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  • November 18, 2021 8:55 AM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    by Paula Fowler, Gallery Co-Director

    The building was abuzz with the best kind of energy on Sunday, November 7.  In the upstairs classroom area, a full house had gathered to see Daniela Werneck’s demo where she showed us how she layers as few as four colors on Aquabord and produces her award-winning paintings.  And downstairs we were celebrating the grand opening of our new sales gallery that our Artist Liaison, Laura Mossman, so skillfully orchestrated and filled with many wonderful small paintings.   It’s apparent as you stroll through the space that this is something that our members love having available.  Be sure to check out how to add your own works.

    After the demo, people filed down the stairs and filled the gallery to celebrate with the winners of our November show.  The theme was general and that gave our artists an opportunity to enter whatever subject that had recently caught their interest.  Fifty-nine paintings filled the walls and made it hard for our judge, Luiza Grandchamp, to make her decisions.  Luiza charmed and educated us with her clear and intelligent assessments of her chosen winners. We owe her huge thanks for her time.

    Luiza was born into an artistic family in Brazil, but has lived, worked, and studied in many countries.  She has been living in the United States for the past 40 years and has been an educator for 30 years.  She brings this multicultural experience to her students at The Kinkaid School, where she teaches art and ceramics and encourages her students to build bridges to students around the world.  She received her BS in biology in Brazil, and after the birth of her two daughters, went to the University of Houston and earned another BA in metalsmithing, with a focus on ceramics and art history.  Luiza has continued to develop her art skills through metalsmithing and jewelry design, creating her own jewelry company that sells her original designs.   During the pandemic, she started an online course with Susan Giannantonio in watercolor and considers it her new passion.

     If you couldn’t be at the reception in person, I hope you are able to stop by the gallery soon and see the show. Alternately, you can see all the images on our web page.  I will now share with you Luiza’s own words about each of the winners.

    First place- Lemons by Les McDonald Jr

    “This watercolor is more than a simple still life of lemons because of the amazing mirror reflections on the silver bowl and the knife blade, which brings an artistic echo of the scene. The detailed texture and the folds of the cloth with shades are well executed. The values on the lemons make them fresh, real, and three-dimensional. This composition tells a story with the knife with drops, the cut lemons, and the mint leaves. “

    Second Place - The Iris by Peihong Endris 

    “This landscape is peaceful and gorgeous! The foreground detail of the Iris allows the viewer to enter the picture. The middle ground adds a texture component with lines created by the trees that hold the viewer's interest. The first two layers lead the observer to the background of the mountain and the waterfall. The water flows transparent and beautiful through the three elements in harmony with the composition. Lights and darks dance in the picture with beauty. “

    Third PlaceBackgammon at the University Club by Bill Curtis 

    “I can smell the books, and I want to sit in the empty chair in the corner of the room to read one of the books. The horizontal and vertical lines in this composition imply stability and strength. The diagonal lines of the table and the smooth wood crop chair give a sense of tension. They divide the frame and draw the viewer's eye deeper into the room, where the books are on the shelves and the portrait on the wall. This composition is rich in textures and colors of the books, wood, carpet, chandelier, and walls. The artist captures the energy of the atmosphere of this room. “

    Honorable Mentions

    Morning South Fork by Mike Doan

    “This painting is an interesting composition where whites have the lightest value, black is the darkest, and the values between these extremes is beautiful is composed of many middle grays. The positive and negative areas are well defined and create a sense of depth with many diagonal lines. “

    Bayou Beauty by Alison Hendry

    “This is a beautiful and simple composition.  The lines which create a pattern in the moving and transparent water is well executed. The horizontal line of the bird's body, the long vertical neck and the diagonal of the head and beak, implies stability. The very small brushstrokes of the tiny feathers are incredible.  Leaving a lot of negative space around the top of the subject makes this composition attractive. It creates a sense of simplicity and minimalism. “

    Store Orchids by Maureen Lewis

    “The vivid colors of those orchids make me happy just to look at them.  One can find many kinds of texture and brush strokes throughout the petals of the flower. The eyes will move around and go back to the big flower on the top right. The dark background empowers the color contrast of the petals, which are crisp and give form to the orchids. “

    Door by Tamara Kontrimas

    “This simple composition of an ordinary door becomes a magnificent painting!  Painting three different hardness, such as metal, wood, and cloth, is a challenging task, and it is beautifully executed.   The fabric is depicted as soft with movement, especially where it is torn. The impressive delicate texture of the cloth has nine values of gray, and it draws in the viewer. The worn-out wood paint and the shiny metal create a nice contrast that pulls back and forth with the fabric. “

    Special thanks this month go to our energetic and enthusiastic volunteers that made this show possible:  Nancy McMillian, Karen Stopnicki, Patty Armstrong, Donna Rybiski, Irene Sheytman, Sally Hoyt and Laura Mossman.  If you would like to help us hang one of our future shows, please let me know at gallerydirector@watercolorhouston.org

    We are now moving so rapidly into the holiday season.  Be sure to read the prospectus for the December show and get your small paintings ready.  You can enter up to six!  We look forward to seeing your works adorn our gallery walls.

  • November 18, 2021 8:55 AM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    Each month, the winners are asked to share a few words about their experiences associated with their paintings. Below, we present what they shared.

    Second Place – The Irises by Peihong Endris

    The Irises has been always my favorite subject. It is so elegant and beautiful. I use the free style techniques on rice paper. It’s an expression of my passion on the painting. 

    Third Place – Backgammon at the University Club by Bill Curtis

    Since attempting watercolor 4 years ago I have been able to begin seeing color, contrast, value and in composition in ways, perhaps that were not catching my attention before.  The paintings are the reward for these observations.  This was so recently when attending a University Club event and I entered the grand library with its big Fifth Avenue windows and colorful collection of books.  Small game tables contrasted with the larger room and in themselves revealed their own texture and paintable details.  The hanging braided light fixtures afforded compositional focus to the game and value contrast to the darkness and book texture.  I had to try it as a painting.

    Honorable Mention – Flower Power by Larry Spitzberg

    The challenge here was to take a detailed photo and go less detailed as the eye travels from foreground to background and give a flower path or eye path to the two figures. I probably painted and repainted areas in the same painting two or three times.

  • October 14, 2021 8:14 PM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    By Diane Trepagnier, AME Director

    The 52nd AME made a grand entrance as an in-gallery exhibit after the year of COVID. There are 57 paintings showing a wide range of subject matter and the beautiful talent of our members. Our esteemed judge, Michael Holter certainly had a challenge on his hands in selecting winners. We are very grateful for Michael stepping in at the last minute after the unfortunate passing of Kim Minichiello. Michael was very complimentary of the quality of all of the entries.

    We are grateful for contributions from the estates of Stan Smith and Shirley Sterling. Nine art suppliers also made contributions allowing us to present 14 Merchant’s Awards totaling $2500.

    Here are the winners along with comments from Michael Holter:

    1st Place “Dining Out” by Less McDonald, Jr.

    The scene is striking in how graphic it is, very realistic but not contrived to the point of photorealistic. Both composition and colors wonderful especially the complementary oranges and greens. This painting causes the viewer to pause as if being beckoned to walk into the pleasant setting.

    2nd Place “Amo De Mia Vivo” by Daniella Werneck

    This painting is very well crafted. The composition of the face looking at the viewer-but just off-creates interest. There is a softness achieved by varnishing that makes colors subtle but not washed out. There is a sense of a “story”, and the larger size makes it fun.

    3rd Place “Eyrie” by Jackie Liddell

    This is a small gem. There are lots of subjective things going on that create emotion - is that a bird’s nest on a rafter? Or cruciform with crown of thorns? The use of monochromatic color adds to the mystery, especially the spots of vibrant colors in the corners.

    Shirley Sterling Memorial Award “San Antonio Winter” by Bill Curtis

    The composition carries this painting. On one hand, the subject is simple, but there’s a lot going on between the warm sun and the cool shadows and the intensely graphic form of the tree.

    President’s Award “Sindhi Villager” by Mohammad Ali Bhatti

    This is a captivating treatment of a portrait. Animation is created by the off-center composition with the shoulders turned one way and the head another. The eyes are very well done and compelling, both looking at the viewer and through the viewer.

    Director’s Award “Avignon” by Irene Sheytman

    There is a lot of feeling this stylized approach to an architectural scene achieved through the off-center tower, the dynamic black drawing lines, and the use of vibrant colors.

    Honorable Mention "Into the Glass" by Karen Lindeman

    This painting creates a nice mood with its subtle, painterly brushstrokes and hazy distance.

    Honorable Mention "Party Girl" by Cheryl Wooten

    This is a lovely composition, especially the intimacy created through the tight crop and the light that brings the face forward.

    Honorable Mention "Spring Joy" by Linda Jarnagin

    This abstract tree works because the artist's application of colors and textures make for a fun and lively rendition.

    Honorable Mention "Stairway Light" by Carla Gauthier

    The light spilling from above, the reflection in the glass and the angular, linear perspective invite the viewer up from what otherwise could be a dim, forbidding entrance.

    Honorable Mention "Supermoon" by Hiep Nguyen

    This straightforward seascape includes a solid sense of place and moody sky that make the viewer wonder, "Where is this? What's going on?"

    Merchandise 1 "The Big Splash" by Lynda Jung

    The movement and pushing of the colors to their extremes make this an absorbing abstract.

    Merchandise 2 "Two Together" by Rona Lesser

    The lively looseness and casual gestures suggest a real-time drawing from life.

    Merchandise 3 "No Need for Lemonade" by Larry Spitzberg

    This large, fresh, painterly piece is a wonderful example of watercolor effects.

    Merchandise 4 "I Am Outstanding in My Field" by Alison Hendry

    Fur is often overworked, but this is a wonderful example of just the right touch, as well the eyes and nose are realistic without being overdrawn, making for an appealing piece.

    Merchandise 5 "The Capitol at Twilight" by Zahid Shaikh

    The simplicity of the presentation, punched up by the color of the background that is subtly reflected in the foreground, makes for a peaceful but strong nighttime scene.

    Merchandise 6 "March Brown" by Richard Scruggs

    The square composition works to enhance the closeup focus on the fly, along with the warm tones of the fly against the cool background color.

    Merchandise 7 "Notre Dame" by William Epps

    This grand subject is nicely treated with well-done architectural forms and details.

    Merchandise 8 "Fresh from the Garden" by Debbie Ebeling

    Orange-against-green, lost edges, curve of the composition and painterly texture make for a lovely piece.

    Merchandise 9 "Cityscape Diptych" by MaryAnn Lucas

    The liveliness of a city is created through the graphic shapes and vibrant colors.

    Merchandise 10 "Cheers" by Fontaine Jacobs

    There is a fun balance between the festive subject of the martini and the quiet white-on-white palette.

    Merchandise 11 "Aubergine" by Darlene Dittoe

    The dark background and diagonal composition create a dramatic setting for the striking aubergine flower.

    Merchandise 12 "Backdoor to La Kings Confectionary" by Diane Peter

    The depth of the passage into the interior is extraordinary in so tiny an architectural painting.

    Merchandise 13 "Hibiscus" by Ruby Allen

    The contrast between the cool background and textural flower comes into harmony through touches of background color in the flower petals.

    Merchandise 14 "Best Friends Forever" by Lorene Williams

    This enjoyable scene of old friends is enhanced by the use of sepia-like tones evocative of times gone by.

  • October 14, 2021 8:11 PM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    Daniella Werneck – “Amo de Mio Viva” – 2nd Place

    My painting was inspired by my teenage years. Last Christmas I went to Brazil to visit my mother, and I was delighted with the sound of birds especially at dawn. I came back thinking a lot about it and remembering the happy and difficult times I lived there. Consequently, I remembered the platonic loves I lived and suffered during most of my adolescence. This painting is about that, about love and what we are capable of doing for it. The apple is the fruit of sin, the arrow came from the Cupid, the ribbon on her arm is childish witchcraft very common in my culture to find love, and the message on the tree means Love Of My Life, it is in Esperanto, a language invented in the 19th century with the purpose of being universal and which has been gaining adepts recently, and I use it (Esperanto) to not be linked to any culture to show that love is free and for all of us.


    Jackie Liddell - “Eryie” – 3rd Place

    The idea for my painting began when I found a perfect bird nest that had fallen from one of my trees during a storm. I brought it into my studio and. two things came to me: creating a moving painting using symbolism with texture and watercolor. It was fun and challenging to figure out what methods and techniques to use. My drawing of the nest reminded me of the Crown of Thorns, and the wooden tree from which it fell became a Crucifix which organized the composition. I placed the egg in the nest to represent "Rebirth".


    Irene Sheytman – “Avignon” – Director’s Award

    When I transfer the sketch from my travel sketchbook into actual painting, I would like to convey what this particular small black-and-white sketching meant to me; impression, idea, feeling of the time and place, season and light. All of it without loosing the energy of quick drawing, avoiding overworking. Hope I achieved it at least partially in the artwork presented.


    Rona Lesser – “Two Together” – Merchant’s Award

    My piece started because of Co-vid. I usually go to Archway Gallery and WAS-H for figure drawing and painting at least 2 times a month. Since those were cancelled because of Co-vid one day I decided to print out old photos of models and try using them for inspiration. I played with semi-blind contour and placement drawing with watercolor pencils and then added color to the shapes as well as extra shapes to finish the composition. I am continuing the practice now to produce a series of paintings.


    Larry Spitzberg – No Need for Lemonade” – Merchant’s Award

    A lot of my paintings, and I bet that i am not alone here, start with a boring painting that I had put away. I looked at this one again and decided to splash color all over it and lo and behold it popped!! Sometimes for me using my brain on the first part and my heart in the second part works!

  • October 01, 2021 9:53 AM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    by Jan McNeill – WAS-H Historian and Paint-in Coordinator

    WAS-H was recently honored with a bequest from the estate of Stanley S Smith. Stan’s long involvement and love of WAS-H led to his very generous bequest that will benefit both the Annual Members Exhibit for the next 5 years as well as support the WASH Annual Fund.

    For those of you less familiar with Stan, we thought we’d give you an overview of his life and his love of watercolor.

    Stan Smith studied architecture, graduating in 1951 from the University of Oklahoma. Back then, well before computers were available, building designs were presented via drawings and watercolors. Thus, watercolor was an important part of Stan’s early career. Stan went on to enjoy a variety of architectural projects all over the world.

    When Stan retired, he renewed his interest in watercolor. A workshop with renowned artist/instructor Edgar A Whitney greatly contributed to expanding his interest in watercolor. With his career in architecture and a love of sailboat racing and Texas bait shops, Stan’s favorite painting subjects were buildings, boats, and water. His winning paintings led to his becoming a WAS-H Elite Signature Member. See one of Stan’s paintings below:


    Stan found many ways to contribute to the wellbeing of WAS-H. He was a key member of the original design committee for our wonderful and highly functional WAS-H building! His architecture background as well as experience as an active WASH member were invaluable to the committee. The committee was responsible for the funding, design, construction, and membership support of our new building.

    Stan belonged to the GAS Group (Geriatric Art Society) – a group of some 20 men who would spend several days each year painting as a group. They would pick a place to meet somewhere in Texas to paint and enjoy each other’s company.

    Stan enjoyed the company and love of WAS-H member Suzanne Leatherwood. Together, they devoted much time and effort to WAS-H, both as Board members for many years and in a variety of volunteer activities. Stan and Suzanne were recognized by the Board for their long and valuable service to WAS-H and named as Honorary Members.


  • September 16, 2021 8:11 PM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    by Diane Trepagnier, AME director

    The 52nd Annual Member Exhibit is fast approaching with a deadline date for entries on September 29. We are looking forward to filling our Gallery walls with artwork from our very talented members to show our guest judge, Michael Holter, and art enthusiasts in the community.

    Michael is an award-winning artist who works in watercolor and oil, who's paintings can be found in private and corporate collections in the US and several foreign countries. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education and an MA in Visual Communication. Below are a few examples of his fine work representing the two workshops that Michael will conduct at WAS-H October 4-8, 2021.

    You can also participate in the AME by volunteering to help out. Runners will be needed on the day of judging to move paintings for judging and hanging and for the reception. It’s a great way to get to know your fellow artists. You can go to Sign Up Genius on the website to volunteer.

    You can find the prospectus on the WAS-H website. Here are the key dates to remember:

    Date online registration & drop-off begins: Saturday, 9/25 – 10:00 a.m.

    Date online registration & drop-off ends: Wednesday, 9/29 – 3:00 p.m.

    Judging date: Saturday, October 2

    General meeting, demo & awards presentation: Sunday, October 3 – 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.

    Reception: Sunday, October 3 - 3:30 – 5:30pm.

    If you have questions, contact Diane Trepagnier, AME Director at 281/253-7562 or ame@watercolorhouston.org.

  • September 16, 2021 8:08 PM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    by Paula Fowler, Gallery Co-Director

    The walls in the WAS-H gallery had been bare for seventeen months and when I walked into the building last week and saw paintings leaning up again the wall waiting to be hung, I had a visceral reaction.  Seeing wonderful art in person can have that effect!  So please don’t wait to stop by the gallery and see for yourself! 

    What makes it even better this month is that the theme is “Experimental”.  Our members were asked to explore new or unusual techniques, material and themes while still adhering to solid artistic principals, and it’s so much fun to see the imaginative challenges that our entrants tasked themselves with.  Mike Doan won an honorable mention by using only paint and a credit card, no brushwork.  Nan Wright pounded real Lodgepole Pine into cotton paper and watercolored over it.  Every painting opens our eyes to new possibilities. 

    Our judge this month, Kelly Montana, comes from our esteemed neighbor, the Menil, where she is the Assistant Curator of the Menil Drawing Institute.  Kelly Montana was born and raised in Houston and holds MA and BA degrees in Art History from the University College London and Smith College, respectively.  At the Menil, she has organized many of their exhibitions, including the upcoming show, Draw Like a Machine:  Pop Art, 1952-1975.  As an independent curator, she has organized exhibitions at Box13 Artspace and the Houston Public Library. Prior to the Menil, she worked at the Dallas Museum of Art, the Fabric Workshop & Museum, Philadelphia, and Lawndale Art Center, among others.

    Kelly was so generous with her time and was thorough in her evaluation of our entries and she was a real joy to visit with at the reception.   We asked Kelly what it was about each of the winners that drew her to it.  I will share with you her comments:

    1st Place – Bumpy Ride by Maria Rodriguez-Alejo

    “The textures of the torn, skinned, and abraded papers provided subtle and elegant variation. Lovely color choice and a strong, sophisticated composition.”

    2nd Place – The End by Lynda Jung

    “This work is playing with contrasts, presenting a composition that is between representation and abstraction, machinic and ecological.”

    3rd Place – Summer Day by Olga Shotashvili

    “This work tries to capture the quality of light of watercolor in an acrylic painting. Pushing media to its limits and trying to express the materiality of one media in another is a rewarding and fruitful exercise, as evidenced here.”

    Honorable Mention – Midland Reporter by Misty Bartell

    “Inventive use of collage and watercolor in a work that could have quickly become unharmonious remains intriguing and balanced.”

    Honorable Mention – Pestled Pine by Nan Wright

    “Very exciting to see an artist making their own pigments from the world around them, and this was an especially unique one.”

    Honorable Mention – Up from the Depths by Mike Doan

    “This work holds together many of the traditions of watercolor painting - light as subject, seeing the natural work on grand scale while retaining an intimate size, and a composition that expresses the inherent fluidity of the medium - while still feeling fresh and unexpected.”

    We are so pleased to the be back in the gallery and have our member’s work for everyone to see.  It cheers us and inspires us, and is a visual testament to the Houston community of the cornucopia of creativity and comradery that is WAS-H.       

    Special thanks to our energetic and enthusiastic volunteers that made this show possible:  Nancy McMillian, Karen Stopnicki, Sally Hoyt, Cissy Giergerman, Marci Watson, Ahlene Shong, Irene Sheytman and Diane Trepagnier.

  • September 16, 2021 8:06 PM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    Each month, the winners are asked to share a few words about their experiences associated with their paintings. Below, we present what they shared:

    Second Place – The End by Lynda Jung

    I often paint on Yupo and love that its gifts are often unexpected. I am always surprised to see what happens as I apply and try to guide the paint, but it flows and mixes on its own on the painting. Images sometimes are added and hidden, and the unexpected end results is a rewarding gift as I set the painting aside to dry. Come join me in my December workshop for more surprises using Yupo.  Lynda Jung

    Honorable Mention – Up from the Depths by Mike Doan

    We always hear that watercolor painting sometimes produces “happy accidents”. The happy accident of Up from the depths started in March 2020 just after WAS-H shut down, and Open Studio meetings ended.  Diane Cox sent me a link to a YouTube video by Lena Gemzoe.  Then, fast forward to July 2021, and Open Studio has started up again and Susan Giesecke was experimenting with a technique she saw in a YouTube video by Scott Swinson – who mentions Lena on his video.  The technique was using only paper (no rougher than hot press), water (and spray bottle), watercolors, and a flexible plastic card.  Wet your paper, load your card with watercolor, and swipe it on. Tilt the paper to let the colors run and maybe spritz it a bit. Sometimes it works and sometimes it ends up being “mud”, but this one worked for me.

    Honorable Mention – Pestled Pine by Nan Wright

    I am fortunate to live almost half of the year in Winter Park, Colorado.  Lodgepole pines were decimated in the last decade by the Pine Beetle.  These dead stands of trees are now fuel for forest fires.  Fire is a mixed blessing because the cones are closed tight with resin that melts during a fire and releases seeds that have been stored for years.

    I wanted to pay homage to the new pines and pounding the oils from their needles was a heady experience!  (The house smelled great!)  It was fun to have my watercolor brush dance with the transferred color of the needles and to paint in those pine cones for future forests.

  • September 03, 2021 8:36 PM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    Kim Granhaug, a signature elite member of WAS-H was accepted into the 2021 National Watercolor International Exhibition and also received NWS Membership status by the judges for her painting "Dialogue."  The esteemed judges of selection include Ken Goldman, Donna Zagotta, and Bev Jozwiak.  In addition Kim earned an Art ScholArtship which includes a review or mentorship from a Master Artist of NWS.  

    The NWS International Exhibition will be held online from October 1 through December 11, 2021.  The virtual reception of the exhibition will be held on October 16, 2021 with more details available soon on the website. Full list of accepted artists can be found here.

  • August 13, 2021 8:44 PM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    by Diane Trepagnier, AME director 

    This is the 52nd year for the WAS-H Annual Member Exhibit, and we are excited to announce the return of the exhibit to the gallery after last year’s virtual show due to the pandemic. As in years past AME will award over $3000 in cash and merchandise, making it once again one of the most highly anticipated events for our members.   The timing and length of the show will reflect some changes, so make careful note of the dates and mark your calendar accordingly. The AME is set for October 4 and exhibits will remain in the gallery for viewing during regular hours until November 4.

    We are delighted to have nationally recognized artist Michael Holter as our judge for the 52nd AME.  Michael is an award-winning artist who works in watercolor and oil, who's paintings can be found in private and corporate collections in the US and several foreign countries. Although he has been painting most of his life, his work experience spans a wide range of creative challenges. He has been an art teacher, creative director and businessman in both fine art and commercial art. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education and an MA in Visual Communication.

    You can find the prospectus here.

    Key Dates:

    Date online registration & drop-off begins:  Saturday, 9/25 – 10:00 a.m.

    Date online registration & drop-off ends:  Wednesday, 9/29 – 3:00 p.m.

    Judging date:  Saturday, October 2

    General meeting, demo & awards presentation:  Sunday, October 3 – 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.

    Reception:  Sunday, October 3 - 3:30 – 5:30pm.

    If you have questions, contact Diane Trepagnier, AME Director at ame@watercolorhouston.org.

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