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  • May 31, 2020 8:45 AM | Ksenia Annis

    By Nicole Hansen, WAS-H Education Director

    WAS-H introduced virtual classes via Zoom in May, and now we are launching a full summer program. Registration for summer virtual classes begins June 1!

    Stop by our website to sign up for:

    The Quarantine Sketchbook with Ellen Orseck

    Sketching People: From Pencil Line to Color with Ksenia Annis

    Liquid Charcoal with Laura Spector

    Abstraction: Organic & Geometric with Ellen Orseck

    From Selfie to The Painted Portrait with Ellen Orseck

    Rainbow Pets: How to Paint Animal Portraits with Luminous Watercolors with Ksenia Annis

    Mixing and Mingling: Luminous Grays and Blacks for Animal Portraits with Ksenia Annis

    Flowers in the Landscape and Still Life with Susan Giannantonio

    Additional classes, including Ed Pettitt’s Urban Sketching, will also be added in the coming weeks. Please watch the blog, and social media for more information!

  • May 31, 2020 8:41 AM | Ksenia Annis

    Five members of WAS-H had paintings accepted into this year's Texas Watercolor Society's 71st exhibition: Jan Shrader, Carla Gauthier, Gay Paratore, Kim Granhaug and Robin Avery. The exhibition is being held at the Hill Country Arts Foundation in Ingram, Texas until the end of June.

    Gay Paratore received the Jacomini Family Memorial Award for her painting. Robin Avery received the Juror's Award for her entry into the show.

    Click here to see the exhibit

  • May 31, 2020 8:40 AM | Ksenia Annis

    One HSPVA Senior and Two HSPVA Juniors Win 13th Annual WAS-H Scholarships

    By Haley Bowen, WAS-H Outreach Director

    Celebrating 13 years of giving to the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA), WAS-H has awarded three HSPVA students a total of $650.00. WAS-H scholarships are awarded to promising HSPVA watermedia students who wish to continue their art education in pre-college summer art programs or in college with a major in art. A $400.00 award went to Sarah Perkison – HSPVA graduating senior and watermedia artist. Two $125.00 awards went to HSPVA juniors and watermedia artists, Maya Chorn and Tania Vega. Constantly evolving as a society and vowing to live up to our mission, WAS-H yearned to continue our support for HSPVA students. The pandemic has been difficult to navigate, but WAS-H is thankful to be able to continue another year in our scholarship program.

    Our senior recipient, Sarah Perkison, has been accepted into the Fine Arts Department of the University of New Mexico. “Through the exploration of profoundly personal symbols I intend to learn and process my own emotions and better understand those of others,” Sarah shared in her Artist Statement. “The most important parts of the physical world are not physical at all, they are the created memory spaces in our minds which are contorted by recollections both tender and/or painful…I am interested in both the way that humans collect physical objects and keep them as vessels for memories and emotions, and the ways people discard or hide objects which have a negative evocation…My work reflects this feeling of sacredness by often containing aspects of spirituality and deep personal sentiment.”

    Our junior recipients Maya Chorn and Tania Vega were selected from a jurying process based on submissions from their Spring Portfolio. Haley Bowen, WAS-H Outreach Director, watermedia artist, teacher, and WAS-H member, was selected to help jury the show among other jurors. Both Maya Chorn and Tania Vega will use their scholarships towards art programs.

    WAS-H is honored to celebrate the talent, passion, sophistication, and technical skills of these young women. Sarah, Tania, and Maya, we wish you all the best in college, your pre-college programs, and in your future careers!

  • May 31, 2020 8:37 AM | Ksenia Annis

    With sadness we announce the passing of Bob Watson, husband of WAS-H member Carol Watson. Bob was a trailblazing former Astro player who, following a stellar playing career, became MLB's first black general manager. He also built the Yankee's 1996 team that won the World Series. Read more here

  • May 14, 2020 4:39 PM | Ksenia Annis

    The City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) and Downtown Redevelopment Authority, in partnership with gener8tor announced this week a new initiative supporting Houston artists, musicians, creatives and nonprofit leaders affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Under the Houston Emergency Response Program, artists, musicians and creatives will have access to a free, week-long webinar series designed to identify and leverage critical resources in order to weather this ongoing public health crisis. 

    As part of the program, participants will be provided with daily webinars featuring experts in the following areas:

    • Sustaining your creativity and creative practice during COVID-19
    • Navigating and utilizing TikTok to bolster your online presence
    • Mental health and wellness resources for creatives
    • Unemployment assistance and financial relief resources
    • Fireside chat with Fernando Garibay, creative director and music producer on Lady Gaga’s Born This Way album

    Velissa R. Chapa, legal counsel to the commissioner representing employers at the Texas Workforce Commission, will lead the unemployment assistance webinar.

    In addition to webinars, daily one-on-one consultations to meet digitally with advisors on the above topics will be available. The gener8tor team will be working one-on-one with artists, musicians, creatives and nonprofit leaders to address the various issues they are facing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

    gener8tor will also work with community groups interested in providing pro bono resources to artists.

    Interested artists, musicians, creatives and nonprofit leaders may visit www.gener8tor.com/emergency-response-program/houston/creatives to register. The program will run from May 18, 2020 - May 22, 2020. All Houston-based creatives are welcome to apply.

    “The cultural community it is the heart and soul of Houston,” said Debbie McNulty, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. “Right now, organization leaders and individuals are adapting and perservering to keep bringing us art, music and creativity when we need it most. We are thankful to gener8tor for joining our local response with this program and to the Downtown Redevelopment Authority for their support.”

    “Artists, musicians and creatives are a vital part of building thriving communities. We hope to call on our network of mentors, investors and partners to support artists through this new Emergency Response Program,” said Joe Kirgues, gener8tor co-founder.

    For more information on the Emergency Response Program, contact Abby Taubner at abby@gener8tor.com.

  • May 10, 2020 2:30 PM | Ksenia Annis

    by Nicole Hansen
    WAS-H Education Director

    Register for classes listed below by going to Classes page on our website.  More classes will be added during the month of May, so stay tuned!

    VIRTUAL - Water, Rocks, Sky
    by Susan Giannantonio

    Come together and paint with friends. We will paint a water landscape with a loose, impressionistic approach.

    VIRTUAL - Urban Water Sketching at Home
    by Ed Pettitt

    Want to see your living room or backyard through new eyes? This online class will allow you to explore your home through the fun and relaxing medium of urban watercolor sketching.

    VIRTUAL - How to Photograph or Edit your Painting with a Tablet or Phone
    by Susan Giannantonio

    If you have a cellphone or tablet you already have the hardware and software needed to capture an image of your painting and edit it to ensure it looks as close to your painting as possible. Join this beginner class for tips to photograph and edit artwork on your mobile device.

    VIRTUAL - WaterMediaGallery Demonstration - Sell Your Art
    by Susan Giannantonio

    Join Susan Giannantonio for a free class where you'll learn to create your own online store and sell your artwork for 100% of the asking price.

    VIRTUAL - Painterly Pet Portraits: How to Capture Animals with Vibrant Watercolors
    by Ksenia Annis

    Calling all animal lovers! In this class, we will learn how to capture our favorite creatures with watercolor on paper using an imaginative, expressive color palette.

    VIRTUAL - Sketching People: From Pencil Line to Color
    by Ksenia Annis

    If you always wanted to draw people but didn’t know where to start, this class is for you. I will show you my technique for quickly capturing human form on paper and create fun, unique and expressive sketches of people.

  • May 10, 2020 2:18 PM | Ksenia Annis

    Congratulations to WAS-H member Gay Paratore who sent the following news:

    Hi, I just got a call from the Texas Watercolor Society! I won an $1000.00 award for "Beach Babes". The judge picked it because it "made her smile". Made me smile, too! The painting is below:


    Kanya Kelly sent us her new artwork titled Fantasy Dreams. Here is what she wrote:

    "I was creating a tree series. One of the series is "Fantasy Dreams". During the cabin fever of the lockdown I wanted to bring vibrant colors and cheerful moods to my work. So, I played with warm/cool values using wet on wet and wet on dry techniques. I only used loose goose brush to create lines, branches and tree trunks.

    Using Sennelier watercolors I did not paint straight from the tube but let the colors mingle on paper instead of mixing on the pallet."

    Kanya's painting is below:

    Please share your latest wins, paintings and achievements with us - email washrag@watercolorhouston.org

  • April 25, 2020 12:02 PM | Ksenia Annis

    by Jan McNeill
    WAS-H Paint-in Co-Coordinator and Past President

    The Painter's Key, a twice weekly art newsletter, recently had a thoughtful quote that I thought worthy of sharing with our WAS-H members:

    Alone and Together (by Sara Genn)
    ...we need to learn in all kinds of ways — including by watching our mentors. Stumbling around in the dark, alone forever will take us only so far. Communities like masters programs, painting clubs and workshops produce artists that speak to the value of their tribe and the experiences gained in the presence of a collective. And so, what to do while we wait to be together?

    If you ’re intrigued, I encourage you to check out this link for the free newsletter.  https://painterskeys.com/

    The above comments about learning from communities and painting clubs really made me think of WAS-H. I have learned much in the past 20+ years that I ’ve been taking classes, attending workshops, sitting in monthly live demonstrations, and going on painting excursions. I know I would not have come this far without those wonderful opportunities. 

    Yes, we are eager to get back together after this time of Covid-19 virus and social distancing!   And in the meantime, we are painting when we can and connecting with our painting friends.  

    In anticipation, I have already renewed my annual membership with WAS-H, how about you??

    Stay Safe!

  • April 07, 2020 12:39 PM | Ksenia Annis

    by Ksenia Annis, Washrag Editor

    The beginnings of my audiovisual (AV) setup date back to when I decided to pursue my art full time. The immediate need was the ability to properly light and hang two-dimensional art for photographing. To this end, we installed track lighting on two walls and the ceiling of our landing. Using 5500 K (degrees Kelvin) color temperature bulbs, this enabled easy photo shoots as I produced my art. As time progressed, my AV need shifted from still photography to video as the business focus shifted towards demonstration and education. For the production of online classes, I needed the ability to video art pieces during painting. This required a camera mounted to shoot vertically down.

    Originally, I purchased a metal floor stand with a “selfie ring” - a circular light with a camera mount in the middle made for video bloggers. I mounted a cheap web camera on that stand, aimed it at my drawing table and filmed my first class. The thing I didn’t consider was that every time I moved at my table or applied a slightest pressure to it, the whole contraption shook and I had to cut shaky frames from my videos.

    A ceiling mount was an obvious solution and the contraption you see in the photos is our homemade engineered solution. It is a box on drawer slides for horizontal adjustments with the same 5500K lights. An old camera tripod bungeed to the box mounts the camera. It is helpful to have a business partner skilled in engineering solutions such as this. A note of caution with ceiling mounts. Most Houston homes have air conditioning equipment in the attic and it turns out ours was directly above my upstairs studio space. This resulted in unacceptable vibration being transmitted to the camera. I spent the first summer using this setup with the air conditioning off during shooting - we all must suffer for our art. Fortunately, the air conditioning was old and failed the next summer. The expensive replacement is not located above my studio and does not vibrate the ceiling in any case.

    Of course, I needed a way to record my voice and the Yeti Blue microphone and boom you see is used for all audio recording needs. It is extremely sensitive. It also required the air conditioning to be off or it would record too much background noise. I love my new quiet air conditioning system for giving me comfort while working!

    All AV recording is done directly into my Asus laptop. It is a high end gaming/graphics laptop purchased because I needed portability and the power to drive the Adobe Creative Suite I use to process my product. I no longer need that portability so my next computer will likely be a tower style PC as you can get much more power for less money. I also have a professional level video monitor so that my colors are displayed as true to life as possible. This is an important part of producing quality prints. It is helpful, but not entirely necessary for video production.

    For online classes, the majority of the camera work is focused solely on the work. I add the reference photo on screen, in post-production. In order to do that I needed software capable of displaying a second video source. For this we chose Open Broadcaster Software (OBS Studio).

    Online classes require introduction and ending sequences (intro and outro). These generally present the artist so I needed the capability to also video these sequences. We decided to use “green screen” and post process the backgrounds. Here you see our second floor landing converted to “green screen” production studio.

    In October 2019 we went to Florida where I taught a class at our friends’ art studio. I brought my artwork, my materials, my projector, but I forgot to bring my camera! We bought another one of the same type at the local BestBuy and I thought I’d return it after my guest tour was done.

    When we came back home, I decided to expand my video production to YouTube live streams and online live classes on Skilpe.com. This meant I needed to shoot simultaneous video of the art in progress and the artist working. Luckily, my prior equipment and software choices made this a simple matter of adding the Florida purchased camera to my existing setup. This camera mounts to the light ring I now use for the green screen head shots; it feeds into the OBS software, which is capable of multiple audio and video source presentation. The boom mounted microphone feeds into OBS and records the audio. OBS allows easy live streaming as well as recording.

    The setup was complete when I bought an iPad stand, so that I can show slides or a reference photo via screen mirroring using Lonely Screen software (free). All the devices are plugged into my laptop via a USD hub (unless you have a custom built computer, there will never be enough USB ports for all this stuff).

    Here is the list of hardware and software I use for video streaming and production:

    Green Screen Paint


    Track Lighting – Big Box home improvement stores or lighting stores

    5500K Bulbs -Lighting store or Amazon

    High end gaming/graphics computer- Video processing is intensive computing. Adobe Creative Suite requires heavy duty computing power to run smoothly. Consult an expert before purchasing.

    Yeti Blue microphone and boom stand


    Logitech C920 webcams


    Selfie Ring and Stand


    Ipad stand


    OBS Studio – https://obsproject.com/

    Free software that allows you to arrange the feed from all your devices into a “scene”. It has camera control features and can be used to record video, or stream live on YouTube and Facebook.

    Adobe Creative Suite - https://www.adobe.com/

    - Premier Pro and AfterEffects are two powerful programs I use to edit videos and create animated sequences and titles. Audition is the sound recording and editing program that integrates with Premier Pro.

    We also have file server and backup (Western Digital MyCloud Ultra), https://shop.westerndigital.com/products/network-attached-storage/wd-my-cloud-expert-series-ex2-ultra#WDBVBZ0000NCH-NESN

    Those video files are huge and large storage is essential. We also need to be able to easily share files as Patrick, in addition to engineering, also writes copy, films green screen and reference shoots and edits video and audio. The file server allows us to easily work on the same project.

    I love working on videos. Even though it is sometimes nerve wracking to do them live, after all it is a lot of fun to connect with fellow artists and art lovers.

    I hope you check out my YouTube channel and my classes - more info can be found on my website - tummyrubb.com. Please let me know in comments what you think and if you have any questions! 

  • April 07, 2020 12:30 PM | Ksenia Annis

    What does the WAS-H Plein Aire Coordinator, Louise Bateman  do while self quarantined?   She gets out her Plein Aire equipment, sets up in her driveway and paints a Nandina bush.    The painting was not worthy of posting, (her inner critic was very loud), but just being outside, wetting the paints, and putting her brush to paper, made some of her stress melt away.   Perhaps tomorrow's painting will be worth posting.    She challenges all the other plein aire painters to send in what they are painting!

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