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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:
Even if you recognize the name in the sender line, pause for just a second and double check the following:
Step 1. If you got a phishing email, forward it to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at email@example.com. 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.
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.
Les McDonald was among the winners of Splash 22 art competition. His painting "Our Own Corn" was included in The Best of Watercolor - a special issue of Artists Magazine and American Artist. For Les it was the second feature. Congratulations, Les!
by Paula Fowler, Gallery Co-Director
I think that most of you have had that art teacher. The one that saw something in you that maybe you didn’t see in yourself. Perhaps that person nudged you in a direction that influenced your career choice, or maybe the nudge was just toward a lifetime love of producing art. Mine came in the third grade at Flato Elementrary in Kingsville, Texas. I was oblivious of trying to do something special in art. I just knew I loved to be putting marks on paper. I really don’t know what she saw in me, but she contacted my mother and offered to teach me to paint and draw without charge. Mrs. Wallace was her name and that encouragement led me to a degree in art education. I only taught for a few years, but the interest and love of art that she instilled in me has remained and brought me so much joy…and brought me to WAS-H when retirement allowed me time to indulge my passion.
When WAS-H was formed in 1975, the purpose of the organization, as stated in the bylaws, is “to further the cause and interest in watercolor art through teaching, programs, demonstrations, outreach and exhibitions”. Because of that, we are now some 46 years later able to work with a wide array of teachers that possess amazing talents and are creative and energetic as they nudge us on, just as my teacher did in the 3rd grade. They instruct, inspire and encourage us and make us see things about ourselves that we didn’t see before. They are such a huge part of what makes WAS-H such a first-class organization. We thank them and we honor them. We proudly display the works of 18 of those teachers in this month’s show. I hope you sign up for a class soon!
Our show this month also showcases works done in class or with other supervision. It’s such a great opportunity for students at all levels. For many, the Student Show is the first show they enter, an act that actually takes courage if you haven’t put your work up for public scrutiny before. It’s a steppingstone to entering other shows. The paintings entered were really wonderful and presented a challenge to our judge to pick just a few
One of our teachers, Ksenia Annis, graciously accepted our offer to judge our July show. Ksenia was born in Soviet Russia and educated to be an architect, a career that she pursued for 20 years in Russia and the U.S. However, in 2009, her primary passion to be a profession artist won her over and the classical drawing and painting training she had while studying to be an architect laid the groundwork for this to move forward. She dedicated the next few years of systematic studies in classes, workshops, and regular studio work. Then in 2014, she founded her company, Tummy Rubb Studio. She has created paintings, illustrations, and public art projects. Her primary focus now is teaching art classes in water media (watercolor, gouache and acrylic) and helping her students to achieve their own artistic goals. In addition to teaching at WAS-H, Ksenia is a very valuable volunteer. We appreciate the time that she took to carefully study the student entries. I will now let her tell you in her words what influenced her when she chose the winners:
1st place – Light and Shadows – Best time of day by Leisa Patin
“The artist very successfully created the illusion of sunlight and depth of space in the painting. Great composition with the room framing the window where we see just a hint of clouds. Darker passages of the interior guide our eye around the painting. I love the use of saturated colors while preserving transparency of paint. Full scale of tonal values, unity of the palette, dominance of warm colors with cool green and teal accents – all these subtle but important nuances make this a successful painting filled with warmth and charm.”
2nd place – Reflections by Kristel Peale
“I was really drawn to the complexity of meaning and beauty of execution in the painting. It doesn’t reveal itself at once to the viewer, but requires looking and thinking. Various textures, balanced tonal relationships, the juxtaposition of warm ochre and varied blues all contribute to the great result.
Additional kudos to the artist for incorporating the figure very successfully. It works as the focal point of the painting without distracting the eye with too many details.”
3rd place – Grandmother by Patty Mcgrath Jones
“Masterful handling of watercolor while painting such difficult subject as human face. I see a perfect combination of hard and soft edges, interesting use of texture, especially in the hair and in the background. Excellent drawing of the face and the resulting warm expression with a subtle smile (no small feat to achieve) all drew me to this painting.”
Honorable mention - The Universe: Objects May be Sharper Than They Appear by Marion Friedman “
“At the first glance his painting kept drawing my attention with its bold composition and color. It kept my eyes studying it as I discovered all the subtle details that the artist added. It achieves a balanced composition, has a variety of shapes and textures, movement, focal point, bright but harmonious color palette – all using the language of abstract painting.”
Honorable mention – Bird in Bamboo by Louise Bateman
“In this painting the artist demonstrates an assured, decisive handling of demanding materials and a substrate that does not allow any hesitation or corrections. Fluency of brush strokes, fine details, a reserved color palette are just a few of the great qualities this painting displays.”
Honorable mention - Resting Time by Kyunghee Johnson
“Hyper realistic style of this painting clearly demonstrates a high level of control of watercolor, especially in delicate color variations in the white fur. Despite all the fine details, the paint remains transparent, the overall form is well-described and the painting has depth of space.”
Our monthly shows would not be possible without the work of the following valuable volunteers:
Nancy McMillan - Gallery Co-Director
Karen Stopniki - Website Director
Cissy Giegerman - Website Administrator
Sally Hoyt - Website Administrator
Laura Mossman - Executive Assistant
Our August show has a theme of SCAPES (LAND, SEA, & CITY). The prospectus is currently available on the web page.
First Place – Light and Shadows – Best time of day by Leisa Patin
Light and Shadows – the Right Time of Day was begun in Carla Gauthier’s Light and Shadow virtual class in September of 2020, and completed the day after (I’m a slow painter!). Carla posted a picture to use that she took at just the “right time of day” in her living room; a perfect contrast of bright light through the curtained window coming directly at the viewer, and the darker areas to the side. I used both my computer screen image (for the light and hues) and one I printed for the shapes. We also had an image in black and white to determine the contrasts.
I’ve made and used value charts before, but never thought of punching holes to compare the value of what I mixed with the value I was trying to achieve. Usually, I began paintings with a neutral underpainting, often Payne’s Grey. But Carla suggested yellow for the mid and darker level areas in this picture. I believe the only masking I did was to depict the blinds and floorboards, using the “card method” that Carla suggested, although I used the edge of a metal erasing shield from my drafting days. Most importantly, I mixed glazes for the rich brown shadowed areas and allowed the pigments to separate into reds and blues to contrast with the yellow from the bright light. I love all the techniques using tools and paints that Carla offers in her classes – so helpful!
Second Place – Reflections by Kristel Peale
The exercise given in Ellen Orseck's class was to have the background define the subject. I shot the photo as reflected in my glass balcony doors. It defines me as an urban art collector. You are seeing some of my interior (with bits of my collection) as well as city lights with a bit of downtown skyline in far back left.
Third Place – Grandmother by Patty Mcgrath Jones
During my classes the artists/instructors had a great impact as far as their expertise in handling portraits. The expert knowledge that they shared with me and the classes really were superb. Texturing backgrounds and methods that they used were amazing. The hair on my portrait of “grandmother” was wispy. Cheryl Evans proposed the use of water and placing around the hair at a 1/2 inch away from the head to make it look very soft. This was accomplished on Zoom because of Covid. Ksenia Annis helped us by executing fast portraits and pointed to several values and quick strokes to capture the action and feeling of the people. This was also a Zoom class due to Covid 19.
Honorable Mention – Bird in Bamboo by Louise Bateman
I was inspired by my love of Chinese art and culture. Chinese brush paintings are very calming and zen-like. This technique has taught me to slow down and be mindful as I put my brush and paints to the rice paper. I want to thank my teacher and mentor, Peihong Endris, who has infinite patience when working with me.
Honorable Mention – Resting Time by Kyunghee Johnson
I like to paint flowers and animals. When I saw that tiger laying in his den, he looked so peaceful. I looked into his eyes, and we could almost talk about how his day had been. l loved that he gave me calmness and peace. I had to paint him!
Honorable Mention – The Universe: Objects May be Sharper Than They Appear by Marion Friedman
This painting and my other submissions for this year's student show were all completed as assignments for Ellen Orseck's excellent class, Abstraction: Organic and Geometric. It was amazing how this one class encouraged my creativity and willingness to have fun with my art. I expect it to have a lasting impact on the direction my art goes from here. In this particular painting while focusing on basic geometric shapes, an unexpected narrative emerged, and I went with it. This painting also represents my greatest success in applying salt and alcohol to achieve different textures.
We were sorry to learn of the passing of Kirby Attwell, long time supporter of WAS-H, an accomplished artist and an award-winning watercolorist. Our condolences go out to Kirby's family and friends.
by Beverly Alderholt, board member and exhibit coordinator
Longtime WAS-H artist, Erik Sprohge believes that a painting is more that a visual representation of a subject. He wants to show emotion with color and present works demanding us to think and wonder.
The retrospective of his work of 50 years now filling the WAS-H gallery is hung to showcase the themes he has explored during his long art-filled life. One wall presents Texana: landscapes, small towns and missions, and seascapes and beaches of our southern coast. Following that is a wild and whimsical group of human figures he likes to call “people in action, and paintings representing “magical Mexico.” As the viewer walks around our gallery she will notice that paintings become more and more abstract.. different in presentation but containing the same vivid colors and glimpses of human faces. This intentional order is loosely representative of the arc of Erik’s artistic journey.
This is the first and only time you will have the opportunity to see Erik’s splendid collection in person so don’t miss it. He will give his Artist’s Talk to speak on his art and history on July 30 from 5:00 to 7:00 and the show comes down on August 6.
Read more about Erik Sprohge here.
When you view the 58 entries in our June Show with the theme of Abstract, be prepared for a treat. Cross that threshold with an open and inquiring mind; enter the paintings and see where they take you. It’s an intensely personal process and it enriches your thoughts as you assign your own meanings to the pieces. I think you’ll be drawn back to the images over and over again.
Our judge this month, Dana Frankfort, shared her thoughts about the winners during our Zoom Announcement of Awards. Seeing the paintings through her eyes was both enlightening and entertaining. Dana is a native Houstonian, and after spending time on the East Coast, returned to Houston to take a position as professor of painting at University of Houston. She earned a BA from Brandeis University and her MFA from Yale School of Art. She also attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. Dana was a Core Fellow at the Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006. Her work often engages with the history of abstract art and features bright colors, gestural brushwork, and text. She has won numerous awards and exhibited extensively, domestically and internationally. Her curriculum vitae is testament to her talent and energy. She currently has 2 paintings hanging at the Inman Gallery on Main Street, where we can also look forward to seeing a solo exhibit of her work in March of 2022.
Below, I have included her words about each of the winners.
See the winners and all the participating paintings here.
WAS-H JUNE 2021 SHOW AWARDS
First Place: Donna Rybiski - Life’s a Balance
“The small scale and humble palette of this painting belie the monumentality of the content. The imagery is on one hand very minimal — a handmade cup balancing on a stand — while still very rich in terms of reference and metaphor — life itself feels in the balance! The cast light and shadows create a mood of high drama and remind me a bit of Giorgio de Chirico. Overall, I love this piece for the abstract imagery and ideas brought to mind by such humble compositional elements.”
Second Place: Sharyn Richey - Desert Blooms
“The inventive range of marks, colors and textures combine in this painting to create a unique yet convincing composition. The saturated palette communicates the bright unfiltered sun, and the energy of the brush marks feel as alive as desert flora. Just like the fertile blooms of the actual desert landscape, this painting itself is a bursting fertile ground of inventiveness. “
Third Place: Nan Wright - Wild Ride
“As a viewer I am instantly swept up into the intense motion and energy of this painting. I love being pulled into the action, and the composition practically pushes off the picture plane into my space! Everything is painted with total conviction, including the palette, which convincingly suggests the back lit warmth of the late afternoon sun. It’s interesting to me that the motion is so fast that almost everything is blurred, and yet I still know exactly what Wild Ride is being referenced!”
Honorable Mention: Larry Spitzberg – HARVEY
“In this version of HARVEY, water is highly controlled to exploit the capabilities of paint — it pools, it drips, it sprays. The vertical forms in the foreground look like trees in a storm, or figures fleeing a flood. The specificity of the warm, golden light combines with bleeds of color to create a highly convincing, emotionally charged landscape.”
Honorable Mention: Reva Power – Complicated
“I love the energy and palimpsest of pattern, color and light and how it all combines in this painting to create interesting positive and negative spaces that flip back and forth with each other, creating a dynamic and ‘complicated' psychological portrait. As I move right across the composition the figure turns into the green landscape, suggesting not just a specific person but a specific place.”
Honorable Mention: Maria Rodriguez-Alejo - Win(e) Me Over
“Wine glasses might be the starting point for this painting, but this final image suggests a convincing composition of interlocking positive and negative shapes bathing in a warm golden light, resulting in an organic landscape reminiscent of Arthur Dove. “
Honorable Mention: Andie Helen - 4th of July Meadow
“This painting uses the language of the landscape to create glyph-like marks that function almost like vocabulary words: ocean waves, horizon lines and the summer sun. The repetition, while stopping short of a pattern, combines into a fresh approach to representing the landscape. “
Honorable Mention: Helen Stanley - Dream a Little Dream of Me
“This highly ambitious painting successfully combines multiple disparate objects into a single narrative, not an easy feat! I love getting lost in the many layers contained within this picture.”
Honorable Mention: Annika Farmer - Summer Storm
“Like shattered glass, this painting explodes into a rainbow prism of pure color, with paint overlapping at fracture point and bleeding into beautiful blues, purple and browns. “
The July virtual show is the Student Show. If your have paintings that you did in a class or got input from an instructor, you may enter them in this show. We look forward to seeing what you have learned. You may enter your images starting on July 3.
Second Place - Desert Blooms by Sharyn Richey
Dana mentioned that I seemed to have known exactly when to stop. I wish I knew that every time! I did it rather quickly and so felt that, surely, I had not worked on it enough. And yet it felt right. So I had to keep hiding it away from myself to keep from adding "just another touch." And each time I took it out again I felt again that it was complete as is and finally called it done.
For me it is filled with spiritual meaning. The "desert" is a kind of archetypal setting for any blank canvas or paper I face and painting is the way to "make the desert bloom." I do not feel that I am creating something but unveiling something. It is life itself that springs forth. One of my favorite lines from Scripture is Isaiah 35:1 "The desert will rejoice and flowers bloom in the wilderness. The desert will sing and shout for joy."
Honorable Mention: Dream a Little Dream of Me by Helen Stanley
This abstract-like or surreal painting almost describes my "stream of conscious" during the pandemic: no rhyme or reason, few consistent thoughts. I applied gesso, to an old painting, using a palette knife to make sure lots of the under-color showed through. The shapes that emerged guided my thought process and with charcoal I drew objects that appealed to me at the time. I painted the "abstract landscape" with watercolor and gouache and applied my own hand-painted papers to add more texture and interest.
Honorable Mention: HARVEY by Larry Spitzberg
HARVEY is really two paintings. I first made an abstract cityscape which seemed muted and boring so i put it away. A few weeks later I pulled it out and wrote HARVEY with the dark foreboding clouds and the drip of the watercolor paint as the heavy rain. That seemed to give the painting pizzazz and a heart and soul that I wanted.
Honorable Mention: 4th of July Meadow by Andie Helen
4th of July Meadow was a new way of painting for me. In a class given by Susan Giannantonio, she had introduced the term “mark making.” This was a new way of thinking about how to deal with the surface of a painting.
Susan always stresses being adventurous in our work and trying new things. Fascinated with the new term “mark making,” the effort to create an old, fond memory began. I played John Philip Sousa’s music and tried to experiment with abstract placement of marks to recreate my memory of a warm and sunny meadow where a 4th of July picnic took place long ago.
May everyone have a wonderful 4th of July this year!!
Honorable Mention: Complicated by Reva Power
What a privilege to have my painting, “Complicated” selected for honorable mention. When creating my watercolor art, I often begin with a medium to light under painting in a particular color pallet. I frequently use “lacy paper” in compositions, essentially stenciling it on a piece of watercolor paper. That sheet then begins a journey to becoming a possible candidate as an underpainting for a given image. Like many I was taught to make a simple line drawing of my motif prior to drawing it on the watercolor paper. It helps you to see possible weaknesses. Looking at my line drawing of the guitar players face, I thought back to the time in Curacao where I talked with this street musician, and he let me snap his picture. I felt that underpainting created by the stenciled effect of painting of the lacy paper would support the vibrancy needed to hear the music. It was a fun painting to create.
Duncan Simmons’ Passing
We regret to inform our WAS-H members that long time WAS-H elite signature member W Duncan Simmons passed away May 8, 2021 at the age of 85. Duncan was a talented artist and won many awards. Duncan taught classes at WAS-H as well as collaborated on multiple innovative paintings with fellow WAS-H member Keiko Yasuoka.
The family asks that remembrances in Duncan’s memory be sent to the Watercolor Art Society - Houston.
We are happy to share that Jan Shrader just received signature member status with Texas Watercolor Society. Congratulations, Jan!
More info about this organization - https://texaswatercolorsociety.org/
Got any good news to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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