Wednesday, May 18, 2016


The first item on the Agenda was the presentation of the Annual GCWS Scholarships.  Dot Burdin was the Chair, working with the Cincinnati Art Academy to find two talented and accomplished students.  Those chosen to receive the $500 award from the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society and the $500 award from the Mary Marxen Scholarship Fund are Courtney Wechman, and Alex Schempf.  These two young people told us a little bit about themselves, and the kinds of Art they are now studying.  They were very appreciative of the scholarships, and the members were happy to meet these budding artists and give them some help with their careers.  In addition to the awards, the students received a year’s membership in the GCWS, and so, it is possible that we will see them again at some of our meetings this year.  Thanks to Dot for making this all happen!

New Treasurer, Carol Fencl, gave a short report.  Our checking account has now been transferred to a business account, and she is receiving members’ checks for Membership.  We have sufficient funds to handle the business of the club.  If any member would like the details of the Treasury, please contact Carol and she will be happy to help you.

New Membership Chair, Lydia Rittinger, distributed the new Directories.  Thanks, Lydia!

Joyce Grothaus will have quite a few paintings in an Art Show at the Miami Township/Milford Civic Center on Friday, the 13th – 9:00-12:00.   These are paintings by former members of Susan’s (Grogan) Students, who paint at the Miami Township Senior Center.  There will also be a Chair Volleyball Tournament at Super Senior Friday!

Discussion of the GCWS Annual Exhibit/Show included reminders to get your Painting Information to Deb Ward – Name, Name of Painting, Price, etc BEFORE May 18.  You can do this by Phone, Email, or Snailmail.    On June 1 – the day of our next regular meeting – you may bring your paintings – with your check for entry – to the “Barn” before the meeting – from 9:00 – 10:00.  Paintings will be hung the afternoon of June 1.  The Barn will be open for viewing the show from June 2 through June 19.  They are closed on Mondays, and Tuesday (21st) is the Pick-Up Day – from 10:00 – 12:00.  Good Luck to everyone!

Chair Judy Reed is in the process of making sure we have all needed volunteers to make our show a success.   With everyone working together – this will happen!  We hope to see all members, with guests on Sunday, June 5 for the Reception.

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary, GCWS 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

PROGRAM - MAY 4, 2016

President, Kathy Lang, called the May meeting to order, and explained that we would have our Lesson first; followed by the Scholarship Presentation; then our regular meeting.
Todd Butt, Vice President of Ohio Watercolor Society
Claudia Taylor introduced Todd Butt, VP of the Ohio Watercolor Society, and teacher at the Middletown Art Center for the past 9 years.  Todd has an interesting background, studying biology at Marietta College, and aspects of “water” at University of Iowa.  Since retiring, he has been able to indulge his love of painting and teaching.  He paints to have a challenge and to have fun.  He aims to hold the viewer’s attention to each of his paintings for longer than the average time of 6 seconds that they usually give to each.  He said he finds teaching – especially those “A-ha” moments in the students’ progress, very fulfilling.

Todd says he learned from Homer Hacker that a painter should only spend 15 minutes painting a picture – to give it spontaneity and looseness.  Of course, it is essential that the painter must spend a great deal of time preparing and planning said painting.   Plan like a turtle; paint like a rabbit.   Make all the decisions about composition, lighting, shadows, etc.; and do all your sketching and “trying things out” on old paper first.  Then, you can avoid being a “white-knuckled” painter; you can be spontaneous!

Todd did a spontaneous painting at this point.  He showed us a little trick for making sure that your paint tube would open easily next time -  dip the top of the tube into water so that a bit of water goes into the tube, then put the top back on.  He also reminded us that we don’t have to make a 2 inch swatch with a 2 inch brush.  He loves “blooms”; makes them on purpose.  He had painted this particular scene many times; did it as a vignette, i.e., 3 corners of the paper are left white.   He paints for 10-12 minutes quickly; then goes away for a bit.  When he comes back, he gets new ideas about the painting.  He even “threw” some paint at it.

It was explained that there are many phases of Paint, Paper, and Brushes.  We use various combinations of wet and dry of each of the three to give different effects and results.

Sometimes the reason that a painting doesn’t hold the viewer’s interest or attraction is because there is something “wrong” with it; little things that cause the viewer to move on.  Todd calls these “Absolutes”, that is – details/elements that are found in our lives and in paintings that when incorrect, annoy the eye of the viewer.  These are laws or rules that our brains have experienced to interpret our surroundings as being Natural – solid, safe, together, physically correct and factual.  In some expert hands, these rules can be broken to get an effect or a feeling, but usually, it is disturbing to the viewer.  Todd gave us a listing of 13 Absolutes that we should avoid in our paintings, or look for in others, and showed how to avoid them.  They include such items as Reflections, Perspective, Verticals, Shadows, Depth, and Symmetry.

Todd also urged our members to consider being part of the Ohio Watercolor Society.  Four of our GCWS members will have paintings shown in the OWS show in October.  He was gracious to do a number of Critiques of members’ paintings.   We enjoyed Todd’s Presentation!

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary, GCWS, May 2016

Monday, April 25, 2016


Program Chair, Claudia Taylor, introduced our presenter for April, Craig Lloyd.  Craig received his degree from Wright State, and Masters from U.C.   He is an Associate Professor at Mt. St. Joseph and was the Judge for our 2015 GCWS Art Show.   His topic was “A History of Watercolor”.    We saw many wonderful slides of paintings which were representations of the subjects and elements of design that were discussed.
 The first element discussed was “Unity” – that is, repetition with variety, sometimes shapes, or color, or values.  Other elements of design include balance, proportion, and a focal point.

The history of watercolor begins about 16,000 B.C. by the “cave men” who drew on walls with charcoal, or perhaps even put paint pigments inside hollow bones, and blew air through them to make representations of their everyday life.  Some were found in France.  The Egyptians were able to create “paper” – papyrus, by pounding stems of plants, and used a type of watercolor about 275 B.C.   Chinese silk painting – watercolor or ink on silk came into being about 1100-1200 A.D.   Next, the Europeans used egg tempera on vellum (sheepskin).  The Limbourgh Brothers created magnificent manuscripts in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Chinese paper was used extensively as a trade medium, shipped throughout the known world in trade for other goods.  Paper as we know it was developed from about 220-500 A.D.   At first, Sicily was the center of papermaking; then it was made in Italy, France, and Germany.  Woven paper was refined in the 1760’s, and when the paper-making machine was invented in 1807, it was so improved and much more abundant, that many artists could now afford to buy the paper and really begin to paint.  Most started as apprentices and worked with the great artists.

Albrecht Durer was the first real watercolorist, using roundness, shading, and color.  He used watercolor and gouache, which was called “body color”.  Until about 1781, most artists had to make their own paint, but Reeves was the first to use honey as a preservative to keep the pigment moist.  In 1846, artists were finally able to purchase tubes of paint – gum Arabic and pigment and water, by Windsor & Newton.  This opened the field to another whole round of artists.

In Britain, the Royal Watercolor Society still used the art form of watercolor and gouche.  In 1841-1842, a wonderful watercolor painter, JMW Turner came upon the scene.  He painted landscapes, scenes, many with large skies, and architecture.
In America, the artists were chronicling America – the birds, plants, etc.  John J. Audubon , who was born in Haiti, but eventually lived in Kentucky, worked on a Birds of America folio book.  He owned a dry goods store, made a fortune, but went into bankruptcy.  Luckily, he went to Britain with his large 30” x 36” folio.  It was published, and it was a great success.

Winslow Homer painted in the 1900’s; painted the Color Light – Chicago.  John Singer Sargent also painted in the 1900’s – 900 oils, and 2000 watercolor paintings.  He lived in Europe, but also had U.S. citizenship; was also talented on the piano.

Other painters whose work we saw:  Paul Cezanne, an impressionist; Berthe Morisot (painted 1872-1882).  She was known as a great drawer, and a fast painter.  Our Taft Museum had a show of her paintings recently.  Paintings by Dixie Selden (1930s), Emma Mendenhall (1960’s), and Ida Holterhuff Holloway (1930’s)  were other slides that we enjoyed at this presentation.

Elizabeth Nourse, a Cincinnatian (Mt. Healthy – 1890’s) went to the Cincinnati Art Academy; was a student of Frank Duveneck.   Duveneck (1848-1919) lived in Covington, KY, learned his craft from the Masters in Germany, and a number of his paintings are displayed at the Basilica Cathedral in Covington and at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Members of the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society are following a long and very fine tradition of the many great watercolor painters who came before us.  Maybe, some day, some of our members will have paintings hanging in museums.

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary , GCWS, - April, 2016.   

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


The new President of the GCWS, Kathy Lang, called the April meeting to order.  There were no guests today.  If you are a watercolor artist (beginner or seasoned) in the Greater Cincinnati area, you are cordially invited to come and visit one of our meetings, and join the group if you are so inclined. 

As our new Treasurer, Carol Fencl was on a wonderful vacation, a short Treasury report was given:  the checking account has been transferred, and we have enough in our Treasury to handle all of our current needs.  Any member that would like to have more details is always welcome to talk to Carol.

Continuing Secretary, Joyce Grothaus, reminded members that forms for making Announcements; and copies of the Minutes are placed on the back table for those who do not have access to the Blog.  Let’s tell the world about your accomplishments!

Judith Reed, Chair of our Annual Art Show, gave her report.  All members were mailed the rules regarding the Show.  

New, revised, copies of the Pre-Registration form were handed out at the meeting.  The Exhibit will be at the “Barn” in Mariemont;  Hanging on June 1, Reception on June 5, and the Show will continue until June 20.  Each participating member is asked to bring food to the Reception, if possible.  Leadership Team members will provide liquid refreshments.

Info about the Show:     Pre-Registration -  before May 18.   In order to pre-register, you must get the information about your paintings – that is – Name of Painting, Medium, Price you would like to put on it, your name, and contact info,  to Deb Ward before May 18.  The entry fee for pre-registration is $10-one;  $15 for two.    You may get this to Deb by E-mail, Snail Mail, in person at the May meeting, or Telephone.  Do not send Deb any money; that is to be brought to the June 1 Meeting/Registration/ Hanging Day, with your paintings.   If you do not Pre-register your paintings, the cost is $20-one;  $25 for two, and there will not be an identifying card for your painting, and yours will not be on List of Artists/Paintings.  Let’s have a good showing!

New Membership Chair Lydia Rittinger will be getting a new Membership Booklet printed up soon.  We want you to be in it.  Please send your dues to Lydia so that you can participate in all the GCWS activities, and lessons.

Librarian Joan Ammerman has been making our club DVDs very accessible to members at each meeting.  If you would like to borrow one, please sign it out and next month sign it back in.  There are some great lessons contained in these DVDs!

Dot Burdin, Scholarship Chair, has been coordinating all of the details necessary in order for the GCWS to give out two Scholarships to deserving students.  There will be two freshman students from the Art Academy at our May meeting who have been chosen to receive these.  One is directly from GCWS, and one is from the Mary Marxen Fund.  It is always very satisfying to be able to give a bit of help to a striving artist, and hear about the work they are doing.

Workshop Chair, Dianna Duncan gave a report about the Workshop that GCWS will be offering on October 28, 29, and 30 this year.  Guy Magallanes will teach, and we have been told he is both talented and fun!   Members will have first choice to attend; there will be just 20 places.  Salad and bread will be served for lunch.  Reservations will be available in July.  Dianna will need help in order for this project to be successful.

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary, GCWS, April, 2016

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Marilyn's painting - completed during the program today.
Claudia Taylor, new Program Chair, introduced this month’s Teacher – Marilyn Bishop.  Claudia reminded us that Marilyn is the “creator” (along with some others) of the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society.  She has a rich history of artistic accomplishments, having taught, and having her work shown all around the Greater Cincinnati area.  She also continues to learn, and is always anxious to share the new ideas, sources, and techniques that she finds.  Her Subject for this demonstration -  “Paint the Background;  See the Foreground”.

Marilyn gave credit for learning about this technique a while back from Wanda Montgomery.  She has done a number of paintings like this, and thoroughly enjoys it.  She used a one-inch Robert Simmons brush with sharp edges, and 300 lb. paper so that it would hold firm while lots of “watery” paint was put on it.  She uses only three colors for each painting.  For this one, she used raw sienna, burnt sienna, and ultramarine blue.

She began by putting “dabs” of the lighter color paint on the paper, rather randomly, leaving lots of white space, particularly in the lower third of the paper; then dried it.  She explained that it is “all about the shapes”.  With a pencil, she drew in the shapes of three pears, some overlapping.  Using the same colors, she painted around these shapes.  Then, using different mixtures of the same colors, let them run together around the shapes.  She chose to leave one corner very light, but put thick paint in some places.  Don’t get too dark too soon.  She used various implements, stamps, etc. to make subtle “patterns”, particularly on these thick paint places.  Next, she sprayed some places, causing rivulets to run down to the bottom of the paper.  She even tapped the bottom of the paper on the table to cause more to run.

As Marilyn dried her paper in between, she passed around to the members some examples of her completed paintings, and some that were made into cards, etc.  Everyone really enjoyed seeing these.  Marilyn used VistaPrint to get the cards made.
Continuing on, she made her colors darker, and painted again around the pear shapes; sprayed more, and “patterned” more.  This causes the shapes to come “forward”.   This is the time to paint in a bit of detail on the main shapes.  It was interesting to see them become very visible as she worked.   When time was up, Marilyn, as a usual perfectionist painter like most of us are, said she would like to do a few more things to it before calling it finished.  The group asked her to bring it to the next meeting for all to see.

Marilyn also told us about hanging a few of her paintings out on her porch, with plexiglass and a metal frame, and on a foam core backing, the weather did not harm them; all were amazed.  She also told us about a company she is working with lately ( that will take your painting and put it on a pillow, or cup, etc. and sell it for you.  The artist gets a small markup for each one sold.  Marilyn always does a great job of teaching us, and inspiring us to try new things.

There was just one painting for Critique this month.

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary, GCWS,  March, 201

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


It is Happy New Year time for the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society as we did not meet in January or February.  Members were very glad to reconnect with friends and also with our watercolor educational pursuits.

Marilyn Bishop, our outgoing President called the meeting to order, welcoming all members and guests, including Rosemary, Bonnie, and Marsha.   Today is the day our current Leadership Team “retires”, and the new Team takes office.  Marilyn also wanted to specifically honor some members who are handling some very important “jobs” for the group.  Joan Ammerman takes care of the club’s DVD Library (we have a new one – A Little Watercolor, by Karin Huehold);  Jean Soller prepares and sends out the Reminder Postcards every month; Dianna Duncan is working on the Workshop, and Judith Reed is chairing our Annual Exhibit.

They look like a happy bunch!

The group honored Marilyn with a gift card to Hobby Lobby and a beautiful bouquet of flowers in appreciation for all that she has done to support GCWS, especially this past year.  The Leadership Team was called to the front, and thanked for their service.  Then each new LT member was called up to “replace” the outgoing one.   The new Team will be headed up by Kathy Lang, President.  Lydia Rittinger is now Membership, assisted by ongoing member Jane Hittinger.  Carol Fencl is the new Treasurer, and Claudia Taylor is the new Program Chair.  Joyce Grothaus will remain as Secretary, as well as Joan Miley as Facilities Chair.  Deb Ward has also agreed to stay on as the Blog “owner”.  The GCWS certainly appreciates all of the good work and time spent by all of the outgoing LT members.

Now they look like they are serious enough to hold their positions!

The members asked Kathy Lang to tell us a bit about herself.  Kathy is new to Watercolor, only taking it up after she retired not too long ago.  She started as a student of Deb Ward.  She joined the GCWS to continue learning about new techniques, and to expand her artistic horizons.  She went to U.C., starting in the Education field, but then changed to Recreation courses.  She has been a lifeguard, taught aquatics and other recreational activities, and finally headed up the whole Recreation program in Cincinnati, responsible for ball fields, and all manner of activities.  She loved the wonderful variety of Programs that she was involved with, especially the Reds Rookies Success Program.  She is definitely an “Organizer” and an “Instigator”, and we all appreciate that she has taken on the Presidency.

Sally Wester, outgoing Treasurer, gave her report.  We are in good financial shape, and will be in better shape when all members pay their dues for this year.  (It’s time to give or send them to Carol Fencl, new Treasurer).  Our good friends, Shirley Knollman, and Howard Krauss will not be renewing, and Howard sent a very nice letter to the group, thanking everyone for all their help and friendship over the years.
There was a discussion of the Annual Exhibit, to be held June 1 through June 21st, at the “Barn” in Mariemont about how the show will be set up, run, etc.  Volunteers will be needed to help out with all aspects of the show - - sitters, refreshments, etc.  Each member will receive a mailing with all information about the Exhibit.  Please read it carefully as some things have changed for this year.  In order for the Exhibit to be first-class, and fun, it is necessary for all members to cooperate.  Directions about paintings allowed, how to prepare them, and how to register them, etc. will be in the mailing and/or on the Blog.

Dianna Duncan gave a report on the GCWS Workshop for this year.  As we know, Dianna does a good job of making sure we have a great WS and a fun time.  This year we intend to have it Oct 28-29-30 (subject to availability of Teacher).  She is working on getting Guy Magallanes.

Members then made some announcements about upcoming Art events around the area.  Deb Ward is giving some 2-day workshops at her home, and put flyers on the back table.  It was said that one’s blood pressure goes continually down as you drive to Deb’s place. J  Deb has been accepted into the Georgia Watercolor Society National Juried Exhibit, one more honor that she has recently accumulated.   Judy Reed told of a drawing class by Charley Burger at the Blue Ash Library, and Joan Miley told of some Fri. nite “openings” at the Art Club and the Barn.  Carrie Burns Brown will be giving a Workshop in Columbus in connection with the Ohio Watercolor Society Show.

Claudia Taylor told of our upcoming Demonstrations.  April – Craig Lloyd, on the History of W/C Design;  May – Todd Butt, vice president of the Ohio Watercolor Society; and in June – (on Hanging Day), our own Tom Schroeder, on Composition;  before introducing our Teacher for March, Marilyn Bishop –“ Paint the Background; See the Foreground”.
Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary, GCWS, March, 2016. 

Pre-registration by May 18.
Annual Show drop off date - June 1 - from 9 - 10 a.m. - 
prior to our June meeting at "The Barn".
More information will be mailed prior to our April meeting. 

Monday, December 7, 2015


On a foggy-by-the-river December morning, the GCWS members gathered to celebrate the Christmas Holiday season.  It was great to see everyone dressed up and ready for fun!

Marilyn Bishop, president, called us together for a short meeting.  She recognized our newest member, Elizabeth.

Sally Wester, treasurer, gave her report.  Our finances are in good shape.  If any member would like to see the details, please talk to Sally.

We will not meet in January or February as these months so often offer extremely bad weather.  (However, the new Officers will try to meet on the first Wed. of Jan. to plan.)  They will actually take office for the March meeting.

Deb Ward, membership, said we now have 91 members.

Joan O’Leary, program chair, gave us an idea of what programs we will have in the new year – March – Marilyn Bishop;  April – Craig Lloyd, teaches watercolor at Mt. St. Joe’s and was the Juror for our Aug. Annual Show;  May – TBA  (Alan Hutton needed to cancel.)
Announcements – Joan Miley – wonderful Christmas Event at the “Barn” 5th and 6th;  Dot Burdin – for Dec. weekends, (Sats and Suns) the Cincinnati Art Club will have 20 Painters displaying their work ;  Tom Schroeder won the Purchase Award at the Kentucky Watercolor Society Show.

The GCWS then acknowledged the great job that has been done this whole year by Les Miley.  The group recognizes and appreciates all of his hard work in having things ready and set up, and for whatever help we ask of him, and gave him a token of our appreciation.

There were some items that were brought in to sell this year, but not nearly as many as last year – but, some people still got very good bargains.

Then – it was time to party!  The group played our version of Pictionary – and, after lots of oh no’s and much laughter, a winner at each table won a very nice prize. 

Members outdid themselves in bringing in wonderful “eats” and “drinks”.   Great time for all!

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary, GCWS, December, 2015.