Wednesday, July 20, 2016

MEETING - JULY 6, 2016

Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society - July 6, 2016

Our President, Kathy Lang, called the meeting to order, and welcomed our new members and guests - Helmut Kientz, a newly retired architect who has been painting watercolors for about five years (see Announcements); Angie Larimer, who has been very involved with photography, and is now very interested in painting, and Eileen Hulsman's niece, also an architect, and new member of GCWS.

A discussion of our recent Art Exhibit brought many good comments, and many thank you’s
to all who participated and volunteered to make it a success. The show was well hung, was well attended, and members and guests greatly appreciated the Paintings and the celebration, and the Chair of the Event, Judith Reed. Some suggestions for next year: upgrade the Ribbons for the winners; have a co-chair, and heads of a number of committees; have someone actually painting at the Reception, and maybe while “sitting”; find out a way to be able to accept credit cards for payment when
someone wants to purchase a painting; perhaps allow winners (except First Place) to win an award the following year. The Leadership Team will take all these comments and suggestions into account at their meeting. A Reminder was given to those who sold paintings from the Exhibit, to send their commission check to the Barn.

Announcements: Helmut Kienze has a Personal Watercolor Show for the month of August at the Main Source Bank, in Bright, Indiana on State Line Rd. Congratulations! Tom Schroeder was juried into 2016 Pennsylvania Watercolor Society Show and won the “Juror’s Award”. He was also juried into 2016 Art Comes Alive Show, and received Signature Status from the Ohio Watercolor Society. 3 Congratulations, Tom! Deb Ward is holding some two-day Workshops at her home.  Deb reminded everyone to send her any interesting info about yourself that she can put on the Blog.

Dianna Duncan, Chair of our Workshop Event sent out Application Forms to all members for the workshop to be held Oct. 29, 30, 31 at our regular meeting place. Only two places are left open at this time. If you would like to be on a waiting list, please contact Dianna.

Treasurer Carol Fencl gave her report. We have enough money in our account to handle all of our business. We have enough in the Mary Marxen Fund to give two more scholarships next year.

There were a number of members who were staying after the meeting to paint together. Next month, we will again have “open painting”. Everyone is encouraged to bring your supplies. We will order pizza for lunch. We will watch part of a DVD; then  paint, before watching another part; then paint. It should be fun!

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary, GCWS

Monday, June 20, 2016


Tom (in green shirt) giving us his Power Point presentation on Composition
Tom Schroeder, GCWS Member, is basically a self-taught artist who has been using Watercolor for 20 years. He was raised in Southern Minnesota, and credits his early natural surroundings, such as marshes, woods, waterfowls, etc. for his love of painting nature scenes and outdoor subjects. His college training is as an architect, and he also was an exchange student in England, which added to his interest in painting historical buildings and other old and well-used objects. He believes that Beauty is found everywhere. He has recently won awards in the Juried Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky Watercolor Society Shows. Congratulations, Tom!

Tom enjoys designing bonsai plants, and finds there is a great similarity in composing for Painting and for Bonsai. Composition is the most important component for success in both of these endeavors. Tom’s definition of Composition - the intentional arrangement of elements in the work to tell a story.

Tom’s Basic Elements of Composition:  Division of Space; Arrangement of Elements; Nature of Elements; Relationship of the Elements.  Also to be discussed, Compositional Errors.  Concerning the Division of Space, the following subjects were discussed: Rule of Thirds, the Golden Section (nautilus squares into larger squares); Curves (S curves); Asymmetry; Balance (energy of opposing elements); Perspective (vanishing points, and what is your viewpoint?); Diagonals; Horizontals; and Verticals.

Next discussion covered the Arrangement of Elements such as: Grouping (usually an odd number is best) (the mind can only absorb 11 items comfortably). More than 11 items is called a Grove; Repetition (want similar, but not exactly the same); and Pattern (or disruption of patterns).
Visual Space - one needs to leave room for movement of live objects.
Discussion of space includes Depth; Triangle; Interval of spacing (uneven); Viewing Angle (take your own pictures); Abstraction (real closeups); Massing (can be simple pieces carefully placed); and Void - a “gap”; a non-element.

We saw slides of the many different aspects of the Nature of Elements - (can be simple or complex). Under the Nature of Elements, we include:
Color (Hue, Saturation); Value; Detail; Focus; Lighting (major component for drama); Line (straight, curved, Point); Geometry; Surface; Form; Simplicity; Texture; and Brightness or Darkness.

Then we considered the Relationships of the Elements. Under this heading:
Contrast; Parallel; Scale/Proportion; Mother/Child; Pattern (all are part of a whole); Tangent (touching to show connection); Edge; Emotion; Story Telling; Tension; Proximity; Meaning; Alignment; Interest (Center of Interest); Unity/Harmony; Mood; Humor; and Movement.

It is amazing how many thoughts we need to think; how many considerations we need to consider; how many lessons we need to learn; and how much imagination we need to imagine before we can produce an interesting painting.

And, when we think we have done this, we must take an extra good look at, and try to find any “Compositional Errors”, such as Awkward Tangent Points, Boring Subject Matter, Head “Trees”; Lack of Focus (no Center of Interest); Too Active (too many COI); Items which Lead Out of the Picture; Symmetry; Centered Horizon/Vertical; Improper Lighting; Boring Repetition; Even Numbers; Visual Echo; Static Spacing; Centered COI; Lack of Contrast; Poor Alignment; or a Poor Viewing Angle.  Wow! And the GCWS Members still manage to do great work, and produce many, many excellent paintings with Good Composition!

Tom gave us many, many topics to think about, and then he encouraged us to draw on our own personal life experience, and our own personal experiences to tell stories.  Identify our interests; create areas of interest; visit and explore environments which contain our interests, and capture images of these environments. We will never run out of ideas for paintings!

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

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


As promised, here are photos of our recent show.

The entry foyer showcasing several of our members.

And here are the rest of the paintings!

Photos courtesy Deb Ward - Not a Professional Photographer!

Monday, June 13, 2016


Here are some photos from our June 5 opening at the Woman's Art Club "Barn" in  Mariemont, Ohio, Note:  We have a rule in place that winners of the prior year are not eligible for an award in the current show.
Photos of member's paintings will appear in the next posting - June 14.

First Place Award to Rhonda Carpenter (who was unable to attend the opening)
for her painting "Plant Series - Morning Leaves"
Lois Schaich accepts 2nd Place Award from President, Kathy Lang.
Lois Schaich and her painting "Big Wheel"
Venetia Wang accepts 3rd Place Award

Venetia Wang and her painting "Tindar"

Marilyn Bishop accepts an Honorable Mention Award
(Our Show Chair, Judy Reed, on the left)
Marilyn Bishop and her painting "Rooftops - Cos Cob Art Colony"

Honorable Mention for Kathy Lawrence's painting "Golden Gourds"
President Kathy Lang (right) and Elizabeth Davis, Art Design Consultants Gallery Director (our show judge)
Here are a few photos of the opening reception.
The crowd eagerly awaits the Awards Ceremony.

Some members and friends enjoying the opening.

We had a nice crowd for the opening.

Plenty of food . . . 

. . . and more food . . .
. . . and beverages.

Hope you get a chance to visit the show!

Photos courtesy Deb Ward (who is obviously not a professional photographer!)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

JUNE 1, 2016 - MINUTES

Our meeting for June was held at the “Barn” in Mariemont in order to save members an additional trip to bring in our paintings for the Annual Exhibit.
President Kathy Lang called the meeting to order and welcomed everyone (a large group this month), including guest Susan Eagle. She studies with Deb Ward.

Treasurer Carol Fencl, gave her report. One note - we will have enough in our Mary Marxen account to give two more scholarships in the future. Our Treasury is in good shape, and was helped by a $75 donation from Todd Butt, our Presenter from last month (and VP of the Ohio Watercolor Society) because he wanted to encourage our group to continue our worthwhile learning experiences. Thanks to Mr. Butt.

Deb Ward, Blog Chair, encouraged everyone to let her know if you have won any awards, are showing in any Art Shows, or have any other interesting artistic endeavors that the rest of us might like to know about.

Lydia Rittinger, Membership Chair, is in the process of moving, so had no report this time.

Diana Duncan, Workshop Chair, gave a very rousing presentation about the Club Workshop that will be held at the end of October. Teacher will be Guy Magallanes  who, we are assured, will give a fun class. Members have the first chance of signing up. Dianna will mail out to all members a registration form, (to be sent back to her with your check). If the class of 20 is not yet filled, non-members will be allowed to attend.

Judy Reed, Annual Exhibit Chair, gave some updates about the show, and talked about the Sitter Training that would take place after the meeting. One important reminder about the Show: If you sell a painting, customers pay you directly, and you are responsible for sending the commission to the Women’s Art Club.

Judy reminded us to bring our refreshments on Sunday for the Reception. Pick-up Day for the paintings is Tuesday, June 21, from 10:00 - 12:00 noon. If you cannot come then, please make arrangements to have someone pick up your paintings.

Joan O’Leary, acting on behalf of Claudia Taylor, Program Chair, then introduced our own Tom Schroeder, Presenter for June.

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

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