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Greetings Friends! I hope your family and friends are doing well as we all prepare for the holiday season, though perhaps in different ways than in previous years. This has definitely been a year in which we have all gained a stronger appreciation for those simple pleasures of life that have been impacted by COVID- coffee with a friend, a birthday at a special restaurant, painting (of course) with “paint pals” at WAS-H, visiting friends, children and grandchildren, and exploring new places. I’m sure you can add many more to this list.
One other small pleasure is getting to share and admire beautiful art. This is different this year, but I am grateful we still have it. Sunday, November 15 is our next general meeting, artist demonstration, and awards for the last WAS-H exhibit of this calendar year. The artwork will be available to enjoy online thru the end of December. The theme is “Small Treasures,” a topic especially pertinent this year. Consider making the gift of art to family and friends from this annual gem of an exhibit!
These monthly exhibits have been possible only because of you, the artists, and the volunteer gallery team. This gallery team didn’t blink twice when they heard I wanted to host our exhibits online during the pandemic. They quickly adapted, learned new technology, and have made it possible for WAS-H to have had online gallery exhibits every month since May. Please join me in thanking them for their work bringing your beautiful art into our lives.
Along with hosting monthly gallery exhibits and online painting classes for members, we have been working to care for our facility so that it will be ready for your in-person return. The majestic oak on the corner has had a beautiful trim, branches from a neighbor’s tree in the back that were touching our roof have been removed, and we have replaced the AC equipment for the second floor. We can hardly wait for everyone’s return!! Until then, check our website for virtual volunteer opportunities, consider joining the board of directors for 2021-2022 as a way to give back and to keep WAS-H vibrant, stay safe, and keep painting!
Beth Graham, WAS-H President
by Nicole Hansen, Education Director
Artist-grade paper is made of 100% cotton, which makes it strong and pliable. This paper is best for artworks that are intended to be permanent, entered into exhibitions, or if you plan to scrub and scrape the paper frequently.
Student-grade watercolor paper is made from wood pulp or a combination of fibers. This paper is suitable for practice or beginners, but artist-grade paper responds differently to water and paint. If your goal is to create professional work, practicing on artist-grade paper will be necessary as well.
Hot pressed paper is the smoothest. It has a smooth, hard surface and is good for fine detail and reproduction. Some artists find it slippery and hard to control the paint.
Cold pressed paper is medium textured. It can be used for a variety of styles and is often considered the most versatile and popular.
Rough paper is the most textured of the three papers. Grains from granulated paints get stuck in the pits, which adds depth and interest, but can be challenging to remove.
The most common watercolor paper weights are 140lb (300 g/m2) and 300lb (638 g/m2). The heavier weight can hold more water but is more costly. The lighter weight holds less moisture and may buckle if it’s not stretched correctly, but its lower cost is a preferred choice for practice.
“Why” an artist might choose to use one paper over another is extremely individualized based on creative goals. The above can guide the technical choices, and the following tests may help with the decision:
Erasing: Erasing can cause damage to watercolor paper. If you sketch in graphite or other materials try sketching, erasing and then painting a wash over the paper to determine if the erasure marks can be seen after the watercolor paint is dry.
Smooth Washes: Many artists require smooth washes. Artist-grade paper is more likely to create a smooth wash, as student grade papers may create streaky washes. Try creating washes on your paper before creating an artwork.
Wet or Dry Lifting: The ability to lift color is an important part of watercolor artwork. Paint two areas. Allow one to dry. A clean, damp brush or soft rag can immediately lift wet watercolor. A clean, damp brush wiped six-eight times over a dry area should also lift color from a dry area.
If you have questions send us an email or contact us on social media!
by Kathleen Church, AME director and past president
I hope you take time to log onto the WAS-H website and view the stunning work posted on the AME 2020 Gallery. Seventy-five artists submitted their work for this year’s virtual show. Don Andrews, AWS, NWS, did a masterful job of jurying the show and reflecting on the beauty and magic of the winning pieces. Our Sunday Award’s ceremony was Don’s first “Zoom Experience”! His supportive and helpful comments about each piece gave all of us a peek into Don’s supportive teaching style. We are delighted he will join us in the spring for a three day workshop at WAS-H. I want to shout out a special “Thank You” to the gallery intake team: Paula Fowler, Sally Hoyt, Cissy Giggerman, Martin Butler and Karen Stopnicki. Without this dedicated group of volunteers we would not be enjoying our members’ art. Please take time to read the Winner’s Words column in the blog. It is a joy to hear each artists’ reflections.
Each month we invite artists who have won awards to share something about their art. I hope you enjoy these delightful glimpses into the life of the 2020 AME Winners. You can enjoy the full show by clicking this link.
Daniela Werneck's “The Retreat” is the First Place winner
“The Retreat” is part of a series of paintings I did of my Portuguese niece, Giovana, after a trip my family and I took last year to visit our relatives in Portugal. Influenced by the culture of my ancestors, the history of the successful Portuguese navigation and the symbolism of the swallows, I created the series. I brought a couple of dresses with me on this trip, and the pictures of Giovana were taken in just one late afternoon in a hotel located in a winery near Porto, Pt. She wore this beautiful velvet dress and stood near a window in a hotel room all the while talking about boys from school (she refused to wear it outside of the room)! The birds, the cage, the tiles were not part of the reference picture; the were part of my creative process. The tiles iare from a monastery in Ourem, Pt.
Liz Hill's “Looking Back” won the Second Place
My piece “Looking Back” is inspired by Josianne Model. Josianne is my favorite model, and unfortunately she no longer models. It is a tribute to her African roots and her proud stature.
Hiep Nguyen with “Deserted Alley” is the Third Place winner
I painted the painting "Deserted Alley" during the Covid-19 Pandemic lockdown this year. Feeling lonely and nostalgic, I chose a photo of my old neighborhood in Vietnam to paint. As I pondered, I imagined my old alley must have been deserted . Notice that, in the painting, even though nobody was seen, the sun was still shining, flowers are still blooming, and birds are still enjoying their found meals together. Just be cheerful and hopeful!"
"Hare of the Moonless Sky" by Bonnie Woods received the Director's Award
My watercolor painting, “Hare of the Moonless Sky”, is one of a series of over 30 paintings inspired by a happy accident. For over 20 years I have loved drawing and painting the female figure. One day while attending my weekly life drawing session, I had just completed drawing the model and was attempting to fill in a background using shapes and doodles. As I continued to sketch my pencil began making a strange form on the paper. When time was called for the model to take her break, I stopped drawing. There staring back at me from the page was a big hare, complete with eyes, nose and large ears. Quite a delightful surprise. For almost three years now, as if by destiny, the hares have kept coming into my dreams and into my work. It is as if they want to be seen and tell their story. I sense the hares have come through the muse to represent a companion or guardian for the female figure. In each painting the women and the hare bring their own personality to the viewer. So many people have asked about how they happened into my work that I finally wrote a book about it entitled Women and Their Hares. The book was launched in 2019 through a local gallery in San Diego and is available through my website www.bonniewoods.com. This series continues to be a wonderful addition to my work in watercolor, charcoal and mixed media.
Alison Hendry's “Kaash Is Watching From Winnipeg Zoo” won the President’s Award
In “normal” years we travel to Canada for the Christmas holidays to spend time with family. Winnipeg, Manitoba is always so cold I barely get out, but the Zoo draws me into the -13F type temperature to enjoy animals that actually like the cold. Kaash is one of a pair of snow leopard cubs born in the spring of 2018. His name means “expression of a wish” in Russian. I was mesmerized by their expressions and quiet beauty. As I played with my new fancy camera I caught Kaash’s eyes look directly at me and felt that “ Oh I NEED to paint this” feeling. This award thrills and warms my heart that Kaash and his very endangered species spoke to others.
Debbie Lee Parmley with “Artiginale” received an Honorable Mention
"Artigianale" was inspired by a photo taken in Florence, Italy while on a family trip. It was far from a perfect photo, but I liked the moment in time it captured – a quiet morning at the local café. I changed the perspective to present it from a forward view. The extremely detailed background had shelving, cabinets, doors and signs, so I made this area more suggestive, using square strokes that are repeated throughout the painting. This created a soft background so that my figures became a stronger focal point. Lastly I extended the gold wall from the top right across and down to the bottom of the painting to unify the space. Capturing the gesture of the people enjoying their coffee, and the window that separated us by painting the store sign finished the piece.
Jan McNeill's “Merida Memory” received an Honorable Mention
My painting "Merida Memory" is from a photo I took at a restaurant in Merida Mexico. It brings back lots of special happy memories of attending my first Mexican wedding! My son and daughter-in-law were also there as were many of my son's friends that I know.
I painted a small version before tackling a larger version for entry into the AME. I love to paint on hot press paper with round brushes as I find it works best for me.
Les McDonald, “Shopping In San Jose” - Merchant Award winner
While traveling to Mexico’s Baja Peninsula in 2003, Les took many photos on their vacation. San Jose Del Cabo was a highlight of their visit. The city had many wonderful, colorful sites to enjoy and photograph. The painting “Shopping in San Jose” depicts one of the many vibrant shops in the downtown area. Les was motivated and challenged by the detail of the subject matter. He enjoyed painting this quaint store with the many bright textures and colors. The artist is honored to be accepted in the Membership Show for WAS-H and especially excited to have won an award with this painting.
Trish Poupard, “Huntington Cactus” - Merchant Award winner
I am so honored to have my painting, “Huntington Cactus” win an award by juror Don Andrews.
My inspiration came from my love affair with the cactus in bloom at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA. I am a photo realist and a transparent purist, so my only hope was to do my muse justice with pigment, water and paper. Thanks so much for your kind words and insightful critique Don.
Cleo Ceeney, “Happy Hour With Bella” - Merchant Award winner
Whilst enjoying a weekend away at the Galvez Hotel in Galveston, a lady came and sat beside us and ordered a Tequila Sunrise, (pre-Covid days) and started chatting! Her cocktail matched her colorful bikini and she fascinated me with her vibrancy and extrovert personality, I asked if I could take her photo to paint her, and she was delighted And I couldn't wait to put brush to paper and use my happiest tropical colors and bring out the fun of her!! She was such an inspiration.
Annika Farmer, “Natasha Looking for Boris” - Merchant Award winner
“Natasha Looking For Boris” was painted as part of a series I am painting during this Covid 19 social distancing period. These paintings are all based on photos I have taken during recent vacations.
When I saw this sweet Russian lady trying to sell some of her hand embroidered work in the middle of a crowd of people, she caught my attention because she had the kindest, most beautiful smile. I just knew I had to take some photos of her, and the painting “Natasha Looking For Boris” is the result.
Arlene Edmundson, “Weird Flowers” - Merchant Award winner
Weird Flowers was inspired by the feeling of the Unfamiliar rising in myself, during the epidemic. In these unusual times everything seems strange, or weird, as if you’re looking at your world from the standpoint of a foreigner.
I began my painting by just letting the paint free flow. I love the thing pigments do when left alone and being allowed to mix as they seem fit. Pthalo blue and Burnt Sienna we’re the two colors I focused on...just letting them do their thing...also adding salt for additional texture. Afterwards, I playfully defined the major shapes and deliberately put some Ink and ink-pen in the form of line and leaves. Geometric Collage snippets were used lastly. I wanted some hard edges to contrast against the softness of the free flow...
The “Mass” at the lower right bottom symbolizes a mass of “Everything” or “All” from which the flowers rise. Once again, referencing a “new world” or new situation.
As we are begin our 8th month of social distancing, I find I am dreaming of being with everyone in our gallery and in our classroom. I distinctly remember the delicious wine and snacks from the reception, and even dreamt we had held our art fair with no rain!
As we yearn for a return to normalcy, we continue to do our best to keep everyone connected and involved with art. Our Gallery Team (Paula Fowler, Nancy McMillan, Sally Hoyt, Cissy Geigerman, and Martin Butler) has made it possible for WAS-H to have had online gallery exhibits since May. Next month I’ll post the photos of the awesome team that set up. Today I would like to acknowledge and thank the folks I call our “broadcast pioneers.” These are the instructors who have been bringing art instruction into your homes, from their home studios, May-September. It was only possible with the guidance and support of our guru broadcast queen, Ksenia Annis, and the Zoom support of education director, Nicole Hansen.
Then in September, we also started broadcasting classes from the WAS-H classroom studio. Carla Gauthier piloted the first classes and Caroline Graham offered the demo at the last meeting. Kathleen Church helped with the technology end of it at the demo. Such a brave soul! We had a lot of fun and hope to add others to the team, both in front of the camera, and behind the scene. Be sure to go to Sign-Up Genius on our website if you are interested.
Our WAS-H Studio Broadcast Pioneers
Our Art for Seniors class has just received notice of an opportunity to join the Postcard Exchange project coordinated by WASH volunteer Cissy Geigerman. Participants will exchange watercolor postcards using the USPS. We will continue our art, in spite of challenges.
Until we can gather again, stay safe, stay well, and keep painting!
WAS-H president 2020-2021
WAS-H is looking to fill the position of Social Media Coordinator
Summary: The Social Media Coordinator will be responsible for planning, implementing, and monitoring the Watercolor Art Society – Houston (WAS-H) social media strategy to increase engagement, customer service, and sales. This position will report to the Marketing/PR Director.
• Design, schedule, and interact on social media on behalf of WAS-H.
• Execute a results-driven social media strategy.
• Develop engaging content for social media platforms.
• Maintain a unified brand voice.
• Support the WAS-H editorial calendar via social media.
• Interact daily on platforms and respond to social media messages, inquiries, and
• Review analytics and create reports on key metrics.
• Thoughtfully edit written, video, and photo content.
• Appreciation for the arts.
• Passion for social media.
• Proficiency with major social media platforms and management tools, such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and scheduling platforms like Buffer.
• Ability to understand historical, current, and future trends.
• Strong copywriting and copy-editing skills.
• Excellent listening skills.
• Strong oral and verbal communication skills.
• Detail-oriented approach.
• Proficiency with video and photo editing tools, digital media formats is a plus!
Work Hours: This part-time remote position is perfect for a student, sole-proprietor, or volunteer looking to build their portfolio. The role is a one-year internship and includes support and encouragement to build a portfolio with samples, metrics, and letters of recommendation.
WAS-H is an internationally recognized art society, and this role is an excellent opportunity for anyone looking to work in the art or social media industries.
Apply Now: send a letter of interest and resume to email@example.com with the subject “Social Media Coordinator.”
by Paula Fowler, Gallery Co-Director
American painter and sculptor, Dorothea Tanning, said, “Art has always been the raft onto which we climb to save our sanity.” I hope that you can share with me the thought that WAS-H is that raft that we have climbed onto and that it is carrying us through the white waters of 2020. From this communal, but safely-distanced spot, we are able to get inspiration from classes and by viewing the works of our fellow artists. This helps keep us sane. Our September Online Show brought us 58 amazing works of art and 75 of our members joined our Zoom reception and announcement of winners. From our perch on this metaphorical raft, we’re treated to winning images of the garden’s bounty and inviting but mysterious hallways. We see mind-bending abstracts and a bird’s-eye view of a nature trail. And, fittingly, as we pass Labor Day, we join the hot and pulsating space of men at work.
Our judge for this show, Ellen Phillips, took on the difficult job of choosing the winners. Ellen was born in Houston, TX and is the Ninth Grade Visual Art Coordinator and teacher at HSPVA. She has a BA in Painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Her current work explores the concept of multiples and shifting perspectives through works on paper, sculpture, photography and text. Ellen has shown her work in Texas, Maryland, Missouri and California. As many of you know, WAS-H has awarded scholarships to students at HSPVA since 2008. We were so pleased to find out that Ellen was the recipient of one of those scholarships!
Please enjoy Ellen’s perceptive words about her chosen winners:
First Place - Chaitanya Alli - Fresh from the Garden
“Simple ingredients: four tomatoes, a colander, and a blue tile countertop reflect the beauty of everyday life. The subtle nuances of how these objects reflect and rest on each other become moments of tenderness. Bright red-oranges and blues give weight to a feeling of freshness. The artist is playful in the way these components exist together. An uncomplicated moment portrayed with wonderfully complex interactions of light, shadow, pattern, repetition, and mark-making - so delicate.”
Second Place - Peggy Engells - Sunlight in the Shadows
“This piece strikes me as perhaps one of the most mysterious pieces I have ever seen. The space portrayed feels universal in some way - a space we have all encountered at some point in our life - without giving away too many details. There is a wonderful transparent quality within this work - is this moment of light and shadow arriving to us or disappearing from us? Thin and thick, dry and wet applications of paint work together and allude to the act of seeing itself.”
Third Place - Tatsiana Saleh - The City
“Fearless color! This piece has a beautiful cadence of vibrant, multiple layers similar to that of a jazz ensemble. Line, color, and application of medium become equally prevalent elements throughout the piece - at times creating depth and flattening into abstract compositions. Upon close inspection, dots are peppered throughout the strips of color, adding depth and complimenting linear qualities of this piece.”
Honorable Mention - Maria Rodriquez Alejo - Face Up
“This piece feels internal and external, up and down, above and below. Abstract forms create a dreamlike space that is ever expansive upon close view. Line, shape, color, balance are key components within this piece. Heat and light exudes through cracks in between the forms. Camouflaged moments of texture and pattern within planes are wonderful surprises.”
Honorable Mention - Barbra Munisteri - Fresh
“This piece is a wonderful snapshot of time. Slivers of light and cast shadows illuminate the grapefruit and juice. Beautiful mark making and abstract line add to the texture of the space. The placemat doubly serves as a framing device for tightly rendered portions of the piece. Outside of the placemat, the space unravels and loosens - still remaining fresh.”
Honorable Mention - Joanie Hughes - Pipe Benders
“This piece has beautiful texture all throughout! Linear mark-making and movement becomes an integral part of the work - causing a palpable weight to the piece that correlates to the title and subject. This moment captured feels simultaneously still and moving. The analogous color palette brings all elements in this work together - giving a sense of cool steel. The detailed marking of the pipe at the bottom is a wonderful touch.”
Honorable Mention - Reva Power - Walk with Me 1 Jogger
“The size and orientation of this piece reflect the subject matter very well. Textural mark making and splotches of color build nature as it would in real life. There is a loose quality throughout the whole work hinged on expressive lines and delicate touch. The artist successfully portrays the grandness, beauty, and calming effect of nature through the use of scale. What is most interesting is where we sit, in this piece, as a viewer - within the trees.”
This show would not be possible without the hard work of our Virtual Show Team. A very special thanks to Karen Stopnicki, Sally Hoyt, Cissy Geiggerman, Martin Butler and our president, Beth Graham.
First Place: Chaitanya Alli "Fresh from the Garden"
My inspiration for this painting came to me one day while I was preparing dinner. I had just picked some beautiful ripened tomatoes and I loved the brightness of the red tomatoes glistening in the sunlight against the complementary blue tablecloth. The reflections in the white colander and the shadows, along with the various geometric shapes made me eager to paint this picture. I painted in layers, masking all of my lighter values. I dropped darker value colors on the wet paper, letting the colors mingle. I aimed for the perfect texture on the cloth and placed the diagonal lines to direct the viewer to the tomatoes. I hope the viewers enjoy the painting as much as I did while working on it.
Second Place: Peggy Engells "Sunlight in the Shadows"
“Sunlight in the Shadows” is a new direction for me. My brush and paints were perhaps controlled subconsciously by the vibration of the world and my life...that in the midst of darkness and shade - transitioning from the space we are in - light beckons hopefully.
Honorable Mention: Barbra Munisteri "Fresh"
My watercolor, Fresh, was done to document the Pandemic of 2020. I made (and am still making) fresh squeezed orange juice every day during the quarantine in an effort to increase our immunity.
Honorable Mention: Maria Rodriquez Alejo "Face Up"
Last year I was lucky to be part of a very long road trip from Houston Texas to northeastern Nevada. The changes in scenery as the trip progressed was impressive. I was amazed by the massive size of the mountains, the stunning canyons and the beauty of the landscape’s colors and shapes.
Face Up is my interpretation of those big and weird shapes of the Southwest mountains. In this painting I see myself looking up from the floor of a canyon, but also there are shapes that appear to be people or faces…
I used multiple glazes to obtain rich deep shades of reds and oranges. In some areas I applied opaque color on top of wet transparent color creating some fun effects and texture. To add interest, I included patterns that repeat around some areas of the painting.
Honorable Mention: Reva Powers "Walk with Me 1 Jogger"
I began the “walk with me” series in March 2020 when everything changed. I discovered a wonderful walking path a block from my house. The weather was cool. The sun was shining, and the path was enclosed by trees and bushes creating a feeling of a verdant tunnel. Like a mysterious, quiet sheltered passageway the light and shadow bounced around as the wind stirred the growth. Each day I walked at a different time. I’d stop to take pictures. It was like magic and I was filled with excitement discovering this escape. So many of the trees in my area have been cut to make room for shopping centers, apartments, schools. But here, so close to me was a forest, a narrow forest. With the shutdown, no cars on the road it didn’t matter that the enclosed path was next to a four-lane road.
I knew I had to paint the feeling. I had a 9” x 30” strip of watercolor paper. I wet it and began painting wet into wet to capture the feeling. The first rendition had only the isolation. But as my walks continued, I saw bikers, dog-walker and joggers. I created additional paintings by tearing a full sheet into three 10 x 22 pieces.
Who would have thought that we would be entering the 7th month of quarantining due to the COVID pandemic!?! Nothing seems normal and I am sure you join me in wishing for the time when this is behind us. Even the Esperanza shrubs at the building are going crazy as they tower over me as trees now! And as I write this, two potential hurricanes race toward us.
However, thanks to the efforts of our Education Director, Nicole Hansen, we continue to offer classes and workshops for you to participate in from your home.
We continue to host our monthly watercolor exhibits, thanks to the work of our Gallery Director, Paula Fowler, and her dedicated team of volunteers- Nancy McMillan, Sally Hoyt, Cissy Geigerman. Our administrative assistant, Martin Butler, helps with the online exhibits, still checks the mail, answers the phone from home, and checks all voice messages.
Artists entering the Annual Members Exhibit (AME) in October will submit photographs of their paintings online. Our October AME exhibit/workshop leaders, Kathleen Church and Karen Capper, are monitoring the ever changing public health conditions to make our final decisions about hanging paintings physically in the gallery. The major workshop with Don Andrews has been converted to an online experience and we are excited about some of the new features we are introducing. There are still open spots if you want to join us.
Our Technology Committee, led by Laura McMahon, includes Nicole Hansen, and Louise Bateman. They have selected the best video broadcast equipment to enable us to soon be broadcasting live from the WAS-H classroom. We will kick-off using the new broadcast technology with the September Demo by Caroline Graham on Sept 6 and the October Major Workshop, October 5-9.
The International Watercolor Exhibit committee led by Tom Kraycirick, includes Haley Bowen, Laura McMahon, and Jan McNeill. They are wrestling with the decisions and challenges related to this wonderful exhibit as pandemic conditions persist.
Like many of you, this extended quarantine has been difficult for me, as I also help take care of grandchildren whose parents work, since day care facilities are closed. Many days it is hard to paint. 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!
Virtual classes organized by WAS-H have proven their popularity with our members over and over again. Even though we all miss seeing each other in our upstairs classroom, there is a lot to be said for learning and painting from the convenience of one's home and studio - no driving and no schlepping of art supplies. We were also able to meet and talk to our members and friends from out of state, which is another benefit of virtual learning.
We had a lot of fun in summer classes and now registration for the fall schedule is in full swing. Our Education Director Nicole Hansen made sure a wide variety of subjects is covered. We have sketching, pure watercolor, acrylics, Chinese brush painting, mixed media techniques, and even digital art and art photography covered. You can see them all and choose the ones you'd like to take by following this link - https://www.watercolorhouston.org/Virtual-Classes Don't wait too long to register as we now close registration two days before the class date to make sure everyone registered has received all the preliminary info and links.
If you have taken a class, please tell us in comments what you especially liked about it. Is there something you'd like to learn, but don't see on the schedule? Let us know and we hope to see you in one of the classes!
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