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By Paula Fowler
Iconic Houston Buildings of Houston are highlighted in this month’s show, and it has been such a pleasure to see which ones out of the vast number of possibilities that our entrants chose to paint. Some had a very personal connection to their subject. Others were attracted to itshistorical significance or its architecture. The story behind each painting really adds to its overall appreciation of each one. Another joy of this show is seeing how each artist chose to depict an architectural subject. Different perspectives and styles demonstrate the range interpretations that come from your creative minds. Please take time to read the Winner’s Words section of our blog to see entertaining stories behind our winners.
We owe a huge thanks to our special judge for this show, Katherine Veneman, who grew up in the Washington D.C. area and holds a B.A., summa cum laude, from Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts, and M.F.A. in painting from American University in Washington, D.C. She is currently a curator of education at Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston, where she oversees the museum’s nationally recognized education program, which includes a wide range of public and educational programs as well as guided tours for adults, university students, and youth. Previously, Katherine, who is a practicing painter, maintained a studio in Providence, Rhode Island, and was the Director of Hera Educational Foundation Gallery, a non-profit artist space in Wakefield, Rhode Island. She has exhibited her work on the East Coast and in Houston. And as an added bonus, her mother, Joyce Veneman, who moved to Houston a few years ago, is a participating member of WAS-H!
Katherine gave us a very thorough and educated evaluation of her choices as winners. The following comments are in her words:
First Place - Harris County Courthouse by Irene Sheytman.
“The drawing shows a shift in perspective to reveal the building from an aerial view, with the strong drawing emphasized by the dramatic, simplified color scheme of purples and warm browns. Seemingly defying gravity, the building seems to push towards the skyline, its upward motion anchored by the cupule rather than the sketched foundation. “
Second Place - The Heights Iconic Houses by Larry Spitzberg
“Expressive brushworks both reveal and conceal the everyday scene of historic Heights houses, implying a lively blur between the rapidly growing vegetation and the dynamic forms of the buildings. Splashes of color and texture capture a glimpse of the and the shifting landscape. If the viewer blinks, will the scene change? “
Third Place - Tallest Building West of Mississippi, 1963 (Humble Building) by Diane Zimmerman
“A multi-colored skyscraper meets soft clouds in a vibrant blue sky. The shifting, colors appear to weave through the delicate, detailed architectural structure, forming a pattern that seems independent of its delicately rendered architecturalform. In contrast, the top of an ordinary light fixture appears at the bottom of the page, grounding the viewer’s relationship to the building. “
Clark’s and Deans by Charles Brewer
“Drawn from the perspective of a passerby, a primary-colored façade of personable buildings and sky invite the viewer in. A bike, propped up with a kickstand, sits poised towards the scene, waiting for its rider. “
City Hall by Mansueto Fabugais
“In the composition, City Hall is in the background, with the viewer's eye entering the painting’s foreground, a street corner. Objects on the street—a construction cone, a crosswalk—form abstract patterns that move the eye back. A tree sits in front of the building in the middle ground, partially obscuring the building itself and giving the sense of an ordinary day. “
Greenway Place Sunset by Nan Wright
“Subtle textures and a pattern of shimmering values and colors give this landscape a sense of both permanence and transience. On the cusp of the gloaming, the painting captures a mirage-like reflection of the skyline etched on its façade, while the building itself is firmly nestled in its surroundings. “
This show would not have been possible without the help of our great volunteer! Special thanks to Patty Armstrong, Leisa Patin, Marcia Wasson, Cissy Geigerman, and Mansueto Fabugais.
It’s with mixed feelings that I submit this report, because at the end of May, my Co-Director, Nancy McMillian, and I will complete three years of service and will turn our duties over to new directors. It’s been a really great experience. Our love of WAS-H and our appreciation of the talents and skills of its membership had grown exponentially. We thank all of you that have helped us out…the volunteers, past gallery directors who had gave us so much advice, and the members who had ideas and improvements to share. We’ll miss it all!
Our new Gallery Co-Directors are Cissy Geigerman and Katie Steck. We look forward to the energy and new ideas that they will bring to the job!
Each month, the winners are asked to share a few words about their experiences associated with their paintings. Below, we present what they shared.
First Place – Harris County Courthouse by IRENE SHEYTMAN
I am inspired by works of M. C. Escher, his unusual perspective, multiple vanishing points, and views that cannot exist. The Harris County Courthouse of neo-classical design, topped by rotunda and dome, looks like a good subject for experiment with extreme viewpoint. Also, I was trying to stay away from the true colors of façade and reduce the bombastic view of the colonnade with multiple colors. I am glad WAS-H choose such a wonderful theme for this show; it helped me to learn more about the city we all live in and love.
Second Place – The Heights Iconic Houses by LARRY SPITZBERG
Buildings are challenging to me because they require straight lines, drawing skills and use of perspective. I have none of those skills but, as long as the interpretation can be artistic, I can throw on color and compose a scene. The Victorian Heights houses are picturesque and charming with columns and scroll work and picket fences. This arrangement of neighboring houses pleased my eye with all the additional greenery surrounding them.
Third Place – Tallest Building West of Mississippi, 1963 by DIANN ZIMMERMAN
This building has significant meaning to me. My dad was one of the architects who worked on the Humble Building. He started working on it before I was born, and construction was completed when I was 4. He was proud of working on such a state-of-the-art building. Each floor has a 7-foot shade (ledge) which helps to provide shade from the sun, reducing energy costs. It was the tallest building west of the Mississippi until 1965. In the architectural world, it was a big deal. Of all the skyscrapers my dad worked on, this was his favorite.
Honorable Mention – City Hall by Mansueto Fabugais
I painted using transparent watercolor medium with a technique of applying colors and tones from light to dark. I began using wet in wet technique and then dry brush for the details. I choose the front-side angle view so that I could apply the two points perspective with all vertical lines perpendicular so that there are only two vanishing points, the left and the right. The trees in the foreground add beauty to the scene, and the details of the street attract, but I did not overdo it, so as not to obstruct the main focus which is the building. The light and dark tones contrastand shape the structure's cubical form. This building is a Renaissance architecture design. My style of painting combines realism, impressionism and fauvism.
Honorable Mention – Greenway Plaza Sunset by Nan Wright
The Greenway Plaza Sunset was inspired by a photo I took one evening from a friend's condo. They get this view often! I actually painted it SIX times before I thought it was acceptable for WAS-H.
By Karen Stopnicki
The demo at the May General Membership was a real treat! Board members Cissy Geigerman, incoming Gallery Co-Director, and Irene Sheytman, Co-Vice President, joined to show their art-on-the-go tips.
Cissy began with showing her lovely sketchbooks and spoke about how she got started with Urban Sketching. She likes to observe scenes when she travels, and took up Urban Sketching to learn capture what she sees. In sharing her “travel kit”, she showed us her sketchbooks, favoring the Stillman and Birn Beta series. She has a small palette box that she purchased at JoAnn’s Fabrics and has refilled her favorite colors. Her real secret to success is a water filled brush, like the ones made by Arteza. She did a demo of a coastal scene, beginning with a pencil sketch, then adding watercolor and completing the painting with pen lines.
Next up, Irene said she buys inexpensive mixed media sketchbooks, and uses a well-loved small pencil kit that holds a pencil, several waterproof Micron pens in black and brown, plus her secret weapon, the Elegant Writer pen which has a lovely effect when wet. She shared that she likes to use her sketches as reference for paintings and has better results than using a photograph. The sketches and corresponding watercolors she showed drove that point home. She gave us a simple yet highly informative lesson on one-point and two-point perspective.
Thank you so much to Cissy and Irene… your demos, tool tips and conversation about sketching on the go were inspiring! Personally, I can’t wait to put some of their tips in action during my travels this summer.
From Yvonne Chen: In celebration the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, Houston Public Library-Central Library will showcase watercolor paintings of my late father Chen Zong Ho's watercolor paintings for an effort to promote arts and drive the cultural exchange.
Retrospect and Prospect - the Changes of Taiwan's LandscapeChen Zong Ho’s Watercolor Depictions of Taiwan scenery
Houston Public Library – Central Library, 500 McKinney St, Houston, TX 77002
Sat. May 7, 2022 through July 28, 2022 (library parking at basement, $2 per hour)
Reception: May 20, 2022 2-4pm (please arrive by 1:45 PM)
Among the VIPs invited and who will attend and offer brief remarks are: Mayor Turner, Director General Robert Lo with the Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Houston, Consul Takahashi (on behalf of CG Murabayashi of Consulate of Japan in Houston), Jorge Franz (President of Greater Houston CVB) and Beckham Dossett (The McGovern College’s Associate Dean for Research and Faculty, and Director of the School of Art)
Shout out to WAS-H’s own Carol Rensink from the Royal Drawing School in London.
Many of you may know Carol Rensink as the head coordinator for the Model Lab program at WAS-H. She developed the program, has been leading it for years, and has been instrumental in developing a quality weekly studio program to draw and paint from live models. She also suggested our use of Padlet for online ZOOM classes that helped make them a success.
She has been taking online courses from the Royal Drawing School (RDS) since the beginning of the pandemic. They recently profiled her in this lovely article.
https://www.royaldrawingschool.org/courses/public-courses/student-stories/carol-rensink/ The article mentions her work with WAS-H, and provides a lovely profile on Carol.
From Diane Trepagnier: Family Affair
My brother, Carl Trepagnier, recently had his first book published. Needless to say, I am quite proud of him. We have both been honing our crafts for some time now, and it’s quite a significant achievement for him to get the book published. So it was with honor and trepidation when he asked me to paint a cover for his book. But I took on the task and asked him to be honest if the painting did not meet his expectations. As you can see from the photo, the book was published using my painting on the cover.
The book is a historical fiction set against the horrific ship explosion in 1947 in Texas City, Texas. My family and I lived five blocks from where the ship exploded. Fortunately, we all survived. The epilogue in the book recounts our experience.
It was so fun to work together on this and I just like to share.
The Outdoor Painters Society is in Galveston May 8th – 14th coincident with the 48th Annual Galveston Historic Homes. Forty-seven artists juried into the competition from coast to coast, Alaska to Maryland, will record the history of Galveston Island in paintings. Saturday May 14th events at the historic 1859 Ashton Villa will include a Portrait Challenge, artists painting on the grounds, an exhibit of wet paintings in the ballroom and many artists to chat with. Open to the public.
Please join us for May 15th demo at the gallery. It is a part of monthly general meeting, it is an informative and entertaining part of the members’ gathering. On May 15 there will be duet of demo artists - Cissy Geigerman and Irene Sheytman.
Cissy will be talking about sketchbook painting in a not-so-quick style:
* Why sketchbook work is important for skill building
* Tools and materials to use on the go
* How to decide what will best fit onto the page
* Color mixing to capture tones from life
Irene will talk about Perspective Drawing, Linear vs Atmospheric.
* Linear; Vanishing points,
* Horizon placement
* Vantage point
* Travel sketchbooks. Quick pen and ink drawing, capturing mood and place.
From Mohammad Ali Bhatti:
I am pleased to invite art lovers and collectors to come see my art exhibition at Archway Gallery Houston. Opening reception is on Saturday May 7th 5-8pm and the show will continue till 2nd June 2022. You will enjoy seeing a nice blend of abstract and southwestern paintings side by side in the show. Imperfectly perfect is a part of my artist’s statement, because art doesn’t necessarily have to be pretty or perfect, but it must evoke emotion.
Dear Watercolor Art Society Houston,
ArtistBoat is using painting competition to draw attention to and prevent pollution on Galveston Beaches. We are particularly fond of watercolor since we teach all our students and public participants how to make a watercolor painting while out on the wetlands of Galveston Bay on a kayak adventure. And we serve all ages.
Beautify the Bucket, a painting competition, gives artists opportunity to take an active role beautifying Galveston Beaches and improving stewardship behaviors. The competition: paint a blue barrel based on a theme: ocean organisms, eliminating marine debris, coastal and marine ecosystems, or Galveston recreational activities. The barrel is destined for Galveston Beaches where, after the competition, they will be added to for visitors to enjoy and to encourage proper disposal of one’s trash to reduce aquatic pollution.
Registration is open until May 8, 2022
Entries are due to be turned in by June 1st.
Come to Artist Boat and get your barrel today!
During Artist Boat World Ocean Day Festival, barrels are on display for the public; event judges select a winner from each category. World Ocean Day: Saturday, June 4, 11 to 4:30 at East Beach, Galveston.
ArtistBoat’s Beautify The Bucket
by Paula Fowler, Gallery Co-Director
The theme of our show this month is “Animals, Real and Imagined”. I suppose we all have buried in our subconscious memories and fantasies that fit in this category. Maybe there are from real experiences or from dreams and active imaginations. Some of these are our most cherished recollections. Others are unpleasant remembrances of something scary under our childhood bed. And then we have the images of animals that have morphed into characters that make us laugh out loud!
Our April show has examples of it all. There are cats and dogs, of course, and birds and fish and rabbits, meercats and butterflies…and the list goes on. There are also creatures straight from a creative mind…some daunting and others downright hilarious. This show is a joy. I hope you make time to stop by the gallery and see it in person.
Our judge was Josh Pazda, who is an art historian who lives and works in Houston. He got interested in art at an early age and was lucky to be able to take classes at Glassell and be a student at HSPVA. He received a BA and an M.A. in art history from the University of Houston and then returned to HSPVA as a consultant faculty member and teacher of the principles of art and design. He is currently a partner in Josh Pazda Hiram Butler, a contemporary art gallery with a cross-generational program that presents contemporary and historical artworks in a manner that focuses on connoisseurship and beauty. His essays have appeared in Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, On Site: 50 Years of Public Art of the University of Houston System, as well as numerous exhibition catalogues for Pazda Butler gallery. His first book—about the American artist Tony Feher’s drawings—is being published this fall by Gregory R. Miller & Co.
Josh certainly made the preparation of this show a pleasure. We thank him so much for his time.
Below are his choices as winners and a few of his thoughts.
First Place – Mallard by Fontaine Jacobs
“This work harmoniously combines line, color, and form. The long brush strokes of rippling water compliment the short hatch marks of the Mallard’s body beautifully. The artist’s choice of Yupo paper as a support creates a unique surface quality. “
Second Place – Groundskeeper by Susan Giannantonio
“The interplay between abstraction and figuration in this work is very strong. The complexity of mark making and coloration is delightful, and calls to mind elements of nature that are both real and imagined. “
Third Place - Social Distancing Rebels by Alison Hendry
A masterful composition assembled from individual images that refuses to let your eye stay still. She used a limited palette to portray artfully depict the most delicate pink to the vibrant rose.
What The? by Mike Doan
A wary cat is painted in a minimalist way and just barely emerging from the darkness.
Turbulance by Jackie Liddell
Skillfully rendered Images of real fish turbulently swirling from real to abstract. They become new creatures altogether.
Thanks to our valuable volunteers:
Please join me is once again in thanking our volunteers, Patty Armstrong, Irene Sheytman, and Laura Mossman. They are essential in making our shows happen. Please give some thought to joining us in the process soon. If you are interested in joining in, sign up on the SignUpGenius on our homepage.
First Place – Mallard by FONTAINE JACOBS
I'm always inspired to paint animals. As I started this painting, I wondered whether I would be able to pull it off. Painting feathers is not easily done on Yupo. The water was a piece of cake. I just painted wet on wet like I would for a sky. With the feathers, I found that dabbing with the side a flat brush, feathers emerged with time. I love solving problems, and this was quite a challenge. Sometimes I don’t go with the theme assigned by WAS-H. Now I realize if I try to adhere to it, I learn new and wonderful things. Keep challenging me, WAS-H!
I’ve been painting and teaching what I call “botanicals” for a few years now, using actual plants and an overnight process to produce monoprint plant images onto paper. Developing them into an interesting composition, however, is an added challenge. I’d long been tempted to add a garden creature to one of those botanical paintings, and thought a bunny would be a fun, and perhaps unexpected, addition.
Third Place – Social Distancing Rebels by Alison Hendry
During the pandemic we were always talking about “social distancing”, so when I looked through my many photo references of flamingos at the San Francisco Zoo and our own zoo’s glorious new South American Pantanal exhibit, I saw how flamingos just don’t observe that and the idea came to me. So, I looked through many reference photos until I found individuals that I liked that would make an interesting group. I drew each one separately, adjusting for size and perspective, and transferred these from paper to tracing paper so I would have them all on one page. I then transferred them with graphite to my watercolor paper and said “Ready…Set…GO!” The dark background was painted in three layers. The first wash was quinacridone gold from Winsor Newton, then two flat washes of a mix of Mayan Dark Blue (DS), French Ultramarine Blue (WN), Quinacridone Pink (WN) and Quinacridone Gold (WN) and a very deep breath!
Honorable Mention – Turbulence by Jackie Liddell
This painting came totally out of my head. I enjoy being in a boat and fishing almost as much as I love painting! I am inspired by the sea and all the sea life living in it. I first drew this composition in my sketch book using the subject of the fish I most enjoy catching. I abstracted them and added a lot of movement and line to represent the rough waters they swim in. I have been experimenting with using black line and stamping with my watercolor. It was fun and almost painted itself. I am honored the juror liked it.
Honorable Mention – What The? by Mike Doan
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