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  • March 27, 2020 11:55 AM | Ksenia Annis

    Dear Friends,

    Six weeks ago, when the WAS-H volunteer community was excitedly engaged in preparation for the IWE, we could not have imagined the current crisis we are living through. It reminds me of the important role art plays in society during times of crisis. Creativity is born deep in the human psyche, generated by every kind of human experience imaginable - including crisis and stress! Taking time to restore and renew ourselves is important. Today we are launching an on-line gallery of the 43rd IWE show. Take time out of your day to view these 90 beautiful pieces of art. They will lift your spirit! Eric Wiegardt, our juror, focused on artists whose work demonstrated creativity, originality and heart, as well as skill and proficiency in watercolor.

    Please check our website regularly for updates about WAS-H events. And please — take care and stay safe! This is a great time to pull out your paints, take an on-line class, watch those watercolor videos on your shelf. We are going to reinitiate our 30 Watercolors in 30 Days Corona 2020 Paint-Off for you to post your work! It will help us all to keep our spirits up.

    Take care and stay safe,

    Kathleen Church
    President, WAS-H

  • March 27, 2020 11:54 AM | Ksenia Annis

    Hard Work, Difficult Times

    by Tom Kraycirik, IWE Director

    The 43rd IWE will go down in the books as a testimonial to optimism and hard work prevailing over very difficult external developments.

    One could hardly tell the difference between the awards ceremony and reception this year versus those of the past. The art is beautiful. Attendance was robust. Also, a number of paintings have been acquired by enthusiastic patrons.

    WAS-H volunteers dutifully fulfilled their assigned tasks in the spirit of gala that has always been shown. The work of all the WAS-H volunteers and IWE sponsors cannot be appreciated enough for spectacular tasks that have been accomplished by the hundreds.

    Little could anyone have grasped the effects and speed of international health events as they unfolded during the next few days just after the Sunday opening. Yet, WAS-H members quickly amended set plans to conform with national and city health guidelines. The gallery is now closed, two receptions were cancelled and a number of regular workshops put on hold. The health and safety of artists and patrons became first priority.

    The work now is not over, though, as Haley Bowen and others contribute to put together and launch the on-line catalogue which is keenly coveted by virtually everyone involved and all the artists who submitted works.

    Presenting an IWE reminds you of a roller coaster with a long, steady climb to the top of the track. A pause at the tipping point, then a mad flash of twists and turns, ups and downs till you arrive back at where we are now.

    The 10-month process of organizing and presenting the International Watermedia Exhibition continues and will do so during the coming year for the next event. WAS-H volunteers will carefully crate and ship paintings back to their artists.

    The WAS-H board members will review 43rd IWE results concerning presentation, attendance and financial returns toward possible improvements. They will also decide and contract the juror for the 44th IWE.

    In August the Prospectus Committee will meet to confirm any possible changes in line with prevailing trends and material innovations. By the first few weeks of September, the on-line entry system Café will have been contracted. The 44th IWE information and prospectus will have been loaded into the system. Then the submission process officially opens.

    During the fall, IWE committees will be soliciting sponsors, advertising the event for artists worldwide to submit their work, and planning social media campaigns to promote attendance. The juror committee will make arrangements for settling in the juror and send out calls for those wanting to attend the juror’s workshop.

    As the last week to enter approaches, the rush of submissions pouring in is astounding, sometimes 50 or more per day. The juror selects paintings, artists are invited to be send their work to WAS-H. Crates with paintings stashed inside will be stored until the day before the judging. As they are uncrated another WAS-H group will review the works for compliance to prospectus regulations. The next day, the juror makes selections for awards and then another committee artfully hang the exhibition.

    The reception and awards committee works to plan the awards ceremony and present refreshments to opening day visitors.

    To all the artists, WAS-H board members led by Kathleen Church, volunteers, sponsors, juror and patrons, we all wish our most hearty congratulations.

  • March 27, 2020 11:42 AM | Ksenia Annis

    Art on the Go in Mexico

    by Jan McNeill

    Sometimes we just want uninterrupted time to paint! I recently found a place to do just that and it was also combined with some wonderful plein air experiences and a great workshop instructor.

    The workshop was at Casa de los Artistas, a 3 story artist retreat tucked away in the small fishing village of Boca de Tomatlan just south of Puerto Vallarta Mexico. The 3rd floor was a covered open air studio. What’s not to like with a soft breeze to keep me cool and a beautiful view of the village cross the small river?! The fishing boats and flock of pelicans were an enjoyable distraction when I looked up from my painting efforts! The workshop instructor Frank Eber of Paso Robles CA (frankeber.com) gave daily demos both in the studio and on location. I greatly admired his style of conveying atmosphere and mystery.

    I tried to “stay in the moment” on the various plein air excursions. A secluded Pacific Ocean beach, beautiful botanical gardens complete with twittering birds and a delightful breeze on the covered patio, icy cold lemonade in the courtyard of an open air restaurant. The sights and sounds along with some simple sketches and tons of photos provided wonderful memories and images for my painting inspiration back in Houston.

    As our WASH “Art on the Go” mentor Shirl Riccetti is fond to say, “Carpe Diem”!!

    Below are some photos from my experience.

    Beach side dinner view:

    View from my painting table for the week:

    Open Air demo by workshop instructor Frank Eber:

    Plein air beach excursion:

    Fishing boats of Boca de Tomatlan:

    One of the ubiquitous Tomatlan roosters:

    To write for Art on the Go column, please contact Shirl Riccetti at sriccetti@comcast.net

  • March 27, 2020 11:40 AM | Ksenia Annis

       The husband of Carol Watson, one of our Signature artists, Bob Watson, was honored on March 5 when the Astros Foundation expanded their Urban Youth Academy with the dedication of the Bob Watson Education Center. The center includes classrooms, computer labs, and locker rooms to serve young athletes in the Houston area. In the last seven years, more than 160 baseball and softball players have received college scholarships, and six were selected in the MLB draft. Bob was MLB ’s second African American general manager when he took over the Astros in 1993. He later had the same job with the Yankees. He will be inducted into the Astros Hall of Fame this summer. During the speeches at the ceremony his kindness and willingness to help other players was a constant theme. We are very proud of Bob and Carol at WAS-H.

  • March 08, 2020 9:10 AM | Ksenia Annis

    Election of WAS-H 2020-2021 Officers will take place at the April general meeting (April 5, 2020). Please see candidates' bios in the next post.

    IMPORTANT: Members - If you are unable to attend, please vote for the Board nominated officers using the proxy form available HERE.

    The completed proxy is due before noon on Saturday, April 4th. Please email it to admin@watercolorhouston.org, or drop off the signed proxy to Martin Butler in the WAS-H office.

  • March 08, 2020 9:09 AM | Ksenia Annis

     Beth Graham stepped in to fill the WAS-H Vice President vacancy this winter. She served as Education Director for the last few years. While in that position she redesigned Art for Seniors, initiated the on-going Beginners Academy and set up our Monitor program. She is a retired elementary school principal, most recently in Fort Bend ISD. She has been a WAS-H member for four years and enjoys the wonderful instruction available in our classes, the beautiful artwork displayed in our gallery each month, and the friendships and community available here at WAS-H. She looks forward to continuing her work with the board and our members in the 2020-2021 year as President of the WAS-H Board of Directors.

     Karen Capper has been asked to serve as Vice President for the 2020 WAS-H Board. She has served on the board for 3 previous years as director of the Annual Member Exhibit and has been a member of WAS-H for over 8 years. During that time she has taken many class offerings, entered numerous shows, and enjoyed friendships. She looks forward to working together with other board members to make this a great year.

     Laurie Hammons has been nominated to serve as Secretary for the 2020 WAS-H Board. She has served on the board previously as Education Co-Director and Director and has been a member of WAS-H for almost five years. She is very nearly retired from Rice University (where she has previous experience taking the minutes for a couple of non-profit boards) and recently held a one-woman show at Alliance Française de Houston, “Petits Moments Français.” She is most grateful to have found a community of friendship, learning, and encouragement at WAS-H.

     Laura McMahon is the Immediate Past President, and previously served as President and Vice President. After our long-time Treasurer stepped down in November 2019, Laura and other current and former board members stepped in to help with a transition with tremendous help from the pro bono work of a financial professional. In January 2020, Laura was elected to fill the position of Treasurer for the remainder of this fiscal year and has agreed to continue as Treasurer for the upcoming fiscal year. She is an art lover and collector and particularly loves the luminescence of watercolor. Laura immediately recognized WAS-H as a gem. Laura retired two years ago as a business and finance lawyer with a large international law firm, representing large public companies in their disclosure and financial reporting requirements under securities laws as well as in business transactions. She has been a member of WAS-H for nearly five years, enjoying the collegiality, support and friendships at WAS-H.

  • March 08, 2020 8:53 AM | Ksenia Annis

     Nicole Hansen was invited to join the board as the Education Director in February of 2020. She is new to watercolor but was drawn to its flexibility as a medium to use when traveling. She bought her first professional-grade paint set while on vacation in Milan. She is a freelance writer and consultant. Her focus is on the intersection between culture, travel, and art. She spent the last five years living abroad in the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East, and Africa.

  • February 25, 2020 8:28 PM | Ksenia Annis

    Susan Giannantonio led a fun paint-in revealing many of her secrets to creating natural looking landscapes. Few brushes were needed as every mark could be more successfully made with sticks, leaves and flowers.
  • February 15, 2020 3:48 PM | Ksenia Annis

    by Shirl Riccetti

    Martha Carson, artist and WAS-H member, yet again, has found a unique workshop to enhance her art skills. This is her report of another very interesting workshop, with stories of “doing Art” the English way.


    This Fall I decided that I needed more time than my brief trip last year permitted in order to draw in London; I have been watching the Royal Drawing School website for almost a year until they came up with a five week course I couldn’t resist: Observation and Imagination. The weather was mostly miserable, but the classes (including Anatomy and Life Drawing sessions) exceeded my expectations in spades.

    I found a clean, comfortable and private AirBnB room [Figure 1], at a very reasonable price, in Shoreditch within walking distance of the School, which route was richly dotted in coffee shops and exotic bistros. Variety everywhere! Classes took place in an old warehouse with tall ceilings, wooden floors, large drafty windows, and easels that fought to stay folded. The instructors not only brought in extra supplies (paper, pastels, charcoal, draw boards, bull clips), but they gave tips on setting up a good position for drawing the model.

    Figure 1. My Room

    The instructors were truly involved with their students—from the young art students to an equal number of pensioners. And they were very helpful, as well as encouraging in my strange, experimental, tools and methods. We had so much to share: What we saw (the Observation part) and what was in our heads (the Imagination part). [Figure 2] Sometimes we drew and painted to music, poetry or film. We were offered help with problems during the session, and helpful critiques from colleagues at the end. I learned so much.

    Figure 2. My Imaginative take on a Cup of Tea sitting on a Table

    I also spent a good deal of time drawing independently. Much of the work I gave away. I loved drawing the Elgin marbles especially. [Figure 3] I donated my clothes for the trip home to make room in my luggage for Art Supplies from L. Cornelissen and Son (based in London since 1855), who were phenomenally helpful in paper selection and carried proprietary formulas of almost ever medium. These folks sold to all the great artists of Europe and they treat every customer like they are the new star on the horizon!

    Figure 3. A Horse’s Head from the Parthenon frieze

    I managed to get one piece in a show curated by Zsuzsanna Ardo of Artelier Ardo, entitled “No Man is an Island” as part of a public statement on Brexit. Zsuzsanna has her studio on a polar ice cap, and she writes, paints, and is a true talent that I hope to see again when she comes to New York in the Spring. I would recommend a trip and course of study at the Royal Drawing School to WAS-H members and their friends, so I would love to answer any questions that could help you make a decision. Or you could call Phoebe, at the Drawing School—tell her Martha sent you.

    Happy Travels!

    If you'd like to contribute to Art on the Go, please contact Shirl at sriccetti@comcast.net

  • February 11, 2020 5:01 PM | Ksenia Annis

    WAS-H member Ellen Orseck's work is the centerpiece of the Myrtle Beach Art Museum exhibition on women. The museum is celebrating women and all of their accomplishments particularly in the arts. Learn more at www.Myrtlebeachartmuseum.org

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