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

Thursday, August 20, 2015


This month’s meeting was a busy one indeed.  It was the day our members brought in their paintings for the GCWS Annual Exhibit for “Hanging” Day; that is, the day everyone’s entries were “hung” on the walls of the “Barn” – (WACC)  in Mariemont, Ohio.  There are 65-70 wonderful works of Art.  The Reception for the Show, Sun, Aug. 9, was well attended, and enjoyed by all.  It will be open to the public until Aug. 23.  “Take-Down” day is Tuesday, Aug. 25, (10:00 – 12:00).  Please pick up your paintings that day, or have someone get them for you.

It was announced that Carol McAfee, Chair of the Exhibit, would give a training session after today’s meeting, for all of the members who will be “Sitters” for the Exhibit.  Also, those who are bringing refreshments for the Reception, were encouraged to bring “lots”, since we were running short last year.  (We did have “lots” of fabulous food for the Reception.)

At 10:00 a.m., our President, Marilyn Bishop, welcomed everyone, including some new members, Mary Fleischmann, and Jan Boldt, from the Anderson area, as well as a couple of guests.   Sally Wester, Treasurer, gave her report.  Our money is adequate to handle our needs.   Dianna Duncan, chair of our Sue Archer Workshop, gave a report on the finances of that endeavor.  The $200 cost for members is probably the right amount to charge in order to come out even on this project.  All attendees enjoyed the Workshop immensely.

Membership/Blog Chair Deb Ward gave us the number 87 for number of current members, as of 8/5.  She put a supply of GCWS brochures in the entry of the Barn for use during the Exhibit.  Deb also announced that she will be giving up her two jobs for our Club.  She explained that one or two people can take over these responsibilities.  One person could be Membership Chair, and another, the Blog Chair.  Elections will be coming up in the Fall.  Think about it!

If anyone has Announcements that they would like to go into the Minutes/Blog, please fill out an Information form lying on the back table, and give it to Joyce Grothaus, Secretary.  Joan Abdon is in a show in Indiana;  Deb Ward is giving a workshop Aug 15/16; has one place open;  Judith Reed is in the Queen City Art Club Show in Montgomery.

Our Program Chair, Joan O’Leary gave a report on upcoming Events.  In September, Louise Allen will present “Unleashed” – and wouldn’t give us a clue about what it will entail; should be fun!   For our October meeting, Trish McKinney will return, with a program entitled “Layers of Understanding”.  Joan then introduced Jean Vance, for the August Program.

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, GCWS Secretary, August, 2015

Sunday, August 16, 2015


Here are a few photos from our show opening.  

Remember - the show runs through August 23 - see sidebar for more information!

Here are 3 photos panning around the room - we had a good crowd and great food!

Below:  Our president, Marilyn Bishop (on left) and our show chair, Carole McAfee (on right) presented our awards.  Our judge this year was Craig Lloyd from Mt. St. Joseph College.

Honorable mentions were first.  They were Lydia Rittinger,  Venetia Wang, Carol Steuer and Claudia Taylor.
Lydia Rittinger (center)
Venetia Wang (right)
Carol Steuer (center)
Then came the monetary awards.
First Place - Carolyn Hibbard - "Santorini 1"

Tom Schroeder - 2nd Place
Second Place - Tom Schroeder - "Barn Window"

Third Place - Deb Ward - "Flight of the Bumblebee"

Saturday, July 11, 2015


Marilyn Bishop, President, called our meeting to order, and welcomed everyone, including five  guests, Sandy Sperber, Linda Garrison (who found us on the Web), Eileen Flannery, Dee Fagedes, and Carol (whose last name I missed).

Sally Wester, Treasurer, gave the Financial Report of the Treasury, which is in good shape.  Deb Ward, Membership, said we now have 84 members.

It was announced that, for those who are not able to read the Minutes of our meetings on the Blog, there are a number of printed copies at each meeting on the back table, as well as a short form to fill out and give to Joyce Grothaus, Secretary, if you have an “Announcement” .  

Diana Marra will be teaching at the Berea Festival of Learnshops July 11-27 in Berea, KY, and will have work in Art on the Commons, Aug. 9 in Lincoln Park in Kettering, OH.

Carol McAfee, GCWS Exhibit Chair, gave information about our show at the “Barn” from August 5 through August 25, 2015.    Important dates: 
Pre-Registrations are due July 22 to Joyce Grothaus, who will prepare the Tags (Labels) for all paintings, and the List of Artists and Paintings.
“Hanging” Day will be the same day/same place as our meeting – August 5/ Barn.  Bring your paintings and entry fee to the Barn between 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

On July 11, 12, 13 and 14 we need to 
cover the gallery during our show.  
Sitters are needed in 2 hour (or more) 
increments for those days between 
the hours of 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.   Please contact 
Carole McAFfee if you are an exhibitor or 
member who would like to help the GCWS.

Nick Scrimenti, teacher at Miami University Hamilton campus, and consultant from Windsor Newton, gave us great information on paints and colors, and new materials, including paint crayons and paint sticks.

At last month’s meeting, Litsa Spanso, who gave the June Presentation, invited our group to come to her Studio, to enjoy the Art Comes Alive  (will be there for the month of July).  We were able to work it out to go as a group after today’s meeting and program.  Litsa’s Studio, Art Design Consultants, is on Culvert Street, by Eggleston,  just about .3 mile from our meeting place.  

This worked out beautifully as we all traveled in 6-7 cars.   Litsa provided sandwiches for us, and 25 members thoroughly enjoyed them, and seeing all of the wonderful work of artists from around the U.S.    About a quarter of the 180 winning paintings were from Ohio artists.  It was fascinating to see the variety of styles, sizes, ideas, and talent.  ADC will be accepting entries for this annual show next February.   We certainly appreciate Litsa’s kind invitation and her hospitality for this wonderful event! 

Program for July 1, 2015 Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society
Nick gave us information about paints and pigments via short demos.
The Presenter for the July meeting was Nick Scrimenti who is a Representative for the Windsor Newton Co., a teacher at Miami University, Hamilton Campus, as well as a Muralist for Cincinnati ArtWorks.  After his Presentation, Nick was on his way to the Sam Adams Bldg. to work on a mural there.  Nick earned his Bachelor’s at Miami University, and has a Masters in Fine Arts from U.C.  He works for Windsor Newton in their Fine Art Collective Education Program.

Nick gave us a very detailed and informative education on Paint – the ingredients, the kinds of, the properties, and the colors.  

Paint is made up of pigment – which can be made from a mineral base, that is, things that are found in the ground, (generally more opaque) or from “living things” such as beetles, or from synthetic ingredients (generally more translucent) –  mixed with a binder such as gum Arabic.  Watercolors are made with gum Arabic which allows them to re-wet.   (Watercolor paper is also more important to success than the base for other mediums – use a good quality.)

We discussed the quality of Student Grade vs Artist Grade Paints.  The differences in the two are:  price;  less pigment or less pure pigment in student grade (this really makes a difference when you try to mix three colors); colors are not as permanent as Artist grade.

Paints which are named ---- Hue are usually a mixture of ingredients as opposed to pure pigment, and therefore may you get a bit different result than you are expecting.  There is also a difference in Rose Madder Genuine, made from roots and gum Arabic – which is not permanent unless the label specifically says it is; and Rose Madder made from a chemical.  

Nick emphasized that we should pay close attention to the labels on the paints we buy.  For instance, an “open” block on a label says it is transparent;  a filled in black block means opaque.  Certain letters mean such things as A = best for lasting;  B is less lasting.

Other interesting facts:   Each Brand has certain colors that they say are their “Primary” colors;  there are certain properties for paints to granulate; have texture, and are opaque – generally mineral paints;  staining colors are usually synthetic, more transparent.  One can download a chart from Windsor Newton that tells all of this kind of information.  Also W/N has seven Mediums:  a granulation media; a blending media; a texture media, an irridescent media; an oxgall media which aids re-wetting and “lifting” and a masking media (only use old or cheap brush).  A tip given – use a bamboo pen to put on masking in small, thin, strokes.

A question about Brushes was answered -  Sable brushes are generally considered the “Best”.  Be gentle with them; clean them well;  don’t use them on canvas.

And, after all this knowledge was given to us – there were additional gifts for each member at the meeting – a  bottle of blending medium, a sample of Windsor Newton’s new Watercolor Paint Marker – very interesting – wide tip or narrow tip (can also be wet), and a Paint Stick (rather like a watercolor crayon).  Everyone was eager to try out these new products.

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary, GCWS, 2015

Thursday, June 18, 2015


Sue Archer
This year our workshop was held at the Cincinnati Art Club.  Our guess artist was Sue Archer, who gave a 3-day workshop for our group on May 29-31.

Sue shared her beautiful artistic talents with us, teaching us about lights, darks, color, value and many more of her "secrets"!

Throughout the three days Sue gave each student individualized attention, as well as a personal critique of the work each artist brought in.

We want to express our thanks to her for the incredible learning experience we received.  Everyone learned a lot and had fun!

Here are some photos from those three days.

Student painting.
Dianna Duncan (Workshop Coordinator) prepares to paint.
Workshop participants listen intently during Sue's demo
(Sue's paintings in background).
Another round of instruction!

Laura Crew (foreground) and other workshop participants put
Sue's techniques into practice. 

Sally Wester (GCWS Treasurer) hard at work.
For more information about Sue Archer, check out her website.

Photos courtesy of Marilyn Bishop