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  • June 17, 2022 1:06 PM | Nancy Moody (Administrator)

    A sad note. Our watercolor colleague Kate Paxton passed away on May 7, 2022.

    There will be a memorial service at Christ the King Lutheran Church of Houston on June 29th at 7:00 pm.

    Read her obituary here.

  • June 17, 2022 12:49 PM | Nancy Moody (Administrator)

    WAS-H member, Olga Shotashvili, is showing a very personal set of artworks entitled "Freedom of Expression" at the Cultural Center OUR Texas, 2337 Bissonnet, Houston, TX 77005. The exhibit is open now through July 22. You can find more information at www.OURTX.org

  • June 17, 2022 12:25 PM | Nancy Moody (Administrator)

    This show gives WAS-H students an opportunity to "stand out" and to celebrate the WAS-H instructors who have encouraged their artistic journey. There are a few eligibility guidelines specific to this show so be sure to read the prospectus carefully. Only student entries are judged and eligible for prizes.

    WAS-H students may submit paintings made in class or made using techniques taught at WAS-H. The prospectus defines entrant qualifications.

    Registration has begun.

    Deadline: July 6 @ 3 pm

    Judging: July 9

    Reception: July 10 @ 3pm

    Show: July 12 - Aug 2

    Questions: contact Cissy or Katie at Gallerydirector@watercolorhouston.org

    Teachers, please submit an entry for this show!

    Future Teaser:  August Show Theme: Sky - anything with a sky in it!!

  • June 10, 2022 3:46 PM | Nancy Moody (Administrator)

    Registration opens July 3 for WAS-H Major Workshop October 3 - 6, 2022

    "Turn your old notions of watercolor upside down" with Ryan Fox

    Featured in Watercolor Artist Magazine and Art of Watercolour, national award-winning artist Ryan Fox promises to "turn your old notions of watercolor upside down."  The first two days of the Workshop will explore wet-onto-wet painting, charging color, intentional water blossoms, scraping, spattering, and adding texture. The second two days will teach a new technique called watercolor batik, using watercolor paint and wax to create batik-style paintings on Japanese rice paper.

    The Workshop will include both demonstrations and one-on-one consultations, so class size is limited to 16 students. All levels of students are encouraged to participate.

    Early Bird registration fee July 3 - 31 is $625.00

    Regular fee starting August 1 is $675.00

    Seating is limited to 16 students

    For more about Ryan Fox, see rfoxphoto.com

  • June 08, 2022 5:47 PM | Nancy Moody (Administrator)

    By Cissy Geigerman, WAS-H Gallery Co-Director

    This month’s theme “Food for Thought” did give us a treat!  The gallery was endowed with a beautiful array of paintings portraying food, whether it was gathering, cooking, growing, or simply enjoying a bounty of things to eat.  It is always amazing to see the variety of interpretations our participants contribute. Many thanks to our volunteers this month, Mansueto Fabugais, Donna Rybiski, and Leisa Patin.  This event was also helped tremendously by the expert guidance of Paula Fowler.

    Our judge for this show was Amy C. Evans, an award winning artist, writer, and documentarian.  She is a graduate of HSPVA and holds a BFA in printmaking from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and an MA in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi.  Her paintings have appeared in Southern Living, Southern Cultures, and the Oxford American.  Her first book, A Good Meal is Hard to Find, features her paintings and writings about southern cooking.  

    For the show Ms. Evans did her level best to evaluate the offerings and select the winners.  Below are her remarks for the winners.  As a surprise, though she was not expected to do this, she also recorded brief comments for ALL the paintings. We suppose this was only natural since she IS a writer.  Contact Cissy Geigerman to learn her comments about your entry.

    Below are remarks from our judge and the artists.  As an afterword, please read Larry Spitzberg’s writing on the merits of painting like Winslow Homer.  

    1st place: Larry Spitzberg – Harvesting  

    Ms. Evans - This piece really drew me in- the warmth, the brushwork, the action, the subject, the scale.  And, for me, it shows a consideration and appreciation for farm workers, which is definitely food for thought.

    Larry Spitzberg - The painting is recent but the photo is a few years old. I remember getting out of the car and lugging my heavy camera and zoom lenses to the fields to photograph the laborers bringing in the harvest.

    I did the painting twice. I first made a careful drawing of the figures which is unusual for me. I followed the local color throughout and was pleased with the painting. A few days ago I pulled it out to look at it to enter it and thought it was boring and didn’t pop. So I wildly without any thinking and without the original photo for reference added sexy colors like wisteria and rose and darkened the few darks that outlined the figures. 

    And it “popped”.

    2nd place: Diane Cox – Salt and Pepper Three Dollars

    Ms. Evans - The subject really speaks to me! I love a good treasure hunt and unique treasures.  I also love the humor here, the larger-than-life scale and the vibrant colors.  I see the birds in conversation, and I love imagining what they’re saying.

    Diane Cox - “Food for Thought” intrigued me as a subject that I haven’t explored with my art work. I looked around my kitchen and realized my collection of salt and pepper shakers would be fun to work with. I also had just recently seen an amazing demo of Aquaboard by Daniela Werneck which inspired me to try Aquaboard. It’s fun to work with, give it a try. I enjoyed meeting and talking to Amy Evans the judge for the show. Amy did the beautiful acrylic paintings for A Good Meal is Hard to Find cookbook. Thank you Amy and everyone at WASH.

    3rd Place: Jackie Liddell – Banana Babies

    Ms. Evans - I love this piece for its creative use of media – layering of papers, addition of glitter and the bleeding line work that really gives the subject great detail and texture.  I also love how I imagine the artist enjoyed the process and let the materials do their thing.

    Jackie Liddell - I am inspired by the beauty and found compositions I see in nature all around me.  I love tropical settings, so I’ve created a tropical setting in my own backyard.  The large banana flowers evolve into stalks of bananas after the trees are a couple of years old.  This painting was begun with an underpainting and then drawn freely with a pen that bleeds when water touches the lines.  I love the accidents and surprises that occur.  Making my own collage papers and gluing them down was another fun addition to this painting.  Painting is a journey.  There is no end to the possibilities that transparent watercolor with mixed media can take you.

     HM1 : Fontaine Jacobs – Jelly Prep 

    Ms. Evans - Wow, I love this piece!  Appreciate the physicality of the markmaking, reductive moments, texture, pattern, light, so much action and yet it reads like glass because of the light achieved.

    Fontaine Jacobs - I have been fascinated with painting glass subjects for a while. On Yupo, the reflections, textures, and highlights are such fun to do. Obstacles on Yupo are few as you can wipe out an area if it is not working, and try again. I have painted wine glasses, martini glasses, highball glasses, and canning jars with this same technique. I’m always searching for glass subject matter to paint on Yupo.

    HM2: Leslie McDonald – Fettucine 

    Ms. Evans - The technical quality of this piece is outstanding, love the contrast and sharp edges, especially around the tomato.  The quality of light is outstanding.

    From a discussion with Les McDonald - A permissioned photo was used for the basis of this painting. Starting with a precise drawing, the background is a dark black made from a rich mix of 3 primary colors. To make the long edges for the fork handle and tines, a special brush very much like a rigger, but longer and wider is useful. It can take some time to practice making smooth edges.    


    HM3: Judith Lutkus – La Cucini Italiana 

    Ms. Evans - I love that this is a still life within a landscape while getting both within a unique “built” environment.  Creative composition and use of materials.  Great texture.

    Judith Lutkus - The inspiration for my painting, "La Cucina Italiana", was the memory of my mother's kitchen. I am of Italian descent.  I work in acrylic and mixed media with an emphasis on shapes and balance and harmony. My favorite subject is imagined still life, usually abstracted in some aspect, and at times, using contour drawing as a starting point. I like to warp perspective to help create an interesting design.  Here I wanted to create an idea of an Italian kitchen and show the basic ingredients of Italian food. I used flexible modeling paste to make an imagined tile floor and put a window in the background showing an Italian village. I placed part of a table flat against this background in a warped perspective. The vegetables and olive oil jug were painted realistically.


    From Larry Spitzberg, an afterword:

    The Maverick, Winslow Homer

    As an avid reader of watercolor art history, I always enjoy most reading about the negative reception that anything new seems to bring out in the general population and especially the art critics.  You might enjoy knowing that even Winslow Homer was considered a maverick when he first showed his watercolors. 

    Examples are the Impressionists who got their name given by an unsympathetic critic from Monet’s painting “Impression Sunrise”. The critic Louis Leroy in 1874 wrote that “Wallpaper in its embryonic state is more finished than this seascape!” 

    And the word Fauvists from the French Fauves means Wild Beasts!

    The watercolor medium is most commonly associated with Britain during the period extending roughly from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century – the so-called Golden Age of watercolor.  The tradition began with detailed drawings in graphite or ink and tinted with a restricted range of colored washes.  These were later deprecatingly described to watercolor paintings as only “tinted drawings”.

    Yet I am still surprised at the reaction of some of the critics to an American icon of watercolor painting, Winslow Homer.  We consider Homer’s paintings so mainstream and so much the epitome of watercolor today!

    In the book The Watercolors of Winslow Homer by Miles Unger, he writes that “What distinguished Homer’s approach from the beginning was the freedom with which he put brush to paper.  Writing in 1875 for the Art Journal, one critic complained: “Mr. Homer’s style is wonderfully vigorous and original; with a few dashes of the brush, he suggests a picture, but a mere suggestion only, and it is a mistaken eccentricity which prevents finish”.  In a language that was to echoed frequently in his lifetime, another critic described his watercolors as “mere memorandum blots and exclamation points”, though he went on to say, with an ambivalence typical of contemporary responses, that the artists pictures were so “pleasant to look at, we are almost content not to ask Mr. Homer for a finished piece”. 

    So be a maverick like Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, and even like Winslow Homer!

  • June 05, 2022 1:35 PM | Nancy Moody (Administrator)

    Shout out to WAS-H’s own Carol Rensink from the Royal Drawing School in London.

    Many of you may know Carol Rensink as the head coordinator for the Model Lab program at WAS-H. She developed the program, has been leading it for years, and has been instrumental in developing a quality weekly studio program to draw and paint from live models. She also suggested our use of Padlet for online ZOOM classes that helped make them a success.

    She has been taking online courses from the Royal Drawing School (RDS) since the beginning of the pandemic. They recently profiled her in this lovely article.

    https://www.royaldrawingschool.org/courses/public-courses/student-stories/carol-rensink/   The article mentions her work with WAS-H, and provides a lovely profile on Carol.

  • June 05, 2022 1:32 PM | Nancy Moody (Administrator)

    By Diane Trepagnier

    My brother, Carl Trepagnier, recently had his first book published. Needless to say, I am quite proud of him. We have both been honing our crafts for some time now, and it’s quite a significant achievement for him to get the book published. So it was with honor and trepidation when he asked me to paint a cover for his book. But I took on the task and asked him to be honest if the painting did not meet his expectations. As you can see from the photo, the book was published using my painting on the cover.

    The book is a historical fiction set against the horrific ship explosion in 1947 in Texas City, Texas. My family and I lived five blocks from where the ship exploded. Fortunately, we all survived. The epilogue in the book recounts our experience.

    It was so fun to work together on this and I just like to share.

  • June 04, 2022 3:21 PM | Nancy Moody (Administrator)

    By Karen Stopnicki WAS-H President

    Dear WAS-H Friends

    We are at the beginning of a certain-to-be hot Houston summer, so I am sure we will all be looking for cool indoor opportunities. Guess what? There are lots of cool things to do at WAS-H!

    We have our June Gallery Show Awards reception on Sunday, June 5th at 3pm. Stop by to enjoy an exhibit of “Food for Thought.” The Student and Teacher Show is planned for July, the prospectus is on the website. Our Gallery Directors, Cissy Geigerman and Katie Steck, are finalizing details for the August prospectus, the theme will be “Skies.” As well, they are busy making plans for the upcoming year, and will have any specific monthly themes posted on the website so that you can plan to paint for the shows you want to enter.

    Additional summer classes are now open for registration - members can register now, while nonmember registration begins on June 8th. Hurry to reserve your place in the class of your choice, as we expect the summer classes to be popular. The Senior Group, Open Studio and Model Lab continue through the summer. In fact, Model Lab is trying out a few evening spots to see if that is something we want to add in the future. For all these events, check the website at www.watercolorhouston.org for details.

    If you haven’t checked out our Member Sales Gallery, please do! I think it is a great place to buy original art from local artists. Right now, it is Houston’s best kept secret – let everyone you know about it, so it isn’t a secret anymore. If you would like to sell your work in the gallery, please contact our Artist Liaison, Laura Mossman at admin@watercolorhouston.org.

    Please renew your membership today, if you haven’t already done so. Membership dues are so important to funding WAS-H operations. You can go to the website https://watercolorhouston.org/Membership-Application to renew. If you would rather pay by phone or in person, contact Laura Mossman, our Artist Liaison. The office is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 3pm, and the number is 713-942-9966.

    I look forward to seeing you soon at WAS-H! hope you find time to paint and enjoy art activities this summer.

    Warm Regards,

    Karen Houston Stopnicki

  • May 25, 2022 9:25 PM | Nancy Moody (Administrator)

    By Karen Stopnicki, WAS-H president

    Dear WAS-H Friends,

    I am so excited to serve as the WAS-H President for the 2022 – 2023 year. As a longtime member, I originally joined WAS-H to take a weekend class. Back then, I was working at a busy marketing job, and longed to stretch my creative muscles. WAS-H has been a meaningful place for me to learn, paint and make art friends, and I hope it is the same for you.

    Have you renewed your membership yet? If not, please do so today. Membership dues are critical to fund WAS-H operations. You can go to the website https://watercolorhouston.org/Membership-Application to renew. If you would rather pay by phone or in person, contact Laura Mossman, our Artist Liaison. The office is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 3pm, and the number is 713-942-9966

    We have had a lot going on this Spring and look forward to a busy Summer. For all these events, check the website at www.watercolorhouston.org for details.

    • Class registration will open June 1st for members and the following week for non-members.  

    • Open Studio for members on Friday mornings has been going strong and will continue through the summer. 

    • The Model Lab is back in session on Wednesday afternoons and has added a few evening options as a trial.

    • Our free Art for Seniors group will continue through the end of July, break for August, and return in September.

    • The Monthly Paint-Ins have been well-attended and fun. The Paint-Ins pause for June & July, returning in August.

    • We have a great group of plein air painters taking turns organizing events, so be on the lookout for more outdoor opportunities throughout the year.

    A fun Gallery Exhibit is planned for June, the theme is “Food for Thought”, entry deadline is Thursday, June 2nd and the reception will be Sunday, June 5th. 

    WAS-H recently participated in the Menil Community Day. It was fun to be outdoors enjoying the music, poetry and inviting guest to come to our tables to paint. We are always looking for volunteers to keep our events running. If you want to help, contact Laura at admin@watercolorhouston.org. We have needs that run the gambit from helping with the monthly shows to managing a large project like our International Watermedia Exhibition.

    When you are at WAS-H, you will notice it looks so much fresher - a new fence, new landscaping replacing what was damaged from the freeze last year, and new energy efficient LED lighting in the upstairs classroom. Behind the scenes, the building was treated for termites and the sprinkler system updated. Thank you to Darlene Dittoe, our Building Director, who has tirelessly worked to make all this happen.

    A big thanks to board members not returning: Patty Armstrong, Paula Fowler, Sally Hoyt, Nancy McMillan, Adele Raber, and Diann Zimmerman. We all appreciate your dedication, hard work and positive energy you contributed to WAS-H.

    I wish you a “cool” beginning to the summer and hope you have some fun activities planned, including anything art related. Hope to see you soon at WAS-H!

    Warm Regards,

    Karen Houston Stopnicki

  • May 20, 2022 11:45 AM | Nancy Moody (Administrator)

    By Paula Fowler

    Iconic Houston Buildings of Houston are highlighted in this month’s show, and it has been such a pleasure to see which ones out of the vast number of possibilities that our entrants chose to paint.  Some had a very personal connection to their subject.  Others were attracted to itshistorical significance or its architecture.  The story behind each painting really adds to its overall appreciation of each one.   Another joy of this show is seeing how each artist chose to depict an architectural subject.  Different perspectives and styles demonstrate the range interpretations that come from your creative minds.  Please take time to read the Winner’s Words section of our blog to see entertaining stories behind our winners.

    We owe a huge thanks to our special judge for this show, Katherine Veneman, who grew up in the Washington D.C. area and holds a B.A., summa cum laude, from Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts, and M.F.A. in painting from American University in Washington, D.C.  She is currently a curator of education at Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston, where she oversees the museum’s nationally recognized education program, which includes a wide range of public and educational programs as well as guided tours for adults, university students, and youth. Previously, Katherine, who is a practicing painter, maintained a studio in Providence, Rhode Island, and was the Director of Hera Educational Foundation Gallery, a non-profit artist space in Wakefield, Rhode Island. She has exhibited her work on the East Coast and in Houston.  And as an added bonus, her mother, Joyce Veneman, who moved to Houston a few years ago, is a participating member of WAS-H!   

    Katherine gave us a very thorough and educated evaluation of her choices as winners.  The following comments are in her words:

    First Place - Harris County Courthouse by Irene Sheytman.

    “The drawing shows a shift in perspective to reveal the building from an aerial view, with the strong drawing emphasized by the dramatic, simplified color scheme of purples and warm browns.  Seemingly defying gravity, the building seems to push towards the skyline, its upward motion anchored by the cupule rather than the sketched foundation. “

    Second Place - The Heights Iconic Houses by Larry Spitzberg

    “Expressive brushworks both reveal and conceal the everyday scene of historic Heights houses, implying a lively blur between the rapidly growing vegetation and the dynamic forms of the buildings. Splashes of color and texture capture a glimpse of the and the shifting landscape. If the viewer blinks, will the scene change? “

    Third Place - Tallest Building West of Mississippi, 1963 (Humble Building) by Diane Zimmerman

    “A multi-colored skyscraper meets soft clouds in a vibrant blue sky. The shifting, colors appear to weave through the delicate, detailed architectural structure, forming a pattern that seems independent of its delicately rendered architecturalform. In contrast, the top of an ordinary light fixture appears at the bottom of the page, grounding the viewer’s relationship to the building. “

    Honorable Mentions:

        Clark’s and Deans by Charles Brewer

    “Drawn from the perspective of a passerby, a primary-colored façade of personable buildings and sky invite the viewer in. A bike, propped up with a kickstand, sits poised towards the scene, waiting for its rider. “

       City Hall by Mansueto Fabugais 

    “In the composition, City Hall is in the background, with the viewer's eye entering the painting’s foreground, a street corner. Objects on the street—a construction cone, a crosswalk—form abstract patterns that move the eye back. A tree sits in front of the building in the middle ground, partially obscuring the building itself and giving the sense of an ordinary day. “

       Greenway Place Sunset by Nan Wright

    “Subtle textures and a pattern of shimmering values and colors give this landscape a sense of both permanence and transience. On the cusp of the gloaming, the painting captures a mirage-like reflection of the skyline etched on its façade, while the building itself is firmly nestled in its surroundings. “ 

    This show would not have been possible without the help of our great volunteer!  Special thanks to Patty Armstrong, Leisa Patin, Marcia Wasson, Cissy Geigerman, and Mansueto Fabugais. 

    It’s with mixed feelings that I submit this report, because at the end of May, my Co-Director, Nancy McMillian, and I will complete three years of service and will turn our duties over to new directors.  It’s been a really great experience.  Our love of WAS-H and our appreciation of the talents and skills of its membership had grown exponentially.  We thank all of you that have helped us out…the volunteers, past gallery directors who had gave us so much advice, and the members who had ideas and improvements to share.  We’ll miss it all!

    Our new Gallery Co-Directors are Cissy Geigerman and Katie Steck.  We look forward to the energy and new ideas that they will bring to the job!

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