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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

  • August 13, 2021 8:41 PM | Ksenia Annis

    by Paula Fowler, Gallery Co-Director

    We were driving west on one of those great Texas roads.  My husband driving, because he likes to be in control…while in the car!  I’m free to look at the road ahead disappear into the horizon with a majestic cloud formation building in front of the sun as it lowers in the sky with rays of pinks and golds highlighting the edges.  Then a tiny town comes into view with silos and grain bins and a smattering of trees silhouetted against the clouds, adding interest to the focal point.   Some would think this such a simple landscape.  I wanted to capture its beauty.  As an artist, I think this is what happens to us over and over.  The light is just right, the shadows form an interesting composition. And the color…exactly what is that blue gray of the sky?   Whether we’re on the beach at sunset or looking out of a hotel room in New York City, landscapes inspire us and ignite our creativity.  They are everywhere we look.    And sometimes, as is the case of our 3rd place winner this month, only in our minds.  Be sure to read about our winning artists thoughts in a separate blog entry, Winner’s Words. 

    This month, fifty-one wonderful paintings show just how our members respond to these scenes.  We get to experience their views with an added element:  the artist’s emotions.  Please take some time to soak in the scenes that have been shared with us.  Think about how each artist interpreted the view. 

    That’s just what our juror this month did.  Sharon Willcutts is a Fine Arts Administrator and a Studio Arts Instructor in Houston.  She earned a Master of Fine Arts in Painting at the University of Houston and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting at the Kansas City Art Institute.  She also studied at The Villages of Art, Lacoste, France and Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.

    She is an accomplished teacher with more than 30 years of experience guiding all facets of fine arts curriculum development and presentation including studio and classroom environments.  Her educational experience includes drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, stone carving, welding, ceramics, and wood shop.

    Sharon is currently a Visual Arts Instructor at Episcopal High School.  In the past she has also taught at the Museum of Fine Arts Glassell School of Art, St. Stephens Episcopal School in Houston and Houston Community College.  Additionally, Sharon has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Texas and beyond. 

    Sharon graciously shared her thoughts about each winner at our Awards presentation and I now share those words with you.

    1st PlaceHuaco Falls by Cheryl Evans

    “Very competent painting. Tremendous use of color harmony, perspective and sense of light. I love the color transitions, balance of warm and color contrast, as well as hard and soft edges. Tremendous use of atmospheric perspective!”

    2nd PlaceMelancholic Sunset by Hiep Nguyen

    “The direct simplicity of this piece really caught my eye. The minimal use of color and brush strokes are very Zen. A moment caught in time. The economy of marks exquisitely mindful, deliberate and perfect in placement. Absolutely gorgeous! I would love be honored to have this part of my own collection.”

    3rd PlaceMy Favorite Place by Erika Just

    “I was immediately drawn to the broad versatility of brush work as well as the sheer the scale of this piece.  The loose, layered washes, and gestural application of paint is playful, gusty and confident. Lovely use of color!”

    Honorable MentionCafé Creperie by Larry Spitzberg

    “I just love the playful gestures of the figures. You’ve successfully captured the personality of three characters and the poignant moment when ordering at an outdoor café. Beautiful sense of light and layered brush work. Every stroke is purposeful and confident, nothing is overworked.”

    Honorable MentionSights in the Heights by Kristen Peale

    I find this composition deeply captivating and ambitious! What a wonderful use of architectural collage! The push pull of the imagery pulsates across the page, pulling my eye in and out through the forms, advancing and receding with the perspective of each individual home. I think I recognized a few of the houses in my neighborhood!”

    Honorable MentionHey, I’m Talking Here by Les McDonald, Jr.

    “This painting made me laugh! I absolutely love the title, “Hey I’m Talking Here.” It captures the playful bantering gesture of two gulls. Not only do I find it humorous, but it is remarkably rendered. I am captivated by the detail in the wood pier and gulls. Nice contrast of hard and soft edges, they seem effortless, perfectly capturing the mood and atmospheric perspective of a cloudy day at the beach.”

    Honorable Mention - The Ride by Lynda Jung

    “What an ambitious composition. The one-point perspective of the road leading to the flag is a challenging task which could have easily become over baring and too one pointed. What a wonderful job of balancing the detail between the hard edges of the foreground with soft bleeds of the middle and background. I love the point of view of the cyclist riding through a crowded street full of carefully rendered characters, uniquely painted capturing the gesture of each individual bystander.”

    Honorable MentionGalverston Sidewalk by Cissy Geigerman

    “I was instantly drawn to this piece because it effortlessly captures the impression of a sunny day at a beach town sidewalk café. The variety of brush strokes beautiful echoes the play of texture in the landscape, and the balance of warm and cool color contrast supports the sense of mid-day sunlight.”

    Our monthly shows would not be possible without the work of the following valuable volunteers:

    Nancy McMillan - Gallery Co-Director

    Karen Stopnicki - Website Director

    Cissy Geigerman - Website Administrator

    Sally Hoyt - Website Administrator

    Laura Mossman – Artist Liaison

    Our September show has a theme of EXPERIMENTAL.   The prospectus is currently available on the web page.

  • August 13, 2021 8:39 PM | Ksenia Annis

    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 – Huaco Falls by Cheryl Evans

    “It was late Fall and like the rest of the world, I had been cooped up trying to wait out the pandemic. Tired of looking at the same 4 walls, I decided to put the dog in the car and go for a drive. Long story short, I ended up in New Braunfels, TX 205 miles away from my front door. The fall colors were jewel-like. The water of the river crystal clear, and reflecting pools spotlighted the trees dressed in their autumn finest. It was an "Aha Moment", and I knew it would make a wonderful painting. My challenge was to keep it clean. Keep it crisp. And keep the magic bubbling like the waters rushing by me.”

    Third Place – My Favorite Place by Erika Just

    “Sometimes the images that I paint are only in my mind, but the inspiration for my painting, My Favorite Place, is a real place. I live in Austria between the Lake Attersee and the Hell Mountain. When the snow started to melt and the sun was shining on to the frozen rocks, they came tumbling down into the forest behind the house and lucky enough they were stopped. Around 1850 somebody started to chisel the stairs into the Rock. It was a wonderful place. I could sit above the rest of the world, could dream and watch butterflies as they used me as their resting place. All my problems disappeared. “

    Honorable Mention – Café Creperie by Larry Spitzburg

    “Les Trois Amis was my preferred title in French. They were three friends with great hats and so cute they begged to be painted. So I tried to make them appealing and went for the viewer’s inner smile.”

    Honorable Mention - Hey, I’m Talking Here by Les McDonald

    “This painting captured a vision of the Laughing Gulls, who are very vocal. They always seem to be chattering at each other. It’s almost comical to watch them.”

    Honorable Mention – Sights in the Heights by Kristel Peale

    “During the covid quarantine, the only safe way of getting out of the condo was walking my little dog, Chloe. We went out every day on different streets, so neither of us would be bored. Every walk was an adventure. Whenever I saw a house in an unusual color (rampant throughout the Heights), I would stop and photograph it. Colors like this are not in River Oaks, Tanglewood nor any other part of Houston. I spent hours rescaling the photos and arranging the composition. I used the greenery to grid the vignettes and made special effort to balance the color. I know I spent at least a month actually painting. I would start with one house at a time and lay in the basics. All details, like fencing and railings, were done at the end.”

    Honorable Mention – Galveston Sidewalk by Cissy Geigerman

    “This painting is one of the few that flowed from my arm to the paper, especially the umbrellas. I wish I could conjure that feeling more often. The scene in Galveston was a hot day, pre-pandemic. The reference photo included a big iron fence enclosing the sidewalk tables, and many other extras that had to be edited out. I have gained confidence learning from Carla Gauthier and Ed Pettit. Sketching urban and city scenes helps me appreciate the details of things like light, angles, and color, and to see beauty in the ordinary. “

  • August 02, 2021 9:19 AM | Ksenia Annis

    by Ksenia Annis, WAS-H Communications Director

    There is no doubt that the WAS-H website is a great place for our members and guests. They can find information about events, see the latest show winners, sign up for classes, and read the blog. Guests can learn about our organization and, maybe, join.

    Unfortunately, criminals are visiting our website as well.

    No matter how hard WAS-H board of directors works to protect the information that is stored on the website, it is also important for every one of us to be aware of dangers and not give those scammers a chance to do harm.

    Several recent attacks happened when con artists “harvested” emails from the teachers list on our blog.

    They pretend to be one of the teachers and send emails to the rest of the list asking “to help out” with some money supposedly for WAS-H needs.

    There were also instances when board members received emails with attachments supposedly pertaining to organization’s business but really meant to get sensitive personal info.

    Emails have been removed from the Teacher’s List to prevent further attempts.

    There are several things each one of us can do to recognize these scams.

    When you receive any electronic communication( email, text message, or social media message (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) be on the lookout for the following suspicious requests:

    • Asking for money
    • Asking for gift cards
    • Asking to open an attachment
    • Asking to click a link
    • Or anything unexpected from the supposed sender

    Even if you recognize the name in the sender line, pause for just a second and double check the following:

    1. Look at the actual email address, not just the sender’s name. Most people use their actual name or initials in the email address. If it’s a strange assortment of letters and numbers, most likely a scammer created it specifically to con people. You can also compare the email address with previous messages from this person, if you have some in your mailbox.
    2. A similar situation arises when you receive an email purportedly from a company’s customer service. Just look at the domain name in the sender’s email. For example, FedEx or UPS will send emails only from …@fedex.com or …@ups.com, not …@fedexcustomerservice.com or …@upsgiveaway.com etc.
    3. Scammers often don’t have a good command of the English language or use machine translation. If the email starts with a generic address (“Hello dear”, “Dear Madame,”) or contains unnatural sounding phrases like: I've got credence in you to take care of this… or Will you be able to procure this for me…, it is most likely a scam.
    4. If you received a phishing email (meant to get personal information or money out of you), you can double check with the person who you think is trying to contact you by other means - a different email address, phone, text. Do not forward the phishing email and of course do not reply to it. You can mark it as spam or junk in your email program. It’s also a good idea to report phishing emails, this is how to do it:

    Step 1. If you got a phishing email, forward it to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at reportphishing@apwg.org. If you got a phishing text message, forward it to SPAM (7726).

    Step 2. Report the phishing attack to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

    A few other safety measures will go a long way in protecting you from online attacks.

    • Use different strong passwords (containing letters, numbers and special symbols) on important online accounts, anything associated with finances or containing personal information, like your social media accounts.
    • Many websites now offer a two-step verification process, when they send you a verification code at the login attempt. It’s always a good idea to have that turned on in your profile settings.

    All this seems like a lot of additional hassle, but unfortunately this is the reality we have to deal with on a daily basis. Remember, if you get questions or requests regarding WAS-H business, or need to contact a teacher and can’t find their email address, you can always contact our administrative assistant Laura and verify things with her or ask her to pass on a message. It is up to us all to be vigilant and not let criminals take advantage.

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