, and Ellen Orseck. Coming soon from their home studios are classes with Peihong Endris and Laura Spector.

Mid-July we will have our newest hardware installed that will enable us to bring the rest of our teachers (and new ones, too) to the building to offer online classes. Carla Gauthier will be our first artist to try out the new setup and she is planning several classes. Once that is working, we expand our offerings. You will be able to register for these as usual, and view at home through Zoom and our Youtube channel.

Our October AME workshop artist, Don Andrews, is a fellow Texan from Bastrop and is willing to wait to see what the end of September brings before we make any decisions about his week-long workshop with us: hold it upstairs, offer it online, a combination of the two, postpone, or cancel.

As the number of Covid cases began to decline at the end of May, I wondered if we had been wasting our time exerting so much effort toward our online presence, but the sudden and rapid escalation of cases have reminded me that we may need this approach into the fall & possibly winter.

These numbers break my heart as I worry about our friends and family and fellow Americans that are facing increased chances of illness and unemployment. But for selfish reasons, I am really missing the time spent with fellow painters in classes, monthly meetings, demos, model lab, open studio, art for seniors, hanging artwork and enjoying receptions. I have made so many wonderful friends in our artist community and truly miss the time spent with others who love art! One silver lining is that our online offerings allow members who are far away or who cannot travel to our building to join us in many ways previously unavailable. We will keep this as a part of our way to doing business. I am thankful for that.  I hope and pray for a quick return to our ability to gather together, visit, eat, drink, and paint. In the meantime…

Stay well, stay safe, and keep painting!


  • July 02, 2020 9:12 PM | Deleted user
    I commend you and your whole team in how quickly you've introduced us to our online world, Beth! Congrats and thank you!
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    • July 03, 2020 7:53 PM | Elizabeth Graham (Administrator)
      Thank you Helen. During these difficult times it is art that gets us through.
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  • July 03, 2020 4:48 AM | Donna Schultz Van Fleet (Administrator)
    Thank you doesn't go far enough in expressing the vital role that online classes have played. Not only have they expanded my activity roster, they have also offered a social connection that feels even more personal because we get to see one another individually and face-on, albeit via video camera. Congratulations with gratitude for a job well done.
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    • July 03, 2020 7:55 PM | Elizabeth Graham (Administrator)
      I am so glad to hear that Donna! Stay tuned for greatly expanded offerings coming soon!! I look forward to painting with you again when it is safe to do so. See you online in the meantime.
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  • July 03, 2020 8:42 AM | Patricia Kay
    Thank you so much for the online classes. I had been enrolled in six classes that ended up being canceled, and I can't tell you how disappointed I was. 2020 was going to be the year where I really progressed and learned. Thanks to the online classes, that might still be possible.
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    • July 03, 2020 7:56 PM | Elizabeth Graham (Administrator)
      I shared your disappointment. I am so glad the online classes are filling the gap. Be sure to complete the survey I am sending out so that we can hear from all members about what they would like to see offered. See you soon!
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  • July 03, 2020 12:37 PM | Susan Giannantonio
    Thank you Beth, Karen, Nicole and others who have been visionary in offering virtual classes and launching exhibitions, etc. For those not yet participating, I have received many notes and comments how much people appreciate the ability to get together and paint, even tho we aren't physically together. It has made people (including me!) feel like we are a part of a group who care about one another. AND we get to paint. If you haven't done so already, please consider joining a group of painters and getting your paintbrush busy! You'll be glad you did.
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    • July 03, 2020 7:58 PM | Elizabeth Graham (Administrator)
      Susan, you exemplify the heart of painters everywhere. Your upbeat demeanor keeps everyone relaxed and enjoying themselves as they play with paint. Thank you for helping to keep so many of us connected and filling our days (and Facebook) with beautiful works of art.
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  • July 07, 2020 6:21 PM | Nan Wright
    Thanks for all of the EXTRA effort it takes to keep WAS-H an important part of Houston (and our lives!)
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