by Beth Graham, WAS-H President
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!