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by Cissy Geigerman, WAS-H Senior class member and volunteer
At home, I came across a small book that belonged to my late father-in-law, "Painting as a Pastime" by Winston Churchill. It is a relatively short read and very nice to hear about the joys of painting in his very own voice. I am a relatively new painter. In retirement I was looking for something new to learn. Adult coloring books with complex mandalas were my introduction to color combinations and pattern design. After that, it was a logical transition to watercolors. It has been very rewarding to see that I can still learn and improve with a brand new thing. Here are some paraphrased passages from the book.
On wisdom: "It is a pity to read good books too soon in life. The works remain crossed off the list, never to be re-visited. How many books would a young person really understand?"
On using different thinking muscles: "To have a second language at your disposal even if you know it enough to read it with pleasure is a sensible advantage."
On courage and initiative: "If you are inclined late in life to paint, then be persuaded that the first quality that is needed is Audacity. There is really no time for the deliberate approach. We cannot aspire to be Masters. Audacity is the only ticket. If you try and fail, there is not much harm done. You can always go out and kill some animal, humiliate some rival on the links, or despoil some friend across the green table."
On the pure joy of painting: "Happy are the painters, for they shall not be lonely. Light and colour, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end, or almost to the end, of the day."
Thank you and happy painting!
The book can be found on Amazon.com
by Shirl Riccetti, WAS-H Member
Contact Shirl with your travel stories and ideas: firstname.lastname@example.org
There must have been a logical reason for keeping the 2009 tour guide, touting the international packaged tours.
Honoring my New Year’s resolution to spend five minutes daily cleaning out my studio, I realized immediately why the booklet was saved. It was for the watercolors! The tour company had hired an artist to enrich the multi-tour descriptions. There were photos, but the watercolors caught the eye immediately. They were the largest, and up front, and extremely colorful.
Reviewing these pages again, over 10 years later, the watercolors still captured the dynamics of each tour. The Lisbon tour had a dancer, brightly painted, in the foreground of architecture. Even the monotones of Bryce Canyon and the same values of huge monuments were attractive. Many of the watercolors relied on the use of white spaces. To me, it conveyed a sense of 'airiness' (not an art word), and a sense of ‘freedom’. And isn’t that what the tour company had intended?
So, being a true artist, I clipped out the watercolors only, put them together and placed them in another folder. It was a reminder that watercolors, on the go, plein aire, are about ‘freedom’, and capturing life at that moment.
The sad part of this find was that, even though I searched page by page, there was no acknowledgment of the artist by name and no signature on each painting. OK then, on a practical, and selfish note, I hope that the artist received Big Bucks.
Carry on artists, and carpe diem.
by Kathleen Church, President WAS-H
Happy New Year 2020! I hope the year is off to a great start for all of you! WAS-H is celebrating the New Year with our Signature/Signature Elite show which has been a great success. You can read more about it in the following pages. Behind the scenes we are finishing up our technology upgrade project which was begun last year. Many thanks to Karen Stopnicki and Laura McMahon for all the time and effort put into seeing this project through,
Vice President Sarah Lee has been hard at work assembling her Board for next year. As you know WAS-H cannot operate without the generous support of volunteers. If you have been enjoying all WAS-H has to offer and are ready to give back please let us know. We are in search of someone with basic technology skills who is PC savvy; if you have experience in finance, or are great at organizing events we have room for you to serve!
For the past two years we have been working hard to streamline our newsletter format and make it more user friendly. This edition is being launched as a BLOG and easily accessed with a click on our website. Thank you to Ksenia Annis and Patty Armstrong for the MANY hours dedicated to the Washrag each month. It takes a lot more than a CLICK to produce this document!
Finally, Tom Kraycirik and Haley Bowen are putting the final touches on IWE 2020. It is going to be a spectacular week with Erik Wiegardt judging the show and teaching the workshop.
President: Watercolor Art Society Houston
by Laurie Hammons, Education Co-Director
Watercolorists are often nature lovers, so I wanted to share the vacation my husband and I took last April to the annual Wildflower Pilgrimage in the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains. The Pilgrimage has been taking place for 70 years; it is organized by a group of wildflower lovers, with many guided hikes over four days: mornings, afternoons, and full-day hikes – even a few in the evenings. The hikes (of about 30 people each) are led by local experts, such as botanists from local universities. 950 people attended the 2019 Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage!
I didn’t know what to expect when we signed up. I just knew I wanted to see a lot of wildflowers. It turns out most attendees are really interested in seeing unique and rare flowers, and before long we were just as excited to spot a new variety. In all, we recorded about 170 varieties of flowers, including some plants and trees, too. It was so much fun – I made a Shutterfly book to record the plants we saw.
If you are interested in making your own trip to the Wildflower Pilgrimage, you can find information at their website: http://www.wildflowerpilgrimage.org. Registration opens this year on February 24, and some of the hikes fill up quickly.
There are hotels just outside the park in Gatlinburg. You will need a car to get around the park; each hike starts at a different trail head. If you have any questions for me, please send an email: email@example.com.
It is with great sadness that we announce the recent passing of two Honorary WAS-H members: Stan Smith (top) and Steve Brenner (bottom). In addition to being long standing members of WAS-H, both were dedicated volunteers who donated many hours of their time to our organization over many years. In particular, both were key figures in building WAS-H’s building.
Stan Smith, an architect emeritus, designed our building with the assistance and inspiration of another WAS-H honorary member, his partner Suzanne Leatherwood. We offer our condolences to Suzanne at this time. Stan’s services will be privately held. Read Stan’s obituary: http://obit.carnesfuneralhome.com/stanley-swinford-smith
Steve Brenner was a past WAS-H president who came to WAS-H from a finance position at Shell. He was our treasurer for many years, even when others formally held the position and he patiently guided them. He prepared the financial reports for our Capital Campaign’s grant applications and explained our books to many, many WAS-H administrators. Steve was available for a million tasks large and small whenever our organization needed him and was equally dedicated to the HGO guild and boutique, the Italian Greyhound Rescue and other organizations.
Steve’s funeral and burial were held in early January.
by Cheryl Evans, WAS-H member
From the editor: Cheryl Evans spent 6 days on a raft trip on the Colorado River out of Moab, Utah in August. Painting in plein air is a passion of this WAS-H Signature member, but it is always a major challenge to capture the essence of the subject and the changing light. Evans was the only painter on this all women trip organized for 16 writers from around the country.
" I came to the river with purpose. In the inky dark silence, I crept on arthritic feet – quietly, stealthfully. I came armed and ready to capture and tame the sky, the river, the morn. Armed and ready, scooping a dime store bowl into her gurgling waters; I drew forth a bit of her beauty, her power, her life-blood. There was a gurgling – or was that a gleeful giggle?
No matter. With brush in hand, no time to lose; I drew forth my trusty sword. With an arsenal of color – a bit of cad yellow, a splash of cerulean blue, a pool of burnt sienna the color of an old alley cat’s eye - I began - another day, another chance to find my better self.
You see, I know a thing or two about morning and waiting: a coffee can scoop of sweet oats poured into a chewed and gnawed wood trough for a dusty brown pony, drowsy and glassy-eyed with sleep: cold clods of “father-turned mother earth” on bare feet down rows of ripening sweet strawberries, dressed in dew drop crystals, clinging to serrated leaves: coffee in hand, the tap, tap, tap scratch of school house chalk on a worn blackboard, scratching out the morning’s assignment – hieroglyphics to sleepy-eyed students daring to be taught – and me daring to teach.
You see, I know a thing or two about morning - another day of caring, and hoping, for another day to care and hope. Another day of meals, and doctors, and diagnosis that give so little room for another day of caring and hope. Then suddenly on a day unexpected, I open up the Book of Morning, and there is just one last gentle breath – a tiny whisp of vapor leaving this world, and then no more.
So I come to the river to open up the Book of Morning once more.
The first streak of burgundy backlights the silent monolith of timeless sandstone. On a small sheet of pristine cotton, once picked by nimble and worn hands, I dip my brush into the river water and lay in the dawn. The river gurgles and giggles. Now a dash of yellow and the rosy pink of a baby’s cheek, a swath of purple – the color of a king’s robe morphs into a cloud. And the river gurgles and giggles.
Wait. The sky is changing. The colors are spinning one into the next. A carousel of woven clouds dance across the morning sky, and I quickly splash down more river water, more color, faster and faster.
And the river giggles.
The light is changing. Once clothed in the sleepy darkness of night, the mesquite and cottonwoods put on their morning coats of viridian and sap green. I load my brush faster and faster, yet before the pigment hits the paper, it has changed again.
The River giggles,
And God laughs."
Since the WAS-H Member Directory is online, it always has the most recent members in it.
All members can log-in to the website. Here are instructions to set up your log-in to make it easy to register for classes and access to online member directory.
Instructions to Set Your Log-In:
1. At the top of the web page www.watercolorhouston.org, find the Login button, above the logo on the righthand side.
2. Click it and select "Forgot Password" in the next screen. Since we did not set default passwords, you will need to do this to set a password.
3. Enter the email address you provided WAS-H. This will send an email with a link to that email address. (If you want to change it, read #9 at the end of these instructions)
4. Go to your email account, find the email that was sent and click on the link to set a new password.
5. The link will take you to a page on our website to set a new password.
6. Enter your new password.
7. Now log in with your email address and new password.
8. Once you login, you will now see your name in the place at the top of the page where the Login button was.
9. Now, click on your name. It will take you to a My Profile page. You can Edit your profile if you need to update or change any of your contact information.
WAS-H was recently contacted by the Menil Collection, and they asked that our members refrain from using their parking lot. They now have a restaurant which uses the parking lot, and along with the restaurant more visitors, so they really utilize all their parking.
If the WAS-H lot is full, please park on surrounding streets. A committee is currently looking into other parking possibilities. As well, we plan to implement a loading zone to facilitate dropping off supplies at the building if you are taking a class.
Our volunteer website team has worked very hard to create a new, fresh and modern looking website. The best part of the website, though, is the increased functionality. You can now join or renew your membership online. You can now register for classes online. And you can donate to WAS-H online. The addition of the online functionality is a great benefit for members!
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