Monday, November 16, 2015


Everyone at the meeting was very pleased to have Barb Smucker return this month to give our program, and a mini-workshop afterwards.  First, Barb put on her apron – because her painting is “messy”.  She told us about her thoughts and decisions as she studied in Art School, where she had to try all kinds of art and art projects.  She liked pastels and experimenting with watercolors.  Later on she started having trouble with the pastels dust getting into her lungs, and she opted to stay with water-based media, which she believes is uniquely beautiful.  Her goal now is to “not fuss too much, and try a lot of things”.  She mentioned a book called “The Confident Creative”, which encourages one to “know” your own self/your own work.

Barb is a daily painter.  She begins by doing “exercises” - don’t think much; just move your hand/brush/paint; put emotional feeling into it.  Later, when you begin to “paint”, let those feelings return.  Art is about “my story”; tell yours.  Ask yourself – What am I now taking an interest in?  Look for inspiration around you.  New ventures often cause us discomfort; but, just start where you are.  Barb encouraged us to just paint for Joy.  If you do something regularly, it will become more comfortable.

Lately, Barb has been using a limited palette, with a triad of colors along with black and white.  For the demonstration she used quin gold, quin red, cobalt blue, with white and black gesso; the gesso to get a “matte” finish.  Sometimes she uses freezer paper as a temporary palette; she also uses Press & Seal to cover her palette to preserve paint for her next session.  She uses big, inexpensive brushes.  She started by putting down water on much of paper, but not the whole sheet; she left some spaces.  Using almost pure gold and red pigment (warm), she spontaneously spread the paint over the page, turning her paper around on all four sides, to make sure that the colors made a balanced composition.  Members of the group were called to front to put more paint on the paper!   Let it dry.  Then, the fun!  She swirled; she dabbed pure paint; she squeegeed; she scraped; she splattered wet paint; turned the paper; put in unplanned lines; and then used an old curler to make some soft smears.  This was the First Layer!  By the way, she was using Hot Press paper, Fluid brand.

For the second layer, she started using some darker values.   Look at what you have; then “enhance” what you like using similar colors wax crayons.  Create some lines, darken places.  She had some more volunteers try out the crayons on the project.  She urged experimentation – what if I do this?   Then, she mixed some duller paint, and turned the paper to see where she felt she needed it.  Barb used some stencils that she made to remove some paint in places, and then used a bit of blue and black around the project.  Let everything dry.

For the third layer, Barb showed us how using the Basic Rule of “Working a Lot against a Little” worked on this Abstract project, and on some that she brought to show to us.  If your painting has a Lot of warm, use a Little cool.  If it has a Lot of round, use a Little straight, a Lot of light, use a Little dark, etc.  Sometimes she also adds some Mixed Media items to her project at this point.  At this point, carefully examine your whole page, and make decisions on what more is needed.   The final effort is to use a “mat” to move around over the whole project to find your amazingly spontaneous “Abstract” painting that you never thought you could do.

Barb was not finished yet.  She did a couple of Critiques, and then, after lunch, gave a wonderful mini-workshop for those who had signed up.  Workshop participants were pleasantly surprised with their Abstracts.

Barb now has a Studio at the Pendleton in downtown Cincinnati.  They have open studios and receptions on the Final Friday of each month.  

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary, GCWS – November, 2015

Monday, November 9, 2015


On a gorgeous November day, the GCWS had a fine showing of members and guests for our meeting.  President Marilyn Bishop, disregarding her aches and pains from her recent fall, called the meeting to order, and asked the guests to introduce themselves.  We had Barb, from an Art Class at the Sycamore Senior Center, LaDonna Fritz, and our new member Marjorie Grubbs, student of Lois Schaich.  Welcome to all!

Marilyn asked for a show of hands for those staying for the mini-workshop after the Program, so we could order pizza for lunch.  There were about 12 who stayed, learned firsthand how to develop their own version of the Program techniques that were presented today.  (All of those who stayed were delighted with the workshop.)

Treasurer Sally Wester gave her report.  We have a healthy balance; details are always available by talking to Sally.  She is, however, resigning from this job, after doing it beautifully for a number of years.  There was discussion of who would be willing to “run” for this office, as we were going to have nominations and voting for the Leadership Team today.

Membership Chair Deb Ward’s report – we have 90 current members.  She prepared a paper with the names and info for new people who are not in the current Membership Book, so that we may put them into our own books.  These reports are always put on the back table, - as are forms upon which members can write any information they have for Announcements – to give to the Secretary to put into the Minutes/Blog.  There are always some copies of Minutes from the last meeting also on the back table.

Marilyn next presented the Slate of Nominees for the new Leadership Team:
            President  -  Kathy Lang
            Membership  -  Lydia Rittinger
            Program Chair  -  Claudia Taylor
            Secretary  -  Joyce Grothaus
            Treasurer  -  Carol Fencl
As there were no additional Nominations from the floor, Marilyn asked the members to Vote for the presented Slate of Officers for the Leadership Team.  All members were in favor and the new Team was approved.  These members will take Office officially at the March meeting (as we will have no meetings in January or February).  The group will have a meeting before then with the present Team to discuss the transition.

Eileen Hulsman told the membership that Jean Vance would be interested in doing a Workshop for our group.  Her name will be added to the list we have for possible Presenters for our Workshop – which will probably be in the Fall this year, as the Annual Exhibit will be in the Spring (June).

Announcements:  Diana Marra has work in the Magical Starlight Celebration, from November 5 through December 31 at the Cincinnati Art Center.  She will be selling original paintings and notecards.

Fun!  Fun!  For our December meeting, we will have our Annual Party and Sale.  All members attending are asked to bring something to eat – either something you have made (yummy) – or you can even buy it  J   The Leadership Team will provide the liquid refreshments.

If you have some “gently used” Art Supplies/books, etc., that you don’t need any more, please bring them – someone else would love to buy them.   Also, if you have some small artwork such as cards or bookmarks that you would like to offer for sale, you may do so.  Please put a “gentle” price on them – even dollar amounts please – and put an envelope, with your name on the outside, on your items so that members may put their money into your envelope. 
Reminder:  there will be no meetings in January or February.

Program Chair Joan O’Leary (who, by the way, did a fantastic job this year) announced that Marilyn Bishop will give the Program in March.  The Judge for our August Annual Exhibit, and professor at Mt. St. Joseph College, will present in April, and in May, Alan Hutton (whose work we saw when we took our Bus Trip to Middletown) will present.  What a great lineup of Programs to start the GCWS new year!
Submitted by Joyce Grothaus,  GCWS Secretary, November, 2015

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Trish McKinney
Our Presenter was Trish McKinney, who said she was “so glad to be here” – especially since she encountered quite a bit of traffic on the way.  Trish has quite a resume, including being an award-winning artist in the Ohio Watercolor Society, teaching in Italy, and teaching an upcoming class in France.  She will also be giving a presentation at this year’s Ohio Watercolor Society’s Show October 18th, in Middletown.
Trish loves to tell stories with her paintings, and she has lately become very interested in Chet Close’s concept of painting a work that looks very different from far away or near.  This is why she called today’s presentation “Layers of Understanding”.
Trish first sees a “Moment” – for instance, her daughter’s hair blowing in the wind.  She paints that, and then picks a stencil that “fits” the feeling, or emotion, or understanding that she wants to convey with her painting.  She encouraged us to “Be Aware” of such moments.

She used Arches 140 lb. hot press paper, with a matte medium for a watercolor under-painting of her daughter’s face and hair with lots of color.  She is now a certified teacher with Golden products and likes the pigment quality of the Golden fluid acrylics paints.  She used the matte medium so that she could “lift” paint later if she chose to.  She likes having “options”.  Trish has purchased stencils from, and now she has created some of her own that they are selling for her.  She explained how we too can make our own by drawing a pattern, finding a local place that does “signs”; have them die-cut stencils of your pattern.  Or, you might find something you can use at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby – for both stencils, or other “tools” that are made for crafts, but can be used to be creative in your painting.

Trish first used stencil adhesive to keep it attached onto her painting.  Then she used little sponge rollers to “paint” on gesso and two paint colors – one light, one dark – that had already been used in the original under-painting – to bring vitality, interest and excitement into the work.  She brought light values into dark, and dark values into light, and made lost and found edges.  As she worked, she stepped back and studied it, looking for any place that needed to be “balanced” with a light or dark color; or needed to be made “cool” or warm”; and to see if she needed to “lift”, with alcohol, any place (particularly on the face).  This is why you need a good strong painting first; so you can “play”.  All of this gives you “layers”.  It takes a great deal of courage to paint over an already wonderful painting.

Trish emphasized how important it is to be part of a “community” of artists – a group that supports each other, paints with each other (even the Masters did this), and values all members, not taking anyone for granted.

Trish then led some Critiques of work brought in by members, and gave us pointers on how we could learn to critique our own paintings.

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary, GCWS, October, 2015

Thursday, October 15, 2015


Many of you were already aware that our President, Marilyn Bishop, recently had a bad fall, had knee surgery, and was not able to come to our meeting today.  Sally Wester, Treasurer, graciously agreed to fill in for Marilyn to lead the business part of the day.  It was also announced that Rhonda Carpenter also had a fall, and while no surgery, has to take it easy for awhile.

Sally introduced our two new members, Shirley Cooper, from Batavia, who loves watercolor and is looking forward to learning all she can, and Cindy Maxson.  We also had three guests:  Elizabeth Clark, who just started painting w/c, and found us online;  Rosemary Leicht and Joan Keuney, Union Township, who want to expand their horizons.   Jacqueline Sullivan, who came to the meeting today to help our Presenter, is herself a teacher of acrylics.  Welcome to all!

Sally also gave the Treasurer’s Report – we have adequate money in our account to handle our needs.  If anyone wants more specifics, please contact Sally.

Announcements:  Jacqueline told us about a workshop that Trish McKinney is giving in her studio in Tipp City, OH, on Oct. 22, 23, 24.  It is titled “Experimental Watercolor”.  It will encompass w/c and acrylic, and pouring.  Info:
It was announced that our Annual Exhibit will be at the “Barn” again next year; this time in June  (1–21).  Judith Reed will be the Chair of this event.
Deb Ward currently has paintings featured at the Indianapolis Museum of Art for the Watercolor Society of Indiana show there (through the end of November) and also at the Carmel Gallery of the Hoosier Salon in Carmel, IN (through the end of October).

It is time for a new slate of Officers on the GCWS Leadership Team.  Small blue cards were passed out to attending members, with space to write in member names that you would like to nominate for the various offices.  You may nominate yourself, or another member.  If you were not at the meeting, and wish to nominate someone, you are certainly very welcome to do so.  Please mail, or email, or call in your nominations to Marilyn, Sally, or Joyce BEFORE Halloween (Oct 31), as Nov. 4 is the day we will all be voting for the Leadership Team.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Claudia Taylor, as Acting Program Chair for today, announced that the Presenter for November will be Barb Smucker.  The title of her program is “Layers of Love”, about abstract painting, and she will give a free mini Workshop after the meeting.  If you intend to stay for the w/s, please bring your own regular supplies, i.e., brushes, paints, water container, etc.  She would also like you to bring a piece of Hot Press Paper, and w/c pencils or pens.  We will be ordering pizza for lunch.  If you would prefer something else, you are welcome to bring your own.

There is a wonderful opportunity for us to attend the Ohio Watercolor Society Show this year.  It is being held at the Middletown Art Center.  Our GCWS has four members who have had their paintings accepted into the show.  Fabulous!  If you are interested in going, it might be good to call the MAC to check just when they are open (we believe they are not open on Fri, or Sat.)  On Sunday, the 18th from 2-4, they have a Trish McKinney workshop.

Our Presenter for this meeting was Trish McKinney.

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, GCWS Secretary, October, 2015

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Our Presenter for September was our own Louise Allen.  She has been painting now for 15 years, first with her husband Sam, attending workshops in many places, even overseas in such places as Paris, Amsterdam, and Nice, and since his passing, continuing on her own path.  Thus, the title of her Presentation – “Unleashed”.  She has been able to let him go, to ascend.  He is no longer “trapped” in her heart.  This, after a very spiritual experience, in which he let her know that he loved her, and that she would be “OK”.

Louise is currently very interested in working on Yupo (plastic) paper, with alcohol inks (Ranger Rick or Adirondack).  One of her inspirers is Cathy Taylor.  Louise told us it is a good idea to wear gloves because it is very staining (but, she doesn’t).  J  She loves the alcohol ink because the colors are very bright, and they spread out.  First, she spritz’s 90-91% alcohol on the paper, then drops on the ink in small spots, and lets it move around.  As she watches the action on the paper, she decides what her painting is going to be about.

Louise has just one eye, and she believes that she sees the world differently; but then, everyone does.  She encouraged us to look at the world with two eyes, and then close one, and see the difference.  Louise is all about seeing the world differently, and experiencing it differently, and lately has taken to meditating to relieve stress.  She breathes in and when breathing out, thinks her mantra, “Be Calm”.  Her current morning prayer is “Whatever”, and evening prayer is “Oh, well”.  Her brain is full of “flowers”.
Examples of her work show that her brain is full of many other wonderful subjects and colors, and her creativity is exploding!  She gave us many examples of how to experiment with this media – drip the ink and then spray with alcohol; blow on the paint and paper with a straw; use magic markers to add to the paint; outline something in black marker.  She uses a heavyweight Yupo paper which can take more experimenting and abuse.

Louise showed us how to lift color with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol, how to spray mousse, or shaving cream in a “cake pan”, then spritz ink on it, swirl a straw through it, or splatter ink with a toothbrush on it; then lay a piece of Yupo paper on it, to see what happens.  She sometimes uses a stencil to get an effect.  She doesn’t use a brush or a tool, since she found out she can just “throw it on”. 

But her “throwing it on” yields wonderful artistic results, particularly when she frames her work – which she says, is the “name of the game”.

Louise gave us a delightful and inspiring Presentation, and it speaks volumes that some of the members were heard to say “I wish we could have her on tape”.

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary, GCWS, September, 2015

Friday, September 11, 2015


The meeting, well attended, was brought to order by president, Marilyn Bishop.   She introduced our newest member, Marjorie Grubbs from Bright, Indiana.  Welcome, Marjorie!  Guests were also introduced, Kathy Schmid (Deb), MaDonna (Carol), and Debby (Louise).

As there were so few people who intended to stay after the meeting to paint, it was cancelled;  maybe next month.

Sally Wester gave the Treasurer’s Report – we have adequate money for our needs.  She did recommend that we consider raising the entry fee for the annual exhibit.  This will be discussed at the Leadership Team meeting immediately following this meeting.   If anyone would like to see details of the budget, etc., please talk to Sally. 

Everyone was reminded that copies of the Minutes from last meeting are provided by Secretary, Joyce Grothaus, on the back table – for those who do not have access to the Blog.  Also, there are forms for members to fill out and hand in to Joyce about Announcements that you would like to make, or info for the Blog.

Deb Ward, Membership Chair, gave our membership number as currently 89.
It was announced that Nancy Pennington, member, died a few weeks ago; no other info.

Carol McAfee gave a report on the Annual Exhibit at the Barn. She said the Exhibit Judge was really impressed with the caliber of work presented; said he immediately saw at least 15 “winning” paintings; wished he had more awards to give out. He took a great deal of time in his judging. Congratulations to the winners – 1st – Carolyn Hibbard; 2nd – Tom Schroeder; 3rd – Deb Ward. Honorable mentions went to Venetia Wang, Lydia Rittinger, Claudia Taylor, and Carol Steur.

There was a bit of discussion about what work may be entered into the Exhibit.  Only Original Paintings, from your Original Sources;  Work that has not been shown in previous GCWS shows, may be entered.   This will be emphasized for next year.
Carol reminded us that she has chaired the Exhibit for two years, and we will need a new Chair for next year.  She has really good notes, and had everyone who contributed time or effort to making the Exhibit a success, stand.  About half the members stood; a good sign that the Chair does not have to do all the work.  J   The August dates at the Barn are not available for 2016, so we are looking at dates in June.  The Leadership Team will discuss at their meeting.

Marilyn asked the current Leadership Team members to stand and give a short summary of the duties of their office so that members may consider if they would like to contribute to the good of the GCWS by assuming an office for next year.
Marilyn, President, sees this office as being one of “support” – helping the Leadership Team members do a good job, keeping things “on track”, and supporting members to receive what they want from their membership.

Deb, Membership & Blog -  Membership is keeping track of names, info, and numbers of members, having GCWS pamphlets available for the public when appropriate, and preparing/updating the Membership Book once each year.   The Blog Chair keeps the Blog updated and interesting, and accepts and publishes the Minutes and Program Write-up, supplementing it with photos.

Sally, Treasurer, has performed this duty for five years, and believes that it would be a good idea for someone else to handle it now.   Her main duties are: giving a report at each meeting, keeping accurate records of incoming and outgoing monies, making deposits of dues, etc., writing checks for various payments, and preparing the Budget.
Joyce, Secretary, discussed taking the Minutes at each meeting, as well as the Write-up of the Program, and writing them in a timely fashion; sending these items to the Blog Chair, and printing copies to be taken to the meeting for members who do not have access to the Blog.  She mentioned that holding an office is a good way to participate in the group more fully; to get to know other members in a very meaningful way; and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Joan, Program Chair, talked about her duties; contacting people to do Programs (with help from the Leadership Team and members), keep a record of all Programs and info about them; introduce the Presenters.

Joan, and Jane, Hospitality Chairs, make sure that our facilities are ready for the meeting, prepare coffee, and sometimes food;  make/ handle members’ name tags; make members feel welcome.

Dianna, Workshop Chair, will keep this position again for next year.  Thanks, Dianna.   She asked for any ideas that members have for W/S Presenters, to add to her list.  We usually have the W/S in May, but will consider the Fall, if the Annual Exhibit is in June.
All positions are eligible for Nominations – either for yourself or another member.  Please keep this in mind for the October meeting, as Elections will be in November.  Are you able to give a bit of your time and talents to GCWS to keep it a successful endeavor?

Joan reminded us that members may borrow CDs, and DVDs by signing them out and signing them back in.  It is a great way to learn a new way of doing something.

Janet Vennemeyer told the group that Mary Helen Wallace is closing her Painter’s Cove, and has many paints, etc. for sale.

The Ohio Watercolor Society Annual Show will be at the Middletown Art Center from September 18 thru October 24.  Five of our members have entries in the show.
Diana Marra has work in the Middletown Arts Festival on Saturday, Sept. 12.

GCWS Program for October will be “Layers of Understanding” by Trish McKinney, and November will be “Abstract Art” by Barb Smucker.

There was a short Critique of paintings presented by new member Marjorie Grubbs.

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary, GCWS – September, 2015

Monday, August 24, 2015


Jean Vance
The Presenter for the July meeting was member Jean Vance, multi-talented artist with two Masters Degrees in Art.  Some of her accomplishments – Adjunct Professor at Miami University and UC; Private Teacher at the Middletown Art Center, has had numerous one-woman shows and awards.  She personally likes Art from Abstracts to Realistic.  She has been working in Watercolor, Glass Enamel on Copper, Transparent Glass, and Jewelry.
The title of her Program for GCWS in August – Things You Want to Know About Painting

The first thing she taught us was – to remember to bring your apron – so you don’t wipe your brushes on your clothes.  Someone came up with a “makeshift” apron for her to use.  This fit in very well with her next piece of advice – Have Fun – it’s just a piece of paper!  When you paint, make it your own; whatever means something to you.  Jean has a desire to “preserve” old things that are disappearing; she preserves them by painting them.  She says Artists have to believe in themselves.

Jean discussed some of her current favorite colors, and surprised us by stating that she has five palettes, using certain ones for certain projects.  She encouraged us to learn about our paints; which are transparent, which are opaque, which mix well, etc.  She uses Schmicke Resist Fluid (from Dick Blick) which dries either clear or blue, and comes out of the container well.  
Creating "stubble"
She also showed how she uses sand paper to make “stubble” on a man’s face, as well as some “reflections” in water.  By the way, she uses large tubs of water when painting.  She believes in using very good quality brushes, Sable making the best point; Squirrel holding much paint and water.  She also uses Rat Whiskers brushes when she needs a Rigger brush; holding lots of paint, and enabling long thin lines.  She uses one or two inch flat brushes for a great deal of her work; encouraged us to use the biggest brush we can.  Jean usually doesn’t tape her paper (usually Arches 140  or 300 lb) down as she might want the deckled edges to show.

Creating rocks

Adding some greenery behind the rocks
Some Tips:
To encourage your creativity, use different sizes and shapes of paper.
Start your paintings in different ways:  most important item first; favorite color first, etc.
Start your painting at the bottom and work your way up.
Combine a “portrait/figure” with tools of his trade as the background.
Have horizontal, vertical, and diagonal shapes in your painting.
Don’t be “stingy” with your pigments.
Jean cannot paint every day because of teaching, and “Life”.  She does many, many sketches, sometimes accumulating ten at a time, and then paints when she is inspired to do so.  She mats and frames her own paintings; one time cutting 160 mats in one session.
Creating line work with rat whisker brush
Members may want to pay close attention to Jean’s advice and tips after seeing the wonderful work she entered into our Annual Exhibit.

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, GCWS Secretary, August 2015