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  • June 14, 2024 1:10 PM | Kelly Medrano (Administrator)

    By Brian Flaherty, Gallery Co-Director

    The June 2024 Gallery paintings at the Watercolor Art Society - Houston (WAS-H) are an exploration of Movement. Curated by Sandra Jacobs and Brian Flaherty, this month's exhibition provided opportunities for artists to show us their ideas around things that move. Our artists created 43 artworks by 17 artists. 

    Our judge this month was Peter Broz. Peter teaches at the Art League of Houston. He previously taught high school art at HISD for four years. He volunteers at The Woods Project, a local non-profit wilderness exploration and education program for disadvantaged students. He graduated from the University of Houston with a B.F.A. in studio painting.

    His works have been exhibited at several galleries in the Houston area including the Mariago Collective, Hardy and Nance, The Blaffer Museum, and Archway Gallery. In 2014 he received the Jurors ward for his 2014 BIG SHOW at Lawndale. Most recently, works are focused on the sensory aspect of experiencing nature as well as the primal and instinctual aspects of human nature.

    Peter uses a variety of materials in creation of his art such as watercolor, acrylic, ink, pencil, etc. and most recently digital art. Figurative elements as well as natural and biological references are utilized to suggest a narrative between humans and nature.  Furniture design and woodworking has also been a long-term passion, as it’s deeply rooted in a reverence for the beauty of natural materials like wood.

    Notes from Peter regarding the winning paintings he selected are below. Please stop in and see these paintings in person. I think you’ll enjoy the depictions of things that move! 

    1st Place

    Sandra Jacobs

    "Changing Ways"

    Judge's Comments: "Exemplifies that feeling of movement through a very interpretive kind of approach. Not super literal but it has this great interest in different textures, very subtle, yet very crisp hard edges. I find my eyes moving around the piece interested in the entire area, even though it's only a 10 by 10 piece."

    2nd Place

    Fontaine Jacobs

    "Rising Fog" 

    Judge's Comments: “The atmospheric quality of it really draws you in. It's a much more subtle way of representing movement, and the treatment of the background is almost like an abstract quality. It's calm yet again it has these areas of warm and cool colors. The juxtaposition of colors gives it that kind of liveliness even though it does feel calm.” 

    3rd Place

    Cheryl Evans

    "Paintings in the time of the Pandemic"

    Judge's Comments: “The compositional quality is very interesting. I don't know if I can designate just one focal point as I find my eyes moving a lot around this piece. I had to really spend time with it to appreciate it. There's a nice blend between representational and more experimental abstract approaches. It really conveys the feeling of movement.”

    Honorable Mentions

    Mike Doan

    "Cascade en France #2"

    Judge's Comments: "One waterfall, with an almost print-like quality. There are crisp edges that contrast between the dark areas and the highlights. You notice subtle differences and highlights. It's one of those pieces that when you stand really far back in the gallery, it catches your eye. Very strong sense of downward movement."

    Regina West

    "Water Moving Around"

    Judge's Comments: "Appreciating the looseness of the work. The textures and colors contribute to feeling of movement.  Overall creating an appealing and atmospheric representation of flowers, water"

    Nan Wright


    Judge's Comments: "Really good job using those wet-on-wet techniques to create a kind of atmospheric quality. The reflective bits definitely add, changing as you walk past it. Gives the feeling of mood and atmosphere, wind as well. The interest lies in the nuances of textures. "

  • June 12, 2024 7:43 PM | Kelly Medrano (Administrator)

    By Donna Van Fleet, WAS-H President

    HOWDY! How does a small-town girl from the Pennsylvania coal region get to the Watercolor Art Society - Houston? It starts with a first grader whose passions are "coloring" and Saturday morning TV westerns -- Wild Bill Hickok, Roy Rogers, Cisco Kid, Lone Ranger, Hopalong Cassidy. While the other little girls named nurse and teacher as their aspirations, I said I wanted to "tame bad men in Texas."

    Art started with a cherished Hopalong Cassidy coloring book and progressed through color-by-number sets first with colored pencils then paints, to a 30-cake watercolor set. In sixth grade I won a set of encyclopedias in a national newspaper coloring contest, and in eleventh grade, I proudly announced at the supper table that I would major in art in college, to which my mother responded, "Art is a hobby, you'll major in math." I did, and a 31-year career in computer development sent me to Texas where I retired and finally am "majoring" in art.

    Now my passion, in addition to art, is being part of nonprofit teams striving to build from good to great to exemplary. WAS-H is exemplary, lauded by every nationally acclaimed artist who've judged our major exhibitions -- "WAS-H is always cited in conversations as the best-run watercolor society" . . . "best teaching venue" . . . "world-class gallery" . . . "exhibitions that rival the national ones" . . . "extensive curriculum" . . . "outstanding artists" . . . and on and on.

    But the highest praise comes from our members -- "WAS-H is my community . . . when I'm at WAS-H, I'm home."  Thank you for the honor of inviting me to be home with you.

    Donna Van Fleet

    WAS-H President 

  • April 26, 2024 5:34 PM | Kelly Medrano (Administrator)

    By Karen Stopnicki, WAS-H President

    Dear WAS-H Friends,

    This is the last President’s letter I will write, as my term ends at the end of May. It has been a pleasure and an honor to serve WAS-H in many ways, particularly as President for the past two years. I am proud of the increase in membership and new programs and classes we have put in place since the pandemic. The sense of community we have fostered is most especially what I am delighted with. Thank you for being a part of WAS-H and making us who we are.

    Our upcoming General Meeting will be on May 5. Richard Scruggs, Urban Sketch Houston leader, will be our demo artist. He will show you what happens when Urban Sketching Goes Traveling. I am especially excited about this presentation as I want to incorporate art in my travels. Our Gallery Exhibit theme is Nature with juror Michael Bise. The Awards and Reception will follow our General Meeting. The receptions are a wonderful time to mingle with other artists and art-appreciators.

    Our May Paint-In instructor is Peihong Endris on May 4, and has a few seats available. We also have a great selection of classes open for May and June, with more to come in the summer. See our full class list HERE. Classes are added all the time, so check back frequently. Registering for a class is a great way to enjoy the camaraderie of other artists and enhance your artistic skills. Our standard events such as Open Studio, Model Lab and Senior Group are going strong and welcome you to join in during the summer.

    May is the last month of our fiscal year, which means we are looking to members to renew. If you have not renewed your membership for the upcoming year yet, please do so. Membership dues are a key part of our financial support. Your membership has many benefits, including a discounted member rate on classes and workshops.

    Please join me in thanking the following magnificent people who have contributed so much to WAS-H this past year and are moving off the Board of Directors. Kathleen Cooper, Secretary; Janet Traylor, Treasurer; Laura McMahon, Administrative Director; Yvonne Sternes, Building Director; Kathleen Church, At Large Director; Linda Flowers, Gallery Director; Paula Fowler, Membership Director; and Nancy Moody, Volunteer Director. As well, I want to thank the rest of the Board who are continuing in the same role or in a new role. As a largely volunteer run organization, we could not be able to offer everything we do without those who contribute their time and energy to WAS-H.

    Beginning in June, you will see new officers at WAS-H. Our organization is in great hands under the leadership of incoming President, Donna Van Fleet. She has a vibrant energy and will bring good things to WAS-H. Eileen Graves is our new Secretary, Bill Price is our new Treasurer, and Kelly Medrano and Larry Spitzberg will serve as Co-Vice Presidents. We really have a fabulous incoming team, and I can’t wait to see where they take WAS-H.

    I hope you will join with everything going on at WAS-H – thank you for being a part of our arts community!

    Warm Regards,

    Karen Houston Stopnicki

    WAS-H President

  • April 15, 2024 4:09 PM | Kelly Medrano (Administrator)

    By Gallery Co-directors Brian Flaherty and Linda Flowers

    The April 2024 Gallery paintings at the Watercolor Art Society of Houston (WAS-H) are an exploration of varying experiences. Curated by Linda Flowers and Brian Flaherty, this month's exhibition is opened wide for the artists to explore their untapped impressions and ideas.

    Comprising a total of 85 artworks by 41 artists, the April Gallery offers a rich visual narrative that transports viewers into moments frozen in time.

    Our judge for the August show was Julie Verville, a gallery owner (The Ardest Gallery), art collector, and art enthusiast, currently in The Woodlands.  

    Pictured: Brian Flaherty, Julie Verville, and Linda Flowers.

    First Place


    Katie Steck

    Judge's Comments: "I love the single pieces. This micro painting gets into so much detail in the tiny presentation. Incredible use of watercolor in the very small space. While looking very close, you see a depth and completeness of a regular size painting."

    Second Place

    "The Scrunchies"

    Gail Plunkett

    Judge's Comments: "My gallery is almost all contemporary. It's a fun interpretation of contemporary products in a creative design. One kind of scrunchies, just unconventional use of material and unconventional use of media presentation. It's fun and colorful."

    Third Place 

    "Blue Marsh"

    Nan Wright

    Judge's Comments: "I like how there's just one color, monotone. Very good use of skills with simplistic color. It’s hard to do and really beautiful."

    Honorable Mentions

    "Boot Scootin' - Pink Fluff"

    Pamela Ferworn

    "I selected this painting for its simplicity. Pink dress with the cowboy boots -- yes, it's just simplicity! The artist has a good mastery of the medium. I like the composition -- it shows restraint to do something very simple really well."

    "Imperfect/Perfect Woman #67"

    Linda Flowers

    "I selected this one specifically because it's light and bright. It's fun, good use of the medium in a different way. While several pieces are in the show, I like this one the best of all - the imperfect is perfect!"


    Maria Rodriguez-Aleja

    "Very good use of colors, it's very bold! Shows restraint, didn't fill all the space up. Both her still lifes in the show are detailed and show interesting composition. I like her choices of color. Very pretty!"

    "Nine Ladies Dancing"

    Lorene Williams

     "I really love this piece! I like the use of dancing and structure. There's a lot of technique used with the depth of the watercolors and the ability to obviously draw, which is important. I appreciate the color, movement, and execution of design."

  • March 20, 2024 1:22 PM | Kelly Medrano (Administrator)

    The 47th International Watermedia Exhibition (IWE) is on display in the gallery, a show about which judge Vlad Yeliseyev observed, “. . . rivals the American Watercolor Society show”.

    From an initial 273 paintings submitted by 135 artists from 6 countries and more than half the US states, eighty-eight chosen masterworks adorn the gallery through the end of the month. A total of $10,000 in 17 cash awards were given, and WAS-H is proud that 7 of the awards were earned by WAS-H members.

    Here’s a brief look at the opening festivities (Video) and don’t miss the opportunity to see the exhibition up close and in person until March 30, 2024! 

    1st Place

    Mehrdad Sedghi

    "'Ode to Joy' with Joy"

    Judge's comments: "Seemingly simple, but at the same time it gives me insight into the character. Masterfully executed with naturalness. Excellent rendering of light, where the light travels right up the painting."

    2nd Place

    Nishita Jain

    "Early Winter Snow"

    Judge's comments: "Museum quality piece. The composition of colors evoke the feeling of early winter. This painting depicts nature as given by God. This is so hard to do. Absolutely stunning!"

    3rd Place

    Dean Mitchell


    Judge's comments: "This shows masterfulness of composition and the medium. There's depth in the darks and transition of color in the face. This piece conveys character as art should."

    Odette Rubin Award

    Laurie Hammons

    "Flowers for Barbara"

    Judge's comments: "Naive presentation and composition that works really well. Beautiful brushstrokes and color presentation. It is like Cezanne at his best!"

    Margaret Scott Bock Award

    Adam Zhao

    "Mr. Brawn, Judge Emeritus"

    Judge's comments: "I love this work! The hand is expertly done and subdued. Your attention goes right to the face. It is translated just right."

    Jack Bowen Award

    John James 

    "Lightning Rod"

    Judge's comments: "Wonderful edges! I love that the border has depth but is not black. Beautifully composed."

    ET Kraycirik Memorial Award

    Kathleen Conover

    "Contemplating Flight"

    Judge's comments: "This one captivates me. It evokes a feeling of familiarity, like an artist's loft. It transports me. The cropping along the top gives immediacy to the work. The three colors work very well."

    In 2024, we had five members who achieved a new WAS-H status.

    New Signature Status:

    Fontaine Jacobs

    Michele Tabor Kimbrough

    New Signature Elite Status: 

    Alison Hendry

    Irene Sheytman

    Larry Spitzberg

    What is Signature and Signature Elite* Status?

    Signature and Signature Elite status are honors bestowed to those artists who have been selected for participation in the Watercolor Art Society-Houston's International Watermedia Exhibition (IWE) for multiple exhibition years and were active members of WAS-H at the time their eligible entries were submitted.

    In addition to the certificate presented at the annual awards ceremony, each artist with Signature Status may add the designation WAS-H to their professional competencies. 

    Signature Status = artist exhibited eligible entry in three IWEs.

    Signature Elite Status = artist has exhibited eligible entry in five or more IWEs.

  • March 20, 2024 1:12 PM | Kelly Medrano (Administrator)

    By Kelly Medrano, Communications Director

    We were named a local expert on ApartmentGuide!

    Read the full article here: How to Make the Most of One Day in Houston, TX: Build the Ideal Itinerary 

    ApartmentGuide is a subsidiary of Redfin.com

  • March 05, 2024 3:40 PM | Kelly Medrano (Administrator)

    By Karen Stopnicki, WAS-H President

    Dear WAS-H Friends,

    The International Watermedia Exhibition (IWE) will be on display in our gallery in just a few short days, opening on March 3, after the General Meeting. The volunteers for this event have already been busy, planning and preparing, and will be in full force the weekend the exhibition is installed and opens. I continue to be amazed with the enthusiasm from the many volunteers, the hard work and talent of the many artists in the exhibition and perseverance of our few members recently awarded Signature and Elite Signature Status. The big events at WAS-H are a wonderful time to enjoy the excitement and support of our arts community.

    Our March General Meeting will feature a “show and tell” demo with award-winning artist and IWE juror and judge, Vlad Yeliseyev, followed by the IWE Awards Ceremony, and then capped with a reception to celebrate the opening presentation of the IWE. The festivities begin at 2pm, on Sunday, March 3. The IWE will be on display until the end of March, so please make plans to come by and see it in person!

    Current members should look for an email on March 7 to vote for the officer slate for fiscal year June 2024 – May 2025. Click [HERE] to see the bios for the slate of officers. Voting will be recorded online, and close prior to the April General Meeting on April 7 at 2 pm. The results will be announced at that meeting.

    Paint-Ins are a wonderful member benefit! These 1-day classes are a great opportunity to take from a teacher to learn a new technique and have fun painting. Registration for the March 9 Paint-In with Caroline Graham is open, and registration for the April 13 Paint-In with Diann Zimmerman will open on March 12.

    We have many classes on the schedule for April and May -- see our full class list [HERE]. We continue to add more classes as the months go on, so please check the schedule regularly to see what is new. Registering for a class is a great way to enjoy the camaraderie of other artists and enhance your artistic skills. Our standard events such as Open Studio, Model Lab and Senior Group are going strong and welcome you to join in.

    Did you miss the recent 2-day workshop from plein air artist Richie Vios? Check out this short video filmed, narrated, and produced by WAS-H volunteer extraordinaire Jesse Castaneda, [HERE]. We are working hard to provide more opportunities to learn at WAS-H, including bringing in visiting artists -- saving you the cost of travel to learn from these talented artists.

    Next month I will have a long list of volunteers to thank as March is a busy month. So, this month, I would like to thank our current Board of Directors for all the hard work they do every day. Janet Traylor makes sure bills are paid and finances are well managed, Kathleen Cooper documents meetings and offers invaluable feedback, Laura McMahon has updated our voting procedures to be in compliance with our new bylaws, Kat Rodgers managed our fabulous Annual Members Exhibit, Yvonne Sternes keeps our building in tip-top shape including recent painting and AC repair, Kelly Medrano has vastly improved our communications and branding, Kathleen Church manages big receptions and our Senior Class, Cheryl Evans and Susan Giannantonio have developed the most robust and exciting class offerings we have ever had, Linda Flowers and Brian Flaherty run the best monthly gallery shows and receptions in the city of Houston, Jan McNeill offers sound advice and historical society perspective, Paula Fowler is always welcoming new members, Nancy Moody is enthusiastically recruiting new volunteers, and Donna Van Fleet has not only served as Vice President offering her vast non-profit expertise in addition to managing our general meetings, recruiting future jurors and major workshop teachers, she also managed our International Watermedia Exhibition which is a job in itself. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the entire Board of Directors! So much happens behind the scenes with our volunteer run organization, and these are the leaders that make it happen. If you see these good peeps at WAS-H, please thank them! We are always looking to get more folks involved, so if you have time and want to contribute, we could use your help with everything from ad hoc activities to leadership roles.

    I hope you will join with everything going on at WAS-H – thank you for being a part of our wonderful arts community!

    Warm Regards,

    Karen Houston Stopnicki

    WAS-H President

  • February 09, 2024 11:32 AM | Kelly Medrano (Administrator)

    By Linda Flowers and Brian Flaherty, WAS-H Gallery Co-Directors

    The February gallery show theme is “Love Is in the Air.”  We asked artists to paint the things they love, going beyond the typical Valentine’s Day expressions and bringing out a broader focus and vibe.

    You’ll see many tender moments, including…

    • The depiction of love between mother and child, an older couple relaxing on a beautiful sunny day, and the love between brothers that is obvious to the observer.
    • Dogs, cats, and even a little frog prince jumped into the show reiterating their impact on our lives.
    • Best friends and grandchildren along with still life paintings adorn our gallery walls for an added spark of love.
    • One gallery wall is dedicated to florals! If you breathe in deep enough, you'll smell the flowers as you stroll through the exhibit.

    Stop by the gallery and see the show. You may even find a special Valentine’s Day gift (for a loved one or yourself!), as several of the paintings in this exhibit are for sale. This show is sure to bring a smile to your face and touch your heart.

    1st Place Winner

    Linda Flowers

    “Brothers...An Unbroken Bond”

    Judges comments: You can feel the emotion in this work! The power of the two brothers embracing is complimented through a softly painted work. The contrast brings out the tactile emotion of the embrace.

    2nd Place Winner

    Adam Zhao

    “Seasoned Tenderness”

    Judge's comments: Very nice impressionistic quality brought about through small brushstroke and the use of color. Images show togetherness complimented with a lighter feeling. Areas of bright white combined with the background boost the lightness of the subjects.

    3rd Place Winner

    Katherine Rodgers

    "Relationship Goals"

    Judge's comments: Lots to take in! Release your eyes, allowing them to move around the composition finding interesting areas of focus.  Notice the different technics used to bring out the feel of fog, rain, and metal chairs. Lose yourself in the painting, let it transport you to a favorite place and time.

    Honorable Mention

    Robin Avery

    "Perfectly Poised"

    Judge's comments: Love the use of negative space to create the cat's image. Focusing on the dark background you see the creation of the cat’s image. Emotions showing through and brought out even more with the use of the light and dark qualities.

    Honorable Mention

    Judith Lutkus

    "I Love...Nature Morte"

    Judge’s comments: Oh the texture! Enjoy the minimalist quality of the composition and the way the objects are painted. Very nice color palette, the combinations of color in addition to the presence of light bring life to the painting.

    Honorable Mention

    Kay Salem

    "Second Thoughts"

    Judge’s comments: Love the painting of all the details in the painting (eyelashes, lace, etc.) Take time to get close and really investigate the nuances. The abstract background compliments the realistic image.

  • January 25, 2024 10:31 AM | Kelly Medrano (Administrator)

    By Brian Flaherty and Linda Flowers, Gallery Co-directors

    The month of January got off to a strong start at our first Gallery reception on Sunday, January 7. After the entertaining demo by outstanding artist Cheryl Evans, we went downstairs to get our first glimpse of the "Doors" show. There were 45 paintings, submitted by 28 artists. Our judge was Katherine Rodgers who shared her comments with us regarding her top picks. The winners, and the judge's words are shared below.

    First Place - Cheryl Evans

    “Acoma Pueblo - Door to the Ancestors”

    Judge's comments: Embracing a lot of symbolism as doors do! Lots of texture, use of tissue to pull you in asking you to get closer. Stepping back -- you appreciate it, but when you get closer there is so much mark making and detail. The use of pure pigments hit the mark; the blue of the door leading in and repeated on either side, as well as the red above and below. Lots of repeating lines in same direction, faded but there. Your eye bounces around looking for more. Lights mixed with the color, very nice!


    Second Place - Tamara Kontrimas

    "Open Invitation"

    Judge's Comments: Draws your eye due to the size of the canvas. Stepping back, you notice the restraint used in painting shadows and keeping it soft. Yellow brightens as the eye moves toward the door. Lots of texture in the door. I enjoyed the composition, where the door and ceiling are placed. The little rope. The repetition and patterns add to the interest. Wonderful job keeping the colors harmonious and subtle!

    3rd Place - Kay Salem

    "Amara's Door"

    Judge's Comments: Kay did a beautiful job connecting the door and the child. A green split complementary palette links the child’s dress and the door.  Reminiscent of child listening at a parent's door, almost comedic? I enjoy the balance of shadow and bright light, specifically on the doorknob.


    Honorable Mentions

    Fontaine Jacobs

    "Mi Casa"

    Judge's Comments: I liked the pattern happening on both sides, with the center a little offset, and the darker blue value traveling up the painting. Warmth is coming through the stained glass and the reflection off the handles.

    The composition was great, loved the reflections and texture. It makes one curious about what may reside on the other side.

    Glenda Lipp

    "Break on Through to the Other Side"

    Judge's Comments: I liked the composition of the painting and loved the grid pattern across the top. I found it inviting to see the sky poking through.  I Enjoyed the texture and the ink usage, with purples added in the shadows. 

    The dark areas pull your eyes into the painting and then you notice the scattered front.

    Philip Weigand

    "Mission San Jose"

    Judge's Comments: I enjoyed the loose aspect of this painting, it almost has a sketch or illustrative feel. There is a nice composition across the building. It feels like high noon. Makes you wonder how old it is. I loved the loose greens and composition across the top. Draws your eye in then swirls it around the painting.

    Looks like it was done on site, reminiscent of plein air style painting.




  • January 14, 2024 4:05 PM | Kelly Medrano (Administrator)

    By Nancy Moody, Volunteer Director

    WAS-H is a nonprofit organization run by volunteers. Not just run by volunteers but enriched by volunteers. Our collective spirit of contributing time, talent and treasure makes our organization an amazing resource for our members and for the community at large. But just as we, the volunteers, enrich our organization, in turn we also are enriched by engaging in the WAS-H community. 

    Where else will you get an insider’s look at how gallery exhibits come together? And how else can you become better acquainted with the teaching artists you admire so much?

    We want you and we need you - as a volunteer. But what you may not realize yet is the enormous reward awaiting you when you join a volunteer team. It’s fun, it’s easy, it’s awesome! 

    Please consider joining one or more of our nine teams. Here’s the link to learn more about them and where you will find my contact information if you want to chat about it: https://watercolorhouston.org/page-1075378

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