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by Paula Fowler, Gallery Co-Director
We opened the WAS-H November/December virtual show on Sunday, November 15, just as we were able to take our first breaths of cool Canadian air as it pushed the heat and humidity out of Houston. On that beautiful afternoon, we were treated to 45 wonderful small treasures to grace our virtual gallery walls. Our tradition this time of year is to present small paintings (this year less than 14” on a side) with the idea of offering great items for gift giving. With that in mind, the theme for this show is Small Treasures.
Joining us this month at our Zoom reception to introduce the winning paintings was our extremely talented and articulate judge, Cheryl Evans. Cheryl is a producing artist and a Signature Member of WAS-H. She graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a BFA in Painting and earned a Master of Arts degree from the University of Houston Clear Lake. She has taught for 34 years at the high school and College level. She taught at University of Houston Clear Lake and Lee College and has retired as a career art educator from public school and was named Texas Art Educator of the Year in 2012. Currently, she is sharing her love of art as watercolor painting instructor at Alvin Community College where she has taught for 5 years. She has had several one-woman shows, and her work is found in private and corporate collections around the country, and in Japan, England, Mexico, and Norway. She is a Distinguished Fellow of the Texas Art Education Association. Her work ranges from landscape, to portraiture, to abstract.
I’m so pleased to be able to share Cheryl’s own words about each of our winners:
1st Place - Alison Hendry - Do You Think He Is Relaxed
“There is a wonderful use of texture and contrast as well as rich and subtle neutral grays. The grays are infused with effervescent bits of color. It fills the space so well. You can almost hear this painting purr.”
2nd Place - Lynda Jung - The Rose
“Delightful range of values applied in a loose and transparent manner and balanced so well with the use of the contour line. The composition is formally balanced with a good use of positive and negative space. “
3rd Place - Kim Granhaug - Sailor’s Delight
“Strong, fearless and dramatic use of color makes this piece a standout. The application has a buttery quality and really shows the hand of the artist. The turquoise color skips across the composition moving the eye and unifying the piece.”
Honorable Mention-Gay Paratore - Dodge Royal (blue car)
“This is an example of how an artist can use realism to arrange colors and shapes into an abstract composition. The composition works regardless of its orientation. It has a strong dominant focal point and killer leading lines.”
Honorable Mention - Hiep Nguyen -Twilight Impression
“This is a gem of a painting. The freshness of the loose and juicy wet on wet washes in the sky and the watery world below leaves use to speculate and construct our own middle earth as the artists suggest the shoreline, boats and piers with an efficient use of line. This painting is engaging and intriguing.”
Honorable Mention - Susan Tadlock Bond - Finally Asleep
“The facial expressions draw the viewer into the visual story. The skin tones are varied and not overworked. One of the key elements is the break up of space between that expertly applied gradual wash in the background and the two figures in the foreground. This is a very personal painting and it makes me want to know more about the child and the father.”
Please take a minute to see what our winners have to say about their painting in a separate blog posting, Winner’s Words.
We also owe a big thanks to our crew of virtual-gallery volunteers who, with tenacity and good humor, continued to push the limits of their technical skills in order to make this show possible. They are learning and feeling so good that they can keep WAS-H’s life-blood flowing until we are back in our building and are able to enjoy the camaraderie we all miss so much. Many thanks go to Sally Hoyt, Cissy Geigerman, Karen Stopnicki, Nancy McMillan, Martin Butler, Kathleen Church and, of course, our president, Beth Graham.
The take-in for our next show starts on January 2, 2021. The prospectus is available on the website. Please show your support for WAS-H and share your latest work!
The small-pieces show is one of my favorites at WAS-H as it brings me back to the beginning when I was too frightened to paint large, and small was my comfort zone. We spent four weeks hiding in Snowmass this summer and I brought along some 9x12 pads of Arches 140# paper to play with. Since the buckling annoyed me, I learned how to stretch these small pieces of paper with gummed tape, staples and gatorboard when we returned. Do You Think He is Relaxed? is the first piece I have painted on stretched 140# paper. What an enormous pleasure it is. I use Winsor and Newton, Daniel Smith and M. Graham paints most of the time and am in love with da Vinci maestro sable brushes. It was a challenge to change the color of the big chair that Tonka is sleeping on, but Carla Gauthier has said in many classes “Value trumps color”, so I kept repeating the mantra. Tonka, my dearly beloved boy passed away two years ago, and I have painted him for three images that have spoken to three different judges. I was tickled, surprised and thrilled with this award and think he must be my image mascot. Cheryl Evans was spot on about rubbing his belly. He loved that and sleeping in the sun.
Dodge Royal is one of the smallest car paintings that I have done. I usually paint a full sheet of Arches 300# and don't tape it down, so I can move it around to make it easier to do all the straight lines and the curves. I fell in love with painting cars by going with Richard to the Keels & Wheels Concours d’Elegance car exhibition. It was not the cars themselves, but the reflections in the cars that captivated my attention. I earned several of my signature memberships with car paintings: the National Watercolor Society (three $1000 awards), the San Diego Watercolor Society where I have shown with them in several International shows in Italy and Spain, and recently I received my signature status with the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies. All of these were acquired by entering car paintings. My prints of cars are for sale at the Seal Cove Auto Museum in Maine. My WAS-H elite, Texas Watercolor Society, and the National Society of Artists (which I founded) signature memberships were acquired with a variety of subject matter.
Lately I am winning more awards on my portraits (see the WAS-H Membership Show, Texas Art Supply Award and the Texas Watercolor Society, $1000.00 Show award). I am doing portraits in pastels and oils also, but I love the freshness of watercolor and how the paints glow using the white paper to reflect light and color. During COVID-19, I miss seeing family and friends, but I have been painting almost every day and some of it outside in my woods. You can see three of my plein-air paintings on exhibit at G. Lee Gallery on the Strand in Galveston where I show on a regular basis.
Honorable Mention: Hiep Nguyen, Twilight Impression
I painted this Twilight Impression from my memory of an evening outing at the waterfront in Vancouver two years ago. I didn't use any photo for reference for this painting. I just wanted to express the ethereal feeling that I had at that time on the harbor of Vancouver Island. I used a limited palette with wet-on-wet techniques to recreate the twilight atmosphere and added a few scratched marks to pull the viewer eyes to the focus area.
Asleep, Finally is a watercolor composition featuring my son Casey and granddaughter Zoey.
He had been reading her books and finally she fell asleep in his arms, seemingly to his surprise.
This idea was initially conceptualized for a watercolor contest at the 2020 Taos Watercolor Workshop called Surprise Me!, but due to COVID-19 the workshop was cancelled this year, so this sweet painting has been sitting on my desk for months with me trying to decide on its next destination. The WAS-H virtual show, Little Treasures, just seemed like the right place for my tiny family treasure.
I am very pleased and honored to be recognized by WAS-H.
Drawing and painting portraits began for me in my high school Art class, along with influences from my family: my grandmother was a pastel artist, my great grandmother was a calligrapher and my great-great grandmother was a portrait artist, so art definitely runs in my blood. To be an artist you need nurturing and, thank God, I had that from my family, and now with five grandchildren maybe one of them will rise up to carry on the lineage.
We were saddened to learn about the passing of Ruth Corinne Meyer Wilson, an artist and a member of our society. Please read full obituary at this link. Our sincere condolences go to Ruth's family and friends.
by Nicole Hansen, Education Director
On my desk lays a small ivory notepad, pink flowers grace opposing corners, and at the top are the following words: “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh. This is perhaps the quote to remember when focusing on how to begin your career as an artist.
I interviewed a few people in preparation for this article, and the first person I asked about advice suggested that new artists be honest with themselves about how much they practice.
Step 1: Honesty
Be honest with yourself about how much you practice, if you have a formal studio practice, and what that looks like. If you don’t, begin, It’s easy to forget that professionals don’t just deliver finished work. Professionals sketch constantly, create color studies, and explore composition. Be honest with yourself about your route, and practice. After that, practice some more.
I host many of the WAS-H online classes and one of our teachers, Ellen Orseck, recently told her class that if they wanted to grow their careers they should start locally and expand outward.
Step 2: Start Locally
Share your work with your family, your friends, and your community. Enter local competitions or exhibitions to get your work noticed and keep taking steps toward larger and larger opportunities. WAS-H allows all members to submit work to its exhibitions. Start here, with us!
Step 3: Build an Art Network
Find opportunities to integrate with other artists, art societies, schools, and galleries. A network within the local community will help you find opportunities and help promote your work.
WAS-H members have a range of opportunities to connect with other professional artists, and your artwork can be sold from our exhibitions.
Step 4: Persist
Perhaps the hardest step in any career is to continue to practice and continue to persist. This is the time you will lean on your network and your local community to help with inspiration, encouragement, and sanity. A career in the art world requires business skills, marketing skills, networking skills and hard work. Your work is special. Persist.
In preparation for this article, I read dozens of others regarding transitioning toward a professional career as an artist, and I can easily say that every single one, including ours has different advice. So read a few others and then make a plan.
Step 5: Make a Plan with Goals
Make a plan and set goals that are reasonable with timelines. Sometimes we are so busy working that we forget how far we have gone. It’s easy to forget that we have reached our milestones. If you have a plan it will be easier to keep track of where you are going and how far you have come.
Questions? If you have questions send us an email or contact us on social media!
by Paula Fowler, Gallery Co-Director and Louise Bateman, Past-President and Committee Chairman
Beginning with the January 2021 prospectus, there are new guidelines in several areas that we want to bring to your attention:
• framing, mounting and protecting artwork
It is important to note that this prospectus update DOES NOT apply to the Annual Members Exhibit or the International Watermedia Exhibition, only the regular monthly shows. It is also important to remind you to carefully consult the prospectus each month for requirements specific to that month’s show.
Much of the need for a revision was fueled by artists using the latest (and greatest) watermedia and surfaces being developed by art companies. Also, new methods of protecting the finished art and displaying it are becoming acceptable in shows and galleries. WAS-H is also committed to expanding our exposure and footprint in the art community, and many newer and younger artists use these newer products. We also wanted to give the Gallery directors greater leeway in their position. As any former Gallery Director will tell you, it is difficult to exclude someone’s painting, due to the name of a product they have used.
Because of this, a committee was tasked with reviewing and updating the current WAS-H gallery prospectus. Serving on this committee of were Louise Bateman, Past President, Helen Lim, past Gallery Director, Daniela Werneck Genorfre, former board member, Philip Weigand, board member and Beth Graham, President. They brought to the table an impressive mix of experience with WAS-H and it’s ever evolving guidelines and of personal experience with watermedia as active artists.
Much of the committee’s discussion and decisions revolved around how to update and expand the guidelines, allowing for newer water media and surfaces to be included, while remaining true to WAS-H by laws.
We are excited to present these new guidelines and look forward to seeing the artwork.
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
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
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