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  • September 29, 2020 8:07 AM | Ksenia Annis

    As we are begin our 8th month of social distancing, I find I am dreaming of being with everyone in our gallery and in our classroom. I distinctly remember the delicious wine and snacks from the reception, and even dreamt we had held our art fair with no rain!

    As we yearn for a return to normalcy, we continue to do our best to keep everyone connected and involved with art. Our Gallery Team (Paula Fowler, Nancy McMillan, Sally Hoyt, Cissy Geigerman, and Martin Butler) has made it possible for WAS-H to have had online gallery exhibits since May. Next month I’ll post the photos of the awesome team that set up. Today I would like to acknowledge and thank the folks I call our “broadcast pioneers.” These are the instructors who have been bringing art instruction into your homes, from their home studios, May-September. It was only possible with the guidance and support of our guru broadcast queen, Ksenia Annis, and the Zoom support of education director, Nicole Hansen.

     Then in September, we also started broadcasting classes from the WAS-H classroom studio. Carla Gauthier piloted the first classes and Caroline Graham offered the demo at the last meeting. Kathleen Church helped with the technology end of it at the demo. Such a brave soul! We had a lot of fun and hope to add others to the team, both in front of the camera, and behind the scene. Be sure to go to Sign-Up Genius on our website if you are interested.

    Our WAS-H Studio Broadcast Pioneers

    Our Art for Seniors class has just received notice of an opportunity to join the Postcard Exchange project coordinated by WASH volunteer Cissy Geigerman. Participants will exchange watercolor postcards using the USPS. We will continue our art, in spite of challenges.

    Until we can gather again, stay safe, stay well, and keep painting!

    Beth Graham
    WAS-H president 2020-2021

  • September 23, 2020 8:46 PM | Ksenia Annis

    WAS-H is looking to fill the position of Social Media Coordinator

    Summary: The Social Media Coordinator will be responsible for planning, implementing, and monitoring the Watercolor Art Society – Houston (WAS-H) social media strategy to increase engagement, customer service, and sales. This position will report to the Marketing/PR Director.

    Sample Responsibilities:

    • Design, schedule, and interact on social media on behalf of WAS-H.

    • Execute a results-driven social media strategy.

    • Develop engaging content for social media platforms.

    • Maintain a unified brand voice.

    • Support the WAS-H editorial calendar via social media.

    • Interact daily on platforms and respond to social media messages, inquiries, and


    • Review analytics and create reports on key metrics.

    • Thoughtfully edit written, video, and photo content.


    • Appreciation for the arts.

    • Passion for social media.

    • Proficiency with major social media platforms and management tools, such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and scheduling platforms like Buffer.

    • Ability to understand historical, current, and future trends.

    • Strong copywriting and copy-editing skills.

    • Excellent listening skills.

    • Strong oral and verbal communication skills.

    • Detail-oriented approach.

    • Proficiency with video and photo editing tools, digital media formats is a plus!

    Work Hours: This part-time remote position is perfect for a student, sole-proprietor, or volunteer looking to build their portfolio. The role is a one-year internship and includes support and encouragement to build a portfolio with samples, metrics, and letters of recommendation.

    WAS-H is an internationally recognized art society, and this role is an excellent opportunity for anyone looking to work in the art or social media industries.

    Apply Now: send a letter of interest and resume to admin@watercolorhouston.org with the subject “Social Media Coordinator.”

  • September 13, 2020 9:38 AM | Ksenia Annis

    by Paula Fowler, Gallery Co-Director

    American painter and sculptor, Dorothea Tanning, said, “Art has always been the raft onto which we climb to save our sanity.” I hope that you can share with me the thought that WAS-H is that raft that we have climbed onto and that it is carrying us through the white waters of 2020. From this communal, but safely-distanced spot, we are able to get inspiration from classes and by viewing the works of our fellow artists. This helps keep us sane. Our September Online Show brought us 58 amazing works of art and 75 of our members joined our Zoom reception and announcement of winners. From our perch on this metaphorical raft, we’re treated to winning images of the garden’s bounty and inviting but mysterious hallways. We see mind-bending abstracts and a bird’s-eye view of a nature trail. And, fittingly, as we pass Labor Day, we join the hot and pulsating space of men at work.

    Our judge for this show, Ellen Phillips, took on the difficult job of choosing the winners. Ellen was born in Houston, TX and is the Ninth Grade Visual Art Coordinator and teacher at HSPVA. She has a BA in Painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Her current work explores the concept of multiples and shifting perspectives through works on paper, sculpture, photography and text. Ellen has shown her work in Texas, Maryland, Missouri and California. As many of you know, WAS-H has awarded scholarships to students at HSPVA since 2008. We were so pleased to find out that Ellen was the recipient of one of those scholarships!

    Please enjoy Ellen’s perceptive words about her chosen winners:

    First Place - Chaitanya Alli - Fresh from the Garden

    “Simple ingredients: four tomatoes, a colander, and a blue tile countertop reflect the beauty of everyday life. The subtle nuances of how these objects reflect and rest on each other become moments of tenderness. Bright red-oranges and blues give weight to a feeling of freshness. The artist is playful in the way these components exist together. An uncomplicated moment portrayed with wonderfully complex interactions of light, shadow, pattern, repetition, and mark-making - so delicate.”

    Second Place - Peggy Engells - Sunlight in the Shadows

    “This piece strikes me as perhaps one of the most mysterious pieces I have ever seen. The space portrayed feels universal in some way - a space we have all encountered at some point in our life - without giving away too many details. There is a wonderful transparent quality within this work - is this moment of light and shadow arriving to us or disappearing from us? Thin and thick, dry and wet applications of paint work together and allude to the act of seeing itself.”

    Third Place - Tatsiana Saleh - The City

    “Fearless color! This piece has a beautiful cadence of vibrant, multiple layers similar to that of a jazz ensemble. Line, color, and application of medium become equally prevalent elements throughout the piece - at times creating depth and flattening into abstract compositions. Upon close inspection, dots are peppered throughout the strips of color, adding depth and complimenting linear qualities of this piece.”

    Honorable Mention - Maria Rodriquez Alejo - Face Up

    “This piece feels internal and external, up and down, above and below. Abstract forms create a dreamlike space that is ever expansive upon close view. Line, shape, color, balance are key components within this piece. Heat and light exudes through cracks in between the forms. Camouflaged moments of texture and pattern within planes are wonderful surprises.”

    Honorable Mention - Barbra Munisteri - Fresh

    “This piece is a wonderful snapshot of time. Slivers of light and cast shadows illuminate the grapefruit and juice. Beautiful mark making and abstract line add to the texture of the space. The placemat doubly serves as a framing device for tightly rendered portions of the piece. Outside of the placemat, the space unravels and loosens - still remaining fresh.”

    Honorable Mention - Joanie Hughes - Pipe Benders

    “This piece has beautiful texture all throughout! Linear mark-making and movement becomes an integral part of the work - causing a palpable weight to the piece that correlates to the title and subject. This moment captured feels simultaneously still and moving. The analogous color palette brings all elements in this work together - giving a sense of cool steel. The detailed marking of the pipe at the bottom is a wonderful touch.”

    Honorable Mention - Reva Power - Walk with Me 1 Jogger

    “The size and orientation of this piece reflect the subject matter very well. Textural mark making and splotches of color build nature as it would in real life. There is a loose quality throughout the whole work hinged on expressive lines and delicate touch. The artist successfully portrays the grandness, beauty, and calming effect of nature through the use of scale. What is most interesting is where we sit, in this piece, as a viewer - within the trees.”

    This show would not be possible without the hard work of our Virtual Show Team. A very special thanks to Karen Stopnicki, Sally Hoyt, Cissy Geiggerman, Martin Butler and our president, Beth Graham.

  • September 13, 2020 9:35 AM | Ksenia Annis

    First Place: Chaitanya Alli "Fresh from the Garden"

    My inspiration for this painting came to me one day while I was preparing dinner. I had just picked some beautiful ripened tomatoes and I loved the brightness of the red tomatoes glistening in the sunlight against the complementary blue tablecloth. The reflections in the white colander and the shadows, along with the various geometric shapes made me eager to paint this picture. I painted in layers, masking all of my lighter values. I dropped darker value colors on the wet paper, letting the colors mingle. I aimed for the perfect texture on the cloth and placed the diagonal lines to direct the viewer to the tomatoes. I hope the viewers enjoy the painting as much as I did while working on it.

    Second Place: Peggy Engells "Sunlight in the Shadows"

    “Sunlight in the Shadows” is a new direction for me.  My brush and paints were perhaps controlled subconsciously by the vibration of the world and my life...that in the midst of darkness and shade - transitioning from the space we are in - light beckons hopefully.

    Honorable Mention: Barbra Munisteri "Fresh"

    My watercolor, Fresh, was done to document the Pandemic of 2020. I made (and am still making) fresh squeezed orange juice every day during the quarantine in an effort to increase our immunity.

    Honorable Mention: Maria Rodriquez Alejo "Face Up"

    Last year I was lucky to be part of a very long road trip from Houston Texas to northeastern Nevada. The changes in scenery as the trip progressed was impressive. I was amazed by the massive size of the mountains, the stunning canyons and the beauty of the landscape’s colors and shapes. 

    Face Up is my interpretation of those big and weird shapes of the Southwest mountains. In this painting I see myself looking up from the floor of a canyon, but also there are shapes that appear to be people or faces…

    I used multiple glazes to obtain rich deep shades of reds and oranges. In some areas I applied opaque color on top of wet transparent color creating some fun effects and texture. To add interest, I included patterns that repeat around some areas of the painting. 

    Honorable Mention: Reva Powers "Walk with Me 1 Jogger"

    I began the “walk with me” series in March 2020 when everything changed.  I discovered a wonderful walking path a block from my house.  The weather was cool.  The sun was shining, and the path was enclosed by trees and bushes creating a feeling of a verdant tunnel.  Like a mysterious, quiet sheltered passageway the light and shadow bounced around as the wind stirred the growth.  Each day I walked at a different time.  I’d stop to take pictures. It was like magic and I was filled with excitement discovering this escape.  So many of the trees in my area have been cut to make room for shopping centers, apartments, schools.  But here, so close to me was a forest, a narrow forest.  With the shutdown, no cars on the road it didn’t matter that the enclosed path was next to a four-lane road. 

    I knew I had to paint the feeling.  I had a 9” x 30” strip of watercolor paper.  I wet it and began painting wet into wet to capture the feeling.  The first rendition had only the isolation.  But as my walks continued, I saw bikers, dog-walker and joggers.  I created additional paintings by tearing a full sheet into three 10 x 22 pieces. 

    I am so grateful that the “Walk with Me Jogger” was recognized in the September Watercolor Art Society – Houston show. I hope you enjoy walking with me.

  • September 04, 2020 8:55 AM | Ksenia Annis

    Dear Friends,

    Who would have thought that we would be entering the 7th month of quarantining due to the COVID pandemic!?! Nothing seems normal and I am sure you join me in wishing for the time when this is behind us. Even the Esperanza shrubs at the building are going crazy as they tower over me as trees now! And as I write this, two potential hurricanes race toward us.

    However, thanks to the efforts of our Education Director, Nicole Hansen, we continue to offer classes and workshops for you to participate in from your home.

    We continue to host our monthly watercolor exhibits, thanks to the work of our Gallery Director, Paula Fowler, and her dedicated team of volunteers- Nancy McMillan, Sally Hoyt, Cissy Geigerman. Our administrative assistant, Martin Butler, helps with the online exhibits, still checks the mail, answers the phone from home, and checks all voice messages.

    Artists entering the Annual Members Exhibit (AME) in October will submit photographs of their paintings online. Our October AME exhibit/workshop leaders, Kathleen Church and Karen Capper, are monitoring the ever changing public health conditions to make our final decisions about hanging paintings physically in the gallery.  The major workshop with Don Andrews has been converted to an online experience and we are excited about some of the new features we are introducing. There are still open spots if you want to join us.

    Our Technology Committee, led by Laura McMahon, includes Nicole Hansen, and Louise Bateman. They have selected the best video broadcast equipment to enable us to soon be broadcasting live from the WAS-H classroom. We will kick-off using the new broadcast technology with the September Demo by Caroline Graham on Sept 6 and the October Major Workshop, October 5-9.

    The International Watercolor Exhibit committee led by Tom Kraycirick, includes Haley Bowen, Laura McMahon, and Jan McNeill. They are wrestling with the decisions and challenges related to this wonderful exhibit as pandemic conditions persist.

    Like many of you, this extended quarantine has been difficult for me, as I also help take care of grandchildren whose parents work, since day care facilities are closed.  Many days it is hard to paint.  I hope and pray for a quick return to our ability to gather together, visit, eat, drink, and paint. In the meantime...

    Stay well, stay safe, and keep painting!

    Beth Graham
    WAS-H President

  • September 04, 2020 8:54 AM | Ksenia Annis

    Virtual classes organized by WAS-H have proven their popularity with our members over and over again. Even though we all miss seeing each other in our upstairs classroom, there is a lot to be said for learning and painting from the convenience of one's home and studio - no driving and no schlepping of art supplies. We were also able to meet and talk to our members and friends from out of state, which is another benefit of virtual learning.

    We had a lot of fun in summer classes and now registration for the fall schedule is in full swing. Our Education Director Nicole Hansen made sure a wide variety of subjects is covered. We have sketching, pure watercolor, acrylics, Chinese brush painting, mixed media techniques, and even digital art and art photography covered. You can see them all and choose the ones you'd like to take by following this link - https://www.watercolorhouston.org/Virtual-Classes Don't wait too long to register as we now close registration two days before the class date to make sure everyone registered has received all the preliminary info and links.

    If you have taken a class, please tell us in comments what you especially liked about it. Is there something you'd like to learn, but don't see on the schedule? Let us know and we hope to see you in one of the classes!

  • August 04, 2020 8:33 PM | Ksenia Annis

    Theme: From My Studio

    by Paula Fowler, Gallery Co-Director

    The month is August and we’re in Houston, so the heat and humidity keep us inside and never far from the hum of our air conditioners. The year is 2020 and images of the impact of the coronavirus and civil unrest swirl in our heads. But when we walk into our studios and let our imaginations and creativity free, what emerges are images of birds of so much color that they flow across the page, vast western canyons filled with light and shadow and fish drifting in the shallow waters of the Gulf. We have no masks, no sweat, no boundaries.

    The WAS-H August 2020 virtual show, with the theme of From My Studio, displays 89 images of paintings done by WAS-H members who followed that path to their studios. They invite us to explore the beauty of the world and of their creativity. With the help of our intrepid group of volunteers, we are able to bring this show to you to view and to share with friends from the safety of your own homes

    Laurie Humble was our talented and generous judge. She is known for her realistic works in watercolor that feature highlighting and unusual angles, but she is also an oil painter and a sculptor and even experiments with oil finger painting. Her work has appeared on the cover and been the subject of feature articles in American Artist Magazine and Watercolor Artist and have been included in Southwest Art, International Artist, the book Splash 10, and many others. She has written a wonderful instructional book, Watercolor Depth and Realism. Laurie’s works are in private and permanent collections across the country and have garnered awards in numerous National and International Exhibitions

    I know you’ll enjoy what Laurie shared with me about each of the paintings that she picked.

    First Place - Debbie Ebeling - Spilling Parrot Colors

    “I was drawn to this piece right away. It has a clear focal point and the composition leads the viewer’s eye through the whole piece and back to the focal point. It is well-executed and the repetition of colors helps to lead the eye. I loved the interplay between realism and abstraction, simply beautiful!”

    Second Place - Patrick Faile - Last Light

    “This piece is stunning and has a brilliantly illustrative style. I was drawn to the use of color and contrast used to create a focal point as well as secondary areas of interest, adding to the overall success of the composition. I also loved the soft shadows. I would have liked to see this in person! I might have liked to see just a bit stronger contrast.”

    Third Place - Les McDonald, Jr. - Redtail

    “I love the unique vantage point here. This piece has a strong, well placed focal point and the perspective used adds depth and pulls the viewer in. The eye is lead to the surface and then back to the tail. Expertly executed.”

    Honorable Mention - Hiep Nguyen - Late Blooming On The Other Side

    “I loved the simplicity of the composition. The lightest lights and darkest darks meet to create a very strong focal point.”

    Honorable Mention - Maria Rodriguez-Alejo - Thundery

    “This is a lovely abstract. Great use of contrasting color, strong focal point and a feeling of movement within the composition.”

    Honorable Mention - Larry Spitzberg - Wash Day

    “Use of bold color and loose painting style add excitement to the piece. Edges become less defined in the distance creating a sense of depth. I loved the style and the strong center of interest here.”

    Honorable Mention - Chaitanya Alli - Let's Take a Ride

    “Great composition. I loved the use of color within the shadows. I believe it would be even stronger if the back wheel had softer edges and was a bit muted in color.”

    Honorable Mention - Trish Poupard - Huntington Cactus

    “I really enjoyed the excellent craftsmanship and control of edges here. It does have a strong focal point and secondary areas of interest. I think exaggerating the color a bit would make it even more dynamic.”

    Special thanks to our Virtual Show Team for helping to keep WAS-H viable during this difficult time: Karen Stopniki, Sally Hoyt, Cissy Geiggerman, Martin Butler and our president, Beth Graham.

  • August 04, 2020 8:31 PM | Ksenia Annis

    First Place - Debbie Ebeling - Spilling Parrot Colors

    I experimented with color runs/drips on my parrot painting.  It was a bit risky because I could ruin the entire thing.  However, I think it added the "pop" I was looking for.  Watercolor is such a wonderful medium.  It really lends itself to experimentation, which is usually a good thing!

    Second Place - Patrick Faile - Last Light

    Over the course of my life I have traveled to and visited many National Parks in the U.S. and Canada. They have been a source of constant artistic inspiration for most of my life. My painting, Last Light, is but one of many I have painted in recent years with the intent of producing a comprehensive body of work not only to promote my worth as an artist, but also share the National Park message of conservation and preservation of the land and life within the parks. I’ve put together a solo exhibition of these works and had two exhibitions canceled this year due to the pandemic, but I remain confident that the work will be shown and that the National Park message will be shared.  I hope you will join me in supporting our National Park Service. The parks are unique and irreplaceable.

    Third Place - Les McDonald, Jr. – Redtail

    As an ardent fisherman, I was compelled by the challenge to paint this underwater scene.  Red Tail depicts the prized red fish in its natural habitat. Shallow bays are the redfish primary habitat.

    Honorable Mention - Larry Spitzberg - Wash Day

    If I was smarter and cuter, I would have titled my painting “WAS-H Day”. I saw this scene in France where a warm day dried everything quickly.  I usually don’t paint flat buildings, so I added plenty of interesting color.

    Honorable Mention - Maria Rodriguez-Alejo - Thundery

    I recently spent several weeks in west Texas country. During my stay I experienced hot days and beautiful sunsets, and occasionally, sunset came with strong thunderstorms. The tremendous force and beauty of the thunderstorms inspired me to do this painting.

    For this piece, I used pure bright colors and layering to create areas of depth. To add contrast, I applied several layers of opaque light colors to get the greys, whites and muted colors around the vivid colors. The lines were done using Tar Gel adding movement and a raised texture to the piece. 

    Thundery represents the happiness and beauty that we can find even under some of the stormiest situations in life.

  • August 03, 2020 9:35 PM | Ksenia Annis

    Dear Friends,

    Our August Exhibit, the third held online, was a great success thanks to the artists who entered 89 paintings, and to the gallery team led by Paula Fowler. Helping her were Karen Stopnicki, Website Director, Nancy McMillan, Gallery Chair,Cissy Geigerman, Sally Hoyt, and Martin Butler, Administrative Assistant at WAS-H. I encourage you to browse through the beautiful work. Go to our website, Online Gallery, and select the show you want to view. Clicking on photos of the artwork enlarges them.

    We will continue to sell paintings from the show and we hope to increase our sales as buyers discover us online. Sold paintings are to be matted, backed, and wrapped in a cover, either paper or plastic. Art stores sell these in packages to make it easy. We continue to practice social distancing, so the sales occur online, the artist drops the painting off by appointment at WAS-H, and the buyer picks it up by appointment.

    The Annual Members Exhibit (AME) in October will probably also be held solely online. Everchanging public health conditions will determine our final decision about hanging artwork in the physical gallery. Other state organizations that we contacted are all planning for online shows for both annual member shows and international shows.

    To enter an online exhibit, the artist must be able to submit a quality photograph of their painting(s). In July WAS-H offered a class on how to do this with a smartphone and the class will  be offered again in September. Check the virtual education offerings for details.

    Our October AME workshop artist, Don Andrews, is willing to wait to see what early September brings before we make any decisions about his week-long workshop with us. We will hold it upstairs for a small class (11), offer it online, offer a combination of the two, or cancel.

    Our fall workshop offerings organized by Nicole Hansen, Education Director,, will begin registration August 5. Our new broadcast equipment is installed but has a couple of bugs to be worked out which will delay the start of classes broadcast from the WAS-H classroom instead of individual teachers’ studios. When those are ready, we will send out an e-blast notifying everyone!

    Be sure to register for the September General Meeting on September 6. Members can register for it just like you do for a class. There is no fee for Gold Members, but all others will be able to pay the usual small fee for the demo and will be entered in our door prize drawings for $25 gift certificates to Art on Almeda, whose new building will be open by then. This year WAS-H is purchasing gift certificates as a thank you to Vicki Trammel for her years of generous support  of WAS-H including monthly door prize gift bags.

    As always, please feel free to communicate your ideas, suggestions, and even critiques. We implement as many as possible! I hope and pray for a quick return to our ability to gather together, visit, eat, drink, and paint. In the meantime…

    Stay well, stay safe, and keep painting!

    Beth Graham

    WAS-H President

  • August 01, 2020 5:23 PM | Ksenia Annis

    by Laura McMahon, WAS-H Treasurer and Past President

    We were fortunate to have had good fiscal management over the years. It positioned us well as we headed into the last quarter of our fiscal year by canceling all of our in-person classes and refunding class registration fees. The WAS-H Board worked quickly and tirelessly to get virtual classes going in April and an online exhibit in early May. This quick action helped to offset the loss of income from the in-person classes. We were having a good year financially until the stay-at-home orders were put in place mid-March, and moving to virtual classes and online exhibits is helping us pay the bills and our employees. We again received an anonymous donation of $10,000 and are extremely grateful to the donor who wishes to remain anonymous for these grants the past four years. In addition, the Odette Rubin Trust gave us an opportunity in the spring of 2019 to apply for a grant, and in July 2019 donated $5,000 toward our Audio Visual and Technology Improvement Project. Our Income was down from last year due to: an additional major workshop in January of 2019 which we did not have in 2020; a slight decline in memberships; fewer entries in our International Water Media Exhibition; a decline in class registration for classes held before March; and cancellation of in-person classes March through May. Our expenses were higher due to: the upgrade of our WiFi and Audio Visual systems; electrical work that was required to bring the building up to code; installation of new carpet and tile on the second floor; and other building maintenance costs. In addition, last year registration for the summer classes began in early May, so our operating account had cash that would be paid out to teachers over the summer months. Our summer class registration for 2020 did not begin until early June. As a result of the foregoing, for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2020, we had a Net Loss of $12,261.69. Notwithstanding the net loss, at May 31, 2020 the cash in our operating account was $149,998.48, down just slightly from $152,366 at May 31, 2019. The total amount in all of WAS-H Bank Accounts at May 31, 2020 was $324,537.33, down slightly from $327,837 at May 31, 2019. We continue to maintain this cash position as a reserve for building and equipment maintenance, as well as unexpected expenses.

    WAS-H Bank Account Balances at May 31, 2020:
    Operating $149,998.48
    Capital Reserve $88,147.84
    Savings $42,945.40
    SEEDS $32,433.05
    Odette Rubin IWE Award $11,012.56

    Total $324,537.33

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