• July 15, 2021 8:08 PM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    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.

    View Obituary

  • July 07, 2021 10:24 AM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    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.

  • June 10, 2021 9:30 AM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    by Paula Fowler, Gallery Co-Director

    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.


    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.

  • June 10, 2021 9:29 AM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    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.

  • May 18, 2021 2:38 PM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    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.

  • May 15, 2021 9:03 PM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    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 washrag@watercolorhouston.org

  • May 15, 2021 8:54 PM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    WAS-H Paint-Ins resumed May 8 via Zoom with artist Susan Giannantonio.  It was a fun session with lots of learning!

    On our summer schedule - Ksenia Annis will talk about Impressionist style flowers painted with gouache on June 12. Caroline Graham will lead August 14th session and discuss "track of vision" in art. To join us, register here

  • May 05, 2021 2:23 PM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    by Paula Fowler, Gallery Co-Director

    The WAS-H May show, with the theme of Portraits and the Human Figure, showcases 57 paintings that once again display the immense skill and creativity of our members.   There are lovingly sensitive portraits, narrative images that make you yearn for the whole story, and mysterious abstracts…evidence of how our creative minds can take one subject in so many different directions.  As I viewed the images when they were coming in, I was reminded of how happy I am to be part of this exceptionally talented WAS-H community.  It made me want to rush to my studio and try out new ideas. The work of a few energizes and inspires the whole. I hope you think of the contribution you make to the whole when you enter our shows!  Thank you May participants!

    See the winners and all the participating paintings here.

    We were so very pleased to welcome Bradley Kerl as judge of the May show.  Bradley comes to us via the MFAH Glassell School of art where he teaches life-drawing and watercolor.  How perfect is it that he was able to judge this show with the theme of Portraits and the Human Body!   He was born in Beaumont, TX and is a painter as well as an instructor.  He holds a BFA in Drawing and Painting from the University of North Texas and an MFA from the University of Houston.  His work has been exhibited widely in the US, including solo exhibitions at Gold Diggers, Los Angeles, CA,  Jonathan Hopson Gallery, Galveston Arts Center and Art Palace Gallery and in numerous group-shows internationally.  He has also been featured in the publications: New American Paintings No. 138, Friend of The Artist: Volume 7 and Texas Monthly. 

    Bradley shared that it was difficult to narrow his choice down to just six.   I’ll let him tell you in his words what ultimately influenced him.


    First Place:  Larry Spitzberg – Daddy Holds Me Tight

    At first glance, I was struck by the very ruddy palette and the tones in this painting by Larry Spitzberg. Upon subsequent looks, a story began to emerge: the boy and his father caught in the act of some everyday activity with indications of something more. In the end, it was the tinge of mystery and the nondescript background full of beautiful, loose watercolor mark-making and techniques that sent this particular painting over the edge for me. I appreciate a painting that leaves a bit of room for the viewer to fill in the gaps themselves, and this painting provides ample opportunity to create your own story.”

    Second Place:  Cheryl Evans - Mama’s Chicks

    "Mama's Chicks" is another painting that tells a story. This seemingly everyday event is tinted and enhanced by the exaggerated color in the underpainting and washes and in the use of some splashy watercolor technique in the blooms in the foreground. I enjoy the timelessness of the image -- it's hard to place the time period, although I suspect it's in the past -- and the fact that it's not overly fussy in the rendering of the figure and objects.”

    Third Place:  Alli Chaitanya - Deep Thought

    “What a striking image! Beyond the obvious remarkable technical proficiency of Alli Chaitanya, this painting allows the viewer plenty of room to read into and/or to ask questions: Who is this man? Where does he come from? What is he thinking? What has he seen? I am compelled to ask these questions (and more) and yearn a bit to find him so that I can. The composition itself lends a cinematic feel, which I think is a big part of the feeling that this is but one snapshot in a bigger saga.”

    Honorable Mention:  Kristel Peale - Homage to Bob

    “Who is Bob and why is he receiving this homage? Like all of my other picks, this image seems to suggest a larger narrative. I was immediately struck by the very specific, soft light in this painting. I love the dappled light of the trees in the background and all of the cool tones. Again, like most of my other picks, "Homage to Bob" combines strategic rendering where appropriate with looser, less fussy moments of watercolor painting in seamless fashion.”

    Honorable Mention:  Pat Waughtal - Making Music

    “Who doesn't love a tuba? For me, there's a decent amount of humor in this painting by Pat Waughtal, along with technical skill with the paint, good drawing, good color and strong composition. It also has a TUBA! I was really impressed with the technical flourishes in the reflection on the mirrored brass surface and in the detailed regalia.”

    Honorable Mention:  Annika Farmer - Boris in Paradise

    “Boris and his Pomeranian stole my heart! The title of this painting seems to suggest more than a bit of joy, which is always welcome. Along with the implied story, I found the balance of figure/ground and detail/looseness very compelling in this particular piece. There's just as much landscape to get lost in as there is figurative detail to admire.”

    Thank you, Gallery Team:  This show would never have happened without the energy and time of our online show team:  Karen Stopnicki, Sally Hoyt, Cissy Geigerman, Nancy McMillian and Beth Graham.


    Looking ahead:   Watch for the prospectuses of our up-coming shows that are posted on our webpage about 2 months ahead of the show!  We have some interesting themes and amazing judges. The theme for the June show is Abstract.  We’re also planning to return to the in-gallery shows in September!  We’re working this transition, so stay tuned for details.  I can’t wait to see each of you and your work in person. Remember, your participation supports WAS-H and keeps our wonderful organization prospering.

  • May 05, 2021 2:21 PM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    FIRST PLACE: Daddy Holds Me Tight by Larry Spitzberg

    Knowing that the facial details are most important when showing the human figure, I used a large sheet of cold pressed paper. Halfway through the boy’s face, I stopped and said I like that innocent look don’t you dare do any more. I hit some red on the cheek and quit. The next day I looked at the painting and the man’s face was weak. I took a dark color straight from the tube and used the dry brush technique to only hit the hills of the paper and give texture and a weathered look. As luck would have it both worked.

    HONORABLE MENTION – Homage to Bob - Kristel Peale

    The portrait is of my husband, Bob Peale, who passed away in February of last year. I did this painting shortly after his death. Whereas he had been ailing for some time and was frail and painfully thin at 80, I chose to paint him when he was still as vibrant as the summer day in Natchez when the photo was taken. He was about 50. It is how I want to remember him.

    HONORABLE MENTION: Boris in Paradise by Annika Farmer

    Boris in Paradise was painted as part of a series I am working on during this COVID 19 social distancing period. All the paintings are based on photographs I have taken on previous vacations.

    This was a man I met in a botanical garden in Bermuda, he was wearing a hat that made an interesting pattern on his shirt, and I asked him if I could take his picture, he gladly said yes, but insisted on taking off his hat, so that is how I photographed him.

    HONORABLE MENTIONMaking Music by Pat Waughtal

    A few years ago, my husband and I visited Russia on a trip with the UT Flying Longhorns.  The photo of The Music Man was taken outside the Hermitage where a Russian band greeted us with a rendition of Deep in the Heart of Texas.  My husband took this photo, and I had wanted to paint it for years because I loved the bright colors and strong contrasts, but was daunted by the details.

    After drawing the composition in pencil, I decided to use watercolor pencils to lay in the local colors in all the right places.  This helped me not get confused and lost in the details.  I used a damp brush and went over the pencil color in the smaller areas of the braid and hat decorations.  I mixed my black using alizarin crimson, veridian green and ultra-blue in a small cup so that I would have enough paint to complete the hat and not have to remix.  I used my watercolor pencils again to add detail to the braid and deepen shadows in places after I had finished the painting.

    I accidentally drew this painting on a sample piece of Winsor & Newton paper.  I learned from this experience that I much prefer to work on Arches, my usual paper.  Arches has a harder finish and doesn’t abrade as easily.

  • May 04, 2021 10:13 AM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    by Jan McNeill, Paint-In Coordinator

    Paint-ins are slowly making a return!  We are resuming Paint-Ins starting in May with a ZOOM format 9:30-12:30.   Our initial slate of instructors include:

    • May 8 – Susan Giannantonio
    • June 12 – Ksenia Annis
    • July  - no Paint-in
    • August 14 – Caroline Graham

    Sign up for a Paint-in on the WASH website in the Paint-in section of Education.  We hope to see you!

    Starting in September, we will return to the pre-COVID format of in-person class 9:30-3:30.  By September, we expect all attendees will have been vaccinated so that we can allow the usual 25 attendees.

    Terry Oakes will be co-facilitating our Paint-ins with Jan McNeill.

    We look forward to resuming this important WASH activity!

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