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We are surrounded by images that would make beautiful paintings:
However, in ALL of these cases, “All rights are reserved.” The publisher or artist or photographer does NOT grant permission for someone to use their image to create a painting and enter it in a show. One can look at these images to see, for example, exactly how a porcupine’s spines spread out, or a close up of dragonfly wings veining, but you can’t copy the photograph.
We all have access to many books and DVDs and love practicing our painting skills and seeing if we can achieve the same look as the artist. Painters have copied the masters for centuries, and they will continue to do that to continue to improve as painters. But those paintings are for personal growth, not for shows.
At WAS-H, we bend those guidelines very slightly to allow students to enter our annual Student Exhibit, with paintings done from instructor images and/or compositions. The instructor uses their personal photographs and gives permission for the students to use them. This is the only exception to the Reference Image criteria. Instructors on videos do not grant this permission.
by Beth Graham, WAS-H President
Our June Exhibit, the first held online, was a great success thanks to all the artists who entered 147 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. We have already sold 4 paintings from the show and hope to continue this trend as buyers discover us online. 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 later picks it up by appointment. All sales occur online. If you haven’t yet viewed the exhibit, I encourage you to browse through the beautiful work.
The July Student Exhibit will also be held solely online. Be sure to carefully read the prospectus to see who is eligible to enter this show. WAS-H is the only watercolor society that holds a student show to encourage new painters to share their work and experience the gallery exhibit experience. All WAS-H teachers are asked to submit one painting (no fee). It can be one that is currently for sale, or one no longer available for sale. Show us your favorites!
Our early summer workshop offerings organized by Nicole Hansen, education director, are by instructors who have the technology to teach online from their home studio: Ksenia Annis, Ed Pettit, Susan Giannantonio, and Ellen Orseck. Coming soon from their home studios are classes with Peihong Endris and Laura Spector.
Mid-July we will have our newest hardware installed that will enable us to bring the rest of our teachers (and new ones, too) to the building to offer online classes. Carla Gauthier will be our first artist to try out the new setup and she is planning several classes. Once that is working, we expand our offerings. You will be able to register for these as usual, and view at home through Zoom and our Youtube channel.
Our October AME workshop artist, Don Andrews, is a fellow Texan from Bastrop and is willing to wait to see what the end of September brings before we make any decisions about his week-long workshop with us: hold it upstairs, offer it online, a combination of the two, postpone, or cancel.
As the number of Covid cases began to decline at the end of May, I wondered if we had been wasting our time exerting so much effort toward our online presence, but the sudden and rapid escalation of cases have reminded me that we may need this approach into the fall & possibly winter.
These numbers break my heart as I worry about our friends and family and fellow Americans that are facing increased chances of illness and unemployment. But for selfish reasons, I am really missing the time spent with fellow painters in classes, monthly meetings, demos, model lab, open studio, art for seniors, hanging artwork and enjoying receptions. I have made so many wonderful friends in our artist community and truly miss the time spent with others who love art! One silver lining is that our online offerings allow members who are far away or who cannot travel to our building to join us in many ways previously unavailable. We will keep this as a part of our way to doing business. I am thankful for that. 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!
by Paula Fowler, Gallery Co-Director
Our gallery may be closed, but behind the scenes, our volunteers have been working nonstop to keep WAS-H the same warm and exciting place we all know and love. The serendipitous outcome of our challenging time is the opening of our very first online show, "Views Through the Windows of Our Isolation". Special thanks during this development process must go to our President, Beth Graham, our Technology Director, Karen Stopniki, the WAS-H Administrative Assistant, Martin Butler and faithful volunteers, Sally Hoyt, Cissy Geigermann and Nancy McMillan. We hope that you enjoy the ease with which you can now share your work with your family, friends and potential buyers. This is a big step, and we were so excited to see the images of the wonderful paintings as they came in, all 147 of them. Everyone was so patient when we had to tweak the entry process. We'll continue to work to make this easier each time.
Our judge, Cookie Wells has a BS in Commercial Art from Lamar University and spent 30 years in the commercial graphic world before turning to watercolor. She’s a member of the Watercolor USA Honor Society and of Women in Visual and Literary Arts. Her work can be seen at Archway Gallery. Cookie accepted the challenge of doing her first online judging and was amazed at the quality of the work. She said that she looked at the images mostly through the eyes of this isolation and all that brings into our experience. She then stepped away and visualized what stood out in her mind. From that process, she chose the following:
For the First Place, she chose Helen Beacham's "Attitude". She shared that it was an "exceptional painting...so strong. The modern, loose, wet background against the technically superbly painted child. The attitude of the child says it all..."
Second Place went to Chaitanya Alli for "Relaxing afternoon". Cookie said it was a great representation of our isolation and that "the colors are remarkable." She loved " the dark/light contrasts. A really beautiful painting".
Honored with Third Place was Linda McDonald's "My Front Door in Lockdown". Cookie loved "the simple but strong statement this painting makes. Wonderful wet background, nicely painted packages. Great contrast." She felt it was a statement of our world today.
Honorable Mentions were awarded to:
Terri Colangelo - "Rush Hour - March 2020"
Diane Cox - "Waiting to Go Out Again"
Cheryl Evans - "Shelter in Place - Painting in the Time of Pandemic Series"
Barbara Hall - "Self Portrait"
Laurie Hammons - "Looking Out My Bedroom Window"
Hiep Nguyen - "Spring is Still Out There"
Zahid Shaikh - "Lockdown Blues"
See all the entries here.
Helen Beacham, who won the First Place with her painting "Attitude", wrote:Every painting offers its own set of challenges. I only just recently (3 years ago?) started painting figures and I admit it's still stressful for me.
My challenge with this figure was to a) to make sure she still looked like a little girl and not a short grownup, and b) to avoid making her right leg look cut off, but rather like it's bent back against the wall.
I tend to work in lots of layers. I start out pale all over and see if I like the color layout before committing to darker colors. I hone in on the focal point by making sure all my other areas are only supporting characters. The three intuitive but highly accidental 3 black strokes near her face help my eye to go to her face (I say "accidental" because they were much lighter marks as seen elsewhere in the graffiti, at which point I had to decide whether to leave them alone, wash them out or make them darker. I chose to make them even darker and use them as a tool. A bit risky...). I also placed a shadow dark next to her right cheek, again to draw attention to her pouty face. The graffiti itself was a challenge and I chose to paint it by using mostly wet into wet strokes.
Helen's art can be found on www.HelenKBeacham.com and www.HelenKBeacham.blogspot.com
Linda McDonald, winner of the Third Place with her painting "My Front Door in Lockdown", sent us the following:
After considering June’s theme of isolation, I wanted to capture elements of that period that we all experienced. While I was out cycling around my neighborhood, I noticed a number of familiar boxes left on the doorsteps which gave me inspiration for this painting.
I decided on the general details and set about finding the right doorway to paint. While the boxes looked abandoned, I wanted to contrast them with the right front door, walkway and light with the resulting shadows. I went back to the same location to study the evening light for the shadows while watching how the sun fell. I changed the door to have an arch, as it worked better and provided contrast to the shapes of the boxes. I also felt the shadows had to originate on the opposite side of the door and the Amazon boxes, as they were the focal point of the painting. Working with complimentary colors providing warm and cool areas.
I felt that everyone could relate to the key components of the painting, but importantly, it really was fun to work on during this extraordinary period of our lives.
Barbara Hall, who received an honorable mention for her "Self-Portrait", wrote:
Since we’ve been on lockdown, my studio mates and I have been taking turns assigning ourselves subjects for paintings. We text photos of our work and have a weekly critique via Zoom. The painting for which I received Honorable Mention was the result of a self-portrait assignment. I chose to use mostly black and white with a splash of color to reflect my mood at the time - a bit down in the dumps, but optimistic we’ll get through these trying times. I also wanted to convey the importance of artists in a crisis. They document what’s happening, inspire others, and express complicated emotions.
Zahid Shaikh, who was awarded an honorable mention for "Lockdown Blues", wrote:I wanted to convey an expression of loneliness and desperation during the current pandemic, especially among the empty-nester seniors in society. I used the predominant blue color to enhance the feeling of isolation.
Dear WAS-H Members & Friends,
I hope this letter finds you and your friends & family safe and healthy. This wish is so much more meaningful this year, isn’t it? I am pleased and honored to serve as WAS-H’s President for the 2020-2021 year. I am also very grateful for the Past Presidents, Kathleen Church, Laura McMahon, & Louise Bateman, and to all previous WAS-H leaders with whom I have served with over the last 4 years. I am so thankful for our Board of Directors, for their leadership and their faithful volunteer service to our mission of promoting watercolor art. I am indebted to them for the support they so graciously provide.
We might call this “The Year of the Corona Virus.” The challenges it has brought to us this year could cause us to stumble and fall or to adapt and thrive. The question is, “Are we nimble enough to quickly respond to the new circumstances and end up with new opportunities?”
My answer is “YES!” Instead of pulling the wagons around and hunkering down to wait for a return to normalcy, we have set about recreating our new normal. We spent the six weeks from March 15-April 30 learning with other cultural arts and non-profit organizations how to:
• create safe spaces for our members
• grow membership
• continue our wonderful painting classes and workshops while in isolation
• continue our monthly gallery exhibits
• use online technology such as ZOOM, our own YouTube channel, and OBS broadcasting to provide events & instruction delivered direct into your home
It has been exhausting work, but also invigorating. While researching ways to create our new normal, we held these events:
• general meeting, with voting, and online art demo
• “20 in 20” painting challenge over Facebook & Instagram (Karen Armstrong, social media)
• 10 pilot online art classes shared via ZOOM, with participants from at least 7 states (Education Director, Nicole Hansen)
We have been immersed in mastering new technology and hardware that will soon allow WAS-H to broadcast each of our teachers from the WAS-H classroom out to homes across the country. When we can return to holding on-site, in person classes, we might also broadcast the classes to others in their homes. The possibilities are still a bit like Star Trek, “going where no one has gone before.”
Due to quarantining, we had to cancel our April and May gallery exhibits, but we used that time to figure out how to do take-in, judging, and awards all digitally, protecting the health of members and staff, while showcasing the beautiful work of our member artists over the internet. Today “take-in” registration opens online for our June show. Directions are on our home page and we are keeping our fingers crossed that there won’t be too many glitches. The Gallery team, under the direction of Paula Fowler, has tested all the procedures and are piloting a Help Desk to guide members through this new approach. As we explore all these new ways to be, we ask you to be patient & understanding with those leading meetings & classes, as we are all learning.
The Board of Directors was unanimous is deciding to keep our two employees and our three contract workers on the payroll during this season of isolation. Our administrative assistant, Martin Butler, has been checking in at the building weekly, answering voice messages and emails, and will continue to work at home thanks to technology, until such time as it is safe for us to return to our wonderful facility. Be sure to check that we have your current email, address, and phone number in our directory, as this is our main means of communication. Martin can help you with any of these.
We continue to see members renewing their membership, making it possible for us to continue our work during this challenging time. Thank you!
Around the world and across faiths spring is always considered a time of renewal, rebirth, growth and abundance. The WAS-H community has many blessings and I count the unwavering support of our members, our volunteers, and directors to sustain us through these times of unprecedented challenge and the difficult days that may still lie ahead. Please know that we are working hard behind the scenes to offer new opportunities and we are counting the days until we can safely welcome you back. Join us for our online meetings, online demos, online classes and exhibits, until that time.
By Paula Fowler and Nancy McMillan, Gallery Co-Directors
As we excitedly launch our first online show for WAS-H this June, we’re also looking ahead to July and August shows. We’re uncertain at this time when the gallery will be open again. The board is carefully monitoring health and safety recommendations of the city and will keep you posted on when we can gather in person again. With that in mind, we are planning that the July show will be online. A prospectus for each of these summer shows will be posted soon. So that you can begin planning, here are the themes:
JULY SHOW THEME: Student Show/Teacher Appreciation
AUGUST SHOW THEME: From My Studio
We look forward to seeing your entries. Remember, for the student show, your work can have been done during a class.
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!
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
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!
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
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