• May 10, 2020 2:18 PM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    Congratulations to WAS-H member Gay Paratore who sent the following news:

    Hi, I just got a call from the Texas Watercolor Society! I won an $1000.00 award for "Beach Babes". The judge picked it because it "made her smile". Made me smile, too! The painting is below:


    Kanya Kelly sent us her new artwork titled Fantasy Dreams. Here is what she wrote:

    "I was creating a tree series. One of the series is "Fantasy Dreams". During the cabin fever of the lockdown I wanted to bring vibrant colors and cheerful moods to my work. So, I played with warm/cool values using wet on wet and wet on dry techniques. I only used loose goose brush to create lines, branches and tree trunks.

    Using Sennelier watercolors I did not paint straight from the tube but let the colors mingle on paper instead of mixing on the pallet."

    Kanya's painting is below:

    Please share your latest wins, paintings and achievements with us - email washrag@watercolorhouston.org

  • April 25, 2020 12:02 PM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    by Jan McNeill
    WAS-H Paint-in Co-Coordinator and Past President

    The Painter's Key, a twice weekly art newsletter, recently had a thoughtful quote that I thought worthy of sharing with our WAS-H members:

    Alone and Together (by Sara Genn)
    ...we need to learn in all kinds of ways — including by watching our mentors. Stumbling around in the dark, alone forever will take us only so far. Communities like masters programs, painting clubs and workshops produce artists that speak to the value of their tribe and the experiences gained in the presence of a collective. And so, what to do while we wait to be together?

    If you ’re intrigued, I encourage you to check out this link for the free newsletter.  https://painterskeys.com/

    The above comments about learning from communities and painting clubs really made me think of WAS-H. I have learned much in the past 20+ years that I ’ve been taking classes, attending workshops, sitting in monthly live demonstrations, and going on painting excursions. I know I would not have come this far without those wonderful opportunities. 

    Yes, we are eager to get back together after this time of Covid-19 virus and social distancing!   And in the meantime, we are painting when we can and connecting with our painting friends.  

    In anticipation, I have already renewed my annual membership with WAS-H, how about you??

    Stay Safe!

  • April 07, 2020 12:39 PM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    by Ksenia Annis, Washrag Editor

    The beginnings of my audiovisual (AV) setup date back to when I decided to pursue my art full time. The immediate need was the ability to properly light and hang two-dimensional art for photographing. To this end, we installed track lighting on two walls and the ceiling of our landing. Using 5500 K (degrees Kelvin) color temperature bulbs, this enabled easy photo shoots as I produced my art. As time progressed, my AV need shifted from still photography to video as the business focus shifted towards demonstration and education. For the production of online classes, I needed the ability to video art pieces during painting. This required a camera mounted to shoot vertically down.

    Originally, I purchased a metal floor stand with a “selfie ring” - a circular light with a camera mount in the middle made for video bloggers. I mounted a cheap web camera on that stand, aimed it at my drawing table and filmed my first class. The thing I didn’t consider was that every time I moved at my table or applied a slightest pressure to it, the whole contraption shook and I had to cut shaky frames from my videos.

    A ceiling mount was an obvious solution and the contraption you see in the photos is our homemade engineered solution. It is a box on drawer slides for horizontal adjustments with the same 5500K lights. An old camera tripod bungeed to the box mounts the camera. It is helpful to have a business partner skilled in engineering solutions such as this. A note of caution with ceiling mounts. Most Houston homes have air conditioning equipment in the attic and it turns out ours was directly above my upstairs studio space. This resulted in unacceptable vibration being transmitted to the camera. I spent the first summer using this setup with the air conditioning off during shooting - we all must suffer for our art. Fortunately, the air conditioning was old and failed the next summer. The expensive replacement is not located above my studio and does not vibrate the ceiling in any case.

    Of course, I needed a way to record my voice and the Yeti Blue microphone and boom you see is used for all audio recording needs. It is extremely sensitive. It also required the air conditioning to be off or it would record too much background noise. I love my new quiet air conditioning system for giving me comfort while working!

    All AV recording is done directly into my Asus laptop. It is a high end gaming/graphics laptop purchased because I needed portability and the power to drive the Adobe Creative Suite I use to process my product. I no longer need that portability so my next computer will likely be a tower style PC as you can get much more power for less money. I also have a professional level video monitor so that my colors are displayed as true to life as possible. This is an important part of producing quality prints. It is helpful, but not entirely necessary for video production.

    For online classes, the majority of the camera work is focused solely on the work. I add the reference photo on screen, in post-production. In order to do that I needed software capable of displaying a second video source. For this we chose Open Broadcaster Software (OBS Studio).

    Online classes require introduction and ending sequences (intro and outro). These generally present the artist so I needed the capability to also video these sequences. We decided to use “green screen” and post process the backgrounds. Here you see our second floor landing converted to “green screen” production studio.

    In October 2019 we went to Florida where I taught a class at our friends’ art studio. I brought my artwork, my materials, my projector, but I forgot to bring my camera! We bought another one of the same type at the local BestBuy and I thought I’d return it after my guest tour was done.

    When we came back home, I decided to expand my video production to YouTube live streams and online live classes on Skilpe.com. This meant I needed to shoot simultaneous video of the art in progress and the artist working. Luckily, my prior equipment and software choices made this a simple matter of adding the Florida purchased camera to my existing setup. This camera mounts to the light ring I now use for the green screen head shots; it feeds into the OBS software, which is capable of multiple audio and video source presentation. The boom mounted microphone feeds into OBS and records the audio. OBS allows easy live streaming as well as recording.

    The setup was complete when I bought an iPad stand, so that I can show slides or a reference photo via screen mirroring using Lonely Screen software (free). All the devices are plugged into my laptop via a USD hub (unless you have a custom built computer, there will never be enough USB ports for all this stuff).

    Here is the list of hardware and software I use for video streaming and production:

    Green Screen Paint


    Track Lighting – Big Box home improvement stores or lighting stores

    5500K Bulbs -Lighting store or Amazon

    High end gaming/graphics computer- Video processing is intensive computing. Adobe Creative Suite requires heavy duty computing power to run smoothly. Consult an expert before purchasing.

    Yeti Blue microphone and boom stand


    Logitech C920 webcams


    Selfie Ring and Stand


    Ipad stand


    OBS Studio – https://obsproject.com/

    Free software that allows you to arrange the feed from all your devices into a “scene”. It has camera control features and can be used to record video, or stream live on YouTube and Facebook.

    Adobe Creative Suite - https://www.adobe.com/

    - Premier Pro and AfterEffects are two powerful programs I use to edit videos and create animated sequences and titles. Audition is the sound recording and editing program that integrates with Premier Pro.

    We also have file server and backup (Western Digital MyCloud Ultra), https://shop.westerndigital.com/products/network-attached-storage/wd-my-cloud-expert-series-ex2-ultra#WDBVBZ0000NCH-NESN

    Those video files are huge and large storage is essential. We also need to be able to easily share files as Patrick, in addition to engineering, also writes copy, films green screen and reference shoots and edits video and audio. The file server allows us to easily work on the same project.

    I love working on videos. Even though it is sometimes nerve wracking to do them live, after all it is a lot of fun to connect with fellow artists and art lovers.

    I hope you check out my YouTube channel and my classes - more info can be found on my website - tummyrubb.com. Please let me know in comments what you think and if you have any questions! 

  • April 07, 2020 12:30 PM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    What does the WAS-H Plein Aire Coordinator, Louise Bateman  do while self quarantined?   She gets out her Plein Aire equipment, sets up in her driveway and paints a Nandina bush.    The painting was not worthy of posting, (her inner critic was very loud), but just being outside, wetting the paints, and putting her brush to paper, made some of her stress melt away.   Perhaps tomorrow's painting will be worth posting.    She challenges all the other plein aire painters to send in what they are painting!

  • March 31, 2020 3:29 PM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)

    GENERAL MEETING & DEMO  via ZOOM Conference
    (new, temporary format)

       April 5, 2020  2:00 pm start

    Join the meeting via your phone or computer using ZOOM. Directions will soon be  mailed to all members so you can download ZOOM (easy and optional), and then join the fun by clicking on the link you will get in the email. ZOOM is the most popular way to video conference, much like FaceTime, but designed for multiple people.  You will also get to cast a vote for the upcoming slate of officers. Come see what all the buzz is about and learn another way to easily connect with those at a distance (family, friends).

    Meeting: 2:00 p.m.

    Demo: 2:10 - 2:40 p.m.

    Demo Artist: Ksenia Annis, live from her studio:

    Artist's toolbox: 3 materials I use to enhance my water media art
    Watercolor on white paper is always beautiful, but sometimes artists, in search of inspiration, want to try something different and to add materials and tools to their artistic arsenal. Ksenia recently purchased three new (to her) art materials, and tried incorporating them into her water media pieces. She will demonstrate how she did it and discuss the results.

    If you have questions about using Zoom, please head over to this link - https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206175806-Top-Questions

  • March 31, 2020 3:10 PM | Ksenia Annis (Administrator)
    On Friday, March 13, 2020, Association of Teaching Artists, Teaching Artists Guild, Creative Generation, National Guild for Community Arts Education, the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable, and Teaching Artists of the Mid-Atlantic hosted a free webinar to address how the COVID-19 health crisis is affecting teaching artists. A rich list resources discussed in the webinar (and more) is hosted on the Teaching Artists Guild’s website - https://www.teachingartists.com/

    Houston Arts Alliance is providing a COVID-19 Damage Assessment Survey and other resources on their website - https://ready.haatx.com/

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

    Dear Friends,

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

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

    Take care and stay safe,

    Kathleen Church
    President, WAS-H

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

    Hard Work, Difficult Times

    by Tom Kraycirik, IWE Director

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Art on the Go in Mexico

    by Jan McNeill

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

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

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

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

    Below are some photos from my experience.

    Beach side dinner view:

    View from my painting table for the week:

    Open Air demo by workshop instructor Frank Eber:

    Plein air beach excursion:

    Fishing boats of Boca de Tomatlan:

    One of the ubiquitous Tomatlan roosters:

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

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

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

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