Friday, February 20, 2015


Hopefully Old Man Winter will give us a break - and our New Season will begin March 4, 2015.

This month join us for a program presented by Marilyn Bishop - President:
"Paint the Background, See the Foreground"
Marilyn's demonstration will incorporate 3 colors of watercolors and negative painting.

The first Wednesday of the month

The Cincinnati Art Club Building, 1021 Parkside Place, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45202 (Mt. Adams).

10 a.m. until approximately noon

Short business meeting 
Open painting

Feel free to bring an UNFRAMED painting for critique.  Bring your paint supplies to stay and paint following the program. 

If you are an artist in the Greater Cincinnati Area painting in watercolor, acrylic, gouache or any other water media, please visit one of our meetings.  You will receive a warm welcome and enjoy an informative presentation.  

Thursday, December 4, 2014


Nothing better than shopping for art supplies!
The annual Christmas party attracted over 35 people who enjoyed the annual sale of members’ unused items (lots of books), members’ small art like greeting cards and bookmarks, plus delicious snacks and desserts provided by attendees.
Decisions, decisions!

Contemplating the sale!

The interactive game, “Signature Bingo” asked members to get signatures on their paper of squares where topics like art class, museum visit, painting techniques, and home studios were in squares.  Members found others to sign their “card.”  From those completely filled, three were randomly selected to win a gift card of $10 to Michael’s arts and crafts store.  (The lucky winners were Jean Soller, Sally Wester and Tom Schroeder)
Members chat with each other and get to know one another better by playing "Signature Bingo"

Members playing "Signature Bingo"

Deb Ward distributed a list of new members and several members announced shows that they have entered.  Susan Grogan announced that she will move to Florida in January.

Fifteen art DVDs were added to the GCWS library.  Twelve of those were purchased from Larry Sparks who offered them for sale at his table of used items.  Three were recent purchases from Creative Catalyst Productions.

This is the final program of the year.  After a two-month winter break, programs and activities will resume in March 2015.

Notes (and photos) by Marilyn Bishop

Monday, November 17, 2014


Marilyn introduced our own Deb Ward, past president, current membership co-chair (and held other past positions in GCWS) who led the Program for this month.  Deb has become quite the well-known, published, and most accomplished artist.  She is also a Teacher.

Deb just recently gave a Workshop on Painting Silver and Lace.  A number of our GCWS members who attended brought in their finished paintings for Deb to show to the group.  They were amazing!   Then, we got down to the business that we came for – Critiquing the B+ paintings the members brought in, to see if suggestions could be made that would make them A+ paintings. 

Deb distributed some excellent materials about the Elements and  Principles of Design, to help everyone learn to critique a painting (particularly, your own).  A five-minute time limit for each critique was established, with Eileen Hulsman acting as time-keeper.  The time flew by, but all paintings were shown and critiqued.  When the artists complete the suggested changes, many will certainly be show-worthy.

Some of the very useful tips, recommendations, and suggestions that were made as the paintings were shown:
-  One can use a sheet of acrylic to lay on top of your painting, and then try out some colors or other changes on this, without disturbing what you already have there.

Placing a few darks around and under the child sat her down on the steps.
A few more brought out her face and arms and added depth to the skirt.
-  When painting white items, try not to use gray for the shadows, especially for flowers.  Use a blue or violet, etc. to keep them “alive”.
-  When planning a small painting, you need to find some way to emphasize the main item or focal point when it is viewed from a distance, so it doesn’t get lost.
-  Find connections or make connections between items in your painting, either by overlapping them, or make some larger to meet with the smaller items, etc.

-  When composing your painting, make sure there is a focal point (a “star”); make sure that the “lines” do not lead your eye off the page.
Couldn't find changes for this one!
-  Decide on the direction of your light source, and make sure all shadows are coordinated.

Other than an indication of sidewalk, we decided this painting was finished!
-  Use all of your paper; don’t have too much empty space around your subject.

-  You might want to study the Elements of Design and the Principles of Design, and plan your composition accordingly.
-  Or, you might want to just defy these and do your own thing!  Go for it!
-  But, the one word that helps almost every painting that we do is:   Value;  Value;  Value!

-  Almost always, a bit of a change in your values bumps up the rating on your painting.  Be Bold!

The group really enjoyed this session of Critiques, and suggested that we do this at least once every Program Year.

The names of everyone who brought in a painting to be critiqued were put into a bowl, and three names were pulled to win a $25 gift card to Plaza Art.   The lucky winners were Claudia Taylor, Joyce Grothaus, and Nancy Ulmer.  Congratulations!

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary GCWS, November 2014
Photos courtesy Jane Hittinger

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Our November meeting had quite a few members in attendance.  And many of those members brought in unframed B+ paintings to participate in the Program.  

President Marilyn Bishop called the meeting to order. We had three guests, Barb, India, and Marjorie. 

Deb Ward, Membership, gave a report.  We now have 89 members.

Sally Wester gave the Treasurer’s Report.  We are in good financial shape.  Members who would like to know the details are welcome to talk to Sally.

Dianna Duncan gave a report on the GCWS Workshop with Sue Archer to be held next May.  It is almost full.  There can be 20 participants, and 18 are signed up.  Dianna will also have a “Waiting List” available, in case someone has to drop out before May.  For those who have paid just a deposit – final payment will be due March 1, 2015.

Dot Burdin has agreed to chair the GCWS Scholarship Program.  We will have two scholarships to give, a $500 one from GCWS, and a $500 one from the Mary Marxen Fund.  The Art Academy will pick two deserving students for us, and the presentations will be made in May.

Announcements were made.  Diana Marra told of a workshop with a few openings in Evendale.  Larry Sparks is a Featured Artist in the Cincinnati Art Club where there will be an Associates show the next two weeks.  Susan Grogan told of a Fall Exhibit of the Queen City Art Club at the Essex Studios, on Dec. 5 & 6, from 6-10 p.m.  This is in Walnut Hills.  Shirley Knollman told of a display at the Arlington Memorial Cemetery.

The GCWS December “meeting”  (really a Party!!!)  will be on our regular day, Dec. 3.  We will have a similar program to last year - - with a “get to know you” game, prizes, and food.  We will also have a “Tag” sale; that is, members may bring in their unneeded art supplies, such as books, brushes, paints, etc. with a “gentle” price on them, to sell.  A new Adventure for this year is a “Creative” sale; that is, members may bring in small items that they have “created”, such as bookmarks, cards, etc., with a price on them, to sell.   If you bring something to sell, bring in an envelope with your name on it, to place with your items, for payment.  The Leadership Team will provide the beverages for the Party.  Each member is asked to bring in something to eat – from a bag of chips – to your “specialty”; all will probably be devoured.

We will have no meetings in January or February – we learned our lesson last year when weather made us cancel those meetings.  So, we will see everyone in March.

Joan O’Leary, Program Coordinator gave us some advance notice of the great things we will be doing next year.  In March, Rhonda Carpenter will give a program on Gouache Resistance; sounds like great fun.  In April, we will have Tina Tamarro;  in May, Mark Willenbrink; and in June we will have Litsa Spanos, an Art Marketing Expert, discuss marketing and sales.  It sounds like a great lineup.

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary GCWS, November 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Susan Grogan
Joan O’Leary introduced our own Susan Grogan to be our Presenter for October.   She told us that Watercolor Painting became Susan’s “favorite” when she was in high school.   Although she has worked in many other mediums, especially while attending technical college for Art, during her work as a fashion illustrator, and other classes and workshops, Watercolor remains her favorite.   Susan has her work in a number of places around the Greater Cincinnati area, including One Main Galley in Milford, the Queen City Art Club and the Cincinnati Nature Center.  She also teaches classes – at Hobby Lobby in Eastgate, and Miami Township Senior Center in Milford.  (From personal experience – all her students love her)

Susan talked about her “process”, that is, she does a small “thumbnail” sketch to make decisions about the composition – so that the eye will travel around the finished painting.  Then, she does a “value” study, to make decisions about where the light source will be, and which parts of the painting will be light, and which will be dark.  And, even though her students love to “hate” doing these thumbnails and studies, Susan believes that a much better painting is the result of completing them.  An easy way to do the value study is to put a piece of tracing paper (a very transparent one is Canson) over your thumbnail and color in the lights and darks.   Then, you can place your tracing paper on top of a white piece of paper so that it is very easy to see.  Have this, and your thumbnail handy nearby as you paint, for reference.  Lately, Susan has been painting on 140 lb. coldpress, Arches Rough paper as it has more body.
If one looks closely at pottery, you notice it has a glaze, with runs, and granulated colors.  In order to replicate this finish in a painting, Susan likes the rough paper, uses salt and sometimes, just splattered water.  She first used a kneaded eraser to take off some of the pencil marks, especially if using yellow colors, because you want to let the white of the paper show through to make the yellow bright, not heavy paint to make it bright.  She does not have many expensive brushes, but just replaces hers when she wears out the point (as she prefers round brushes for most things).  Granulated colors (usually opaque) are good for pottery as the pigments tend to sit on top of the paper.  She uses mostly Di Vinci paints, with some Daniel Smith or others.  She tries not to use miskit, but paints around the places she wants to leave white, etc., or uses more water, or “lifts out” afterwards.
Thumb nail . . . 

. . .  and value study.
Susan believes in using “loaded” brushes, much water and paint, dipping in often, trying not to “drag” the paint around.  Most of the time she paints a light wash, drops in a few other colors, allowing them to “bleed in”.   As long as it is still wet, you will not get “blossoms”.  Just when the shine goes away, sprinkle the salt or water onto the painting, and allow it to dry – don’t blow dry.  She then goes back in with a number of other layers of paint as needed (don’t cover up your “lights”), for shadows, cast shadows, etc.  She generally paints the table or ground, etc., then, when dry, puts in the cast shadows.

Some principles that Susan reiterated:  Think carefully about your Composition, e.g. decide on the “Star” object, the Supporting Actor, and the other actors.  The star should have the lightest lights and darkest darks, and have the most detail.  The others should be toned down, with less detail.

Think about Warm and Cool, e.g. if objects are farther away, or in shadow, use cooler colors; in sun or close, use warm.   Shadows are cooler and darker close to object; also remember reflective colors in the shadow from the object.
Think about Hard and Soft Edges – most paintings need a mixture of these.
Think about the Background.  What does the painting need?  Should it be light or dark?  Warm or cool?  Bright or muted?  Colors on opposite side of color wheel or the same colors you used in other parts of the painting, for Unity?
Janet Rogers taught Susan to make some trial paint “puddles”, add some colors to it, and test them on a small piece of watercolor paper, until you are satisfied with the mixture. 
And, after all of this, sometimes you just have to go with your feelings; or your intuition as an Artist; and break the rules, to complete a great painting!

There was some discussion about getting copies made of your paintings from such places as Studio 42, Howard Bell;  General Graphics in Indiana, Robbins in Cincinnati, and Vista Print.  If anyone is interested in details, please contact Susan.
In order to be a professional Artist, Susan said she realized she needs to be a Writer – to put creative names on her paintings; and to prepare her bio.  She needs to be a Businesswomen, and PR Expert; a Marketing Specialist, and Saleswomen, and a Performer and Teacher.


It is the Teacher, but also very much the Performer, that we enjoyed at our GCWS meeting.  Susan’s talent and delightful sense of humor was appreciated by all who attended.

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary, October 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014


Many of us had to drive through the fog to get to the meeting today, but, once inside, all was sunshine.  Our President, Marilyn Bishop called the meeting to order.  Our two new members were introduced.  Lori Rich had painted in the past, and has now returned to doing so, taking lessons in Indiana.  She is looking forward to being part of the group and learning more.  Tom Schroeder is currently employed in downtown Cincinnati, in architectural work, and has been painting for 10-15 years.  We welcome both of these fine folks to our group.

Sally Wester, Treasurer, gave her report.  Our treasury is a bit lower than it had been, but we are still in good fiscal order.  If any member wants to see all the specifics, please contact Sally.

Membership report by Deb Ward - -  We now have 86 members.  Deb will be preparing a form with contact information about new members who join since the membership book was printed.  When we have added 5-6 new people, she will make copies of the form for members to insert into their membership book.
Deb asks us all to be active in encouraging artists that we know or meet, to become members of the GCWS.  Send people to the Blog, take brochures to Art Events; get the word out.

Workshop Coordinator, Dianna Duncan, gave a rousing “ad” for the GCWS Workshop which will be held May 29-31, 2015 at our regular meeting place.  The presenter will be Sue Archer, high ranking watercolor artist, and wonderful teacher.  There will be a limit of 20 people who can attend.  Members are given first priority, and if any spaces are open, then to friends, etc.  Besides the lesson, Sue gives each artist a 15-min individual consultation to help you improve your work.  Signup forms will be available at the Nov. and Dec. meetings, or you can reserve a space by sending a $100 deposit check to Dianna (made out to GCWS).  Dianna indicated that she will need some help to make the workshop a success.

Marilyn announced that we will have our GCWS Annual Exhibit next August at the “Barn” again.  Carole McAfee has agreed to chair this Exhibit again, and every member is asked to contribute some time or effort to this Event.  Information and details, in the Spring.

Joan Ammerman reminded us that we have Art DVDs available for sign-out at the Back Table.  Please keep them for just a month, and be sure to sign them back in when you return them.  We do own a Sue Archer DVD.

Announcements –
Marilyn Bishop – Event Name:  Gallery SALVEO
Edwards Rd, Rookwood Commons - Nov 5 – Jan. 9;   Reception,  Nov. 5  (or 6th –check with Marilyn).   Theme:  Places in the community that are served the Interact of Health Foundation.  She says there will be great food here also.
Dot Burdin - - Art Show, Sept. 5-6, Queen City Art Club – first weekend, Dec, - Essex Studios,  Wm Howard Taft; McMillan.
Deb Ward – W/C Society of Indiana;   PA International (see her blog on sidebar for more information)
Deb is offering a Workshop – Silver & Lace Objects – October 25-26, 10 – 4,  $125.  She will accept 20 students; only 8 spaces open now.
Janet Vennemeyer -  Women’s Art Club,  All-member Show at the Barn,  Oct 6, 3 – 6 p.m.

Program Coordinator, Joan O’Leary, gave us an overview of the coming attractions at the GCWS meetings.   In November, we are going to include all the members in the Program.   Everyone is asked to bring in a couple of your  “B+”  paintings – that is – an unframed painting that you have left unframed because you are not completely satisfied with it.  You know it has potential, but it’s not quite there yet, to make it an “A”.    Deb Ward will lead the Suggestions & Comments that may give it just that little “boost”; or offer you some possibilities about how you can improve it, or be more satisfied with it.  The names of the members who bring in a painting will be put into the “hopper”, for a chance to win a gift certificate to Plaza Art. 

Our December meeting will be led by our President, Marilyn.  We will have a Tag Sale – that is – members may bring in used Art Books, unneeded art supplies, or items that you have painted, such as note cards, book marks, etc. that you would like to sell.   There may be games, and everyone is asked to bring a “dish” – which will therefore make this a “Party”.  J

We will have no meeting in Jan. or Feb. since we usually have such bad weather then.   In March, there will be a Mystery Meeting.  Rhonda Carpenter is preparing something that “none of us has ever done before – and it is messy”.   Sounds like great fun!

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary,   October, 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Barb Smucker
Joan O’Leary introduced Barb Smucker, the Artist giving the Program for the month. 
Barb got her degree in Art, but has been really actively painting for just 12 years.   She wanted to tell us about her journey in the artistic field, about where she started, and where she is now.  She has taught dozens of classes, and feels that she also learns from these.

As an Art Major, Barb learned and practiced with all kinds of materials, styles, colors, and subjects.  She learned to have a love and a curiosity of all kinds of artwork.  She really loves the “process” of painting and experimenting.  Her early work was more about Transparent Watercolor, but now she tries many different paintings, from conventional transparent watercolor to crazy abstracts, using some acrylics – but, mostly water-based paints only.
Barb showed examples of (left to right) Saturation, Hue and Value.
Barb talked about how we all love Color!  She loves all aspects of color.  She talked about the Principles of Color:
Hue – (colors are mostly at the edge of the color wheel);
Value – how light or dark a color is in its purest form.  It is a good idea to look at the Value Pattern of your painting (that is, step back, and see the Notan patterning, throughout the whole piece.)  If you want to emphasize color only, use mid-tones of all the colors.
Saturation – how bright vs how dull.  Just because some color is lighter does not mean it is “brighter”.  She showed examples.  Saturation is Intensity.  Color against fog or mud stands out.  If you want to de-saturate a color, add white to it; to dull down a color, add a blend of other colors.
Barb showed us the beginnings of an abstract painting to which
 she was going to add water soluable crayons.
As Barb demo’d a painting, she talked about how your strokes, and the colors you choose, can impact the “feeling” of a painting.  Subject matter can tell you what hues and saturation to use.  She also told us that trying to do a new hue contrast will probably upset our brains.  Trying something new can frustrate us at first, but stimulates our creativity.

It was interesting to watch Barb draw – she holds her pencil far from the point.  She quickly drew a woman’s face and body.  She began painting in pure hues.  She talked about not “over-thinking it”, but deciding just what color you want to put next to the other color.  She said “Paint like a kindergartener!  - just for a change!   It can inspire your carefully worked on, six-month, get-it just-right, exact, painting.”  When she paints, Barb keeps a “warm” and a “cool” water container, to keep the colors from getting muddied.  Barb also used a spray ink (Hobby Lobby).
Drawing an abstracted female figure . . .
Using pure colors . . .. 
. . . and having fun with her painting!
When asked “How does one go about starting an Abstract painting?” she replied “Start playing around with colors and shapes and textures.  Find the best part of your beginning work, and then paint “into” the best part.  Use vivid, pure hues; mixed media, crayons.”  She has even blown paint through a straw as an exercise.  Take ½ hour to just play.    She told us about six-minute tutorials online from Jane Davies, and a Water Paper Paint book by Heather Jones.
Small matted abstracts based on beach glass and stones.
Barb showed us how she begins a painting of beach glass by dropping and spraying paint.
Barb held the painting on it's side to let the paints flow and drip together.
A look at one of her beach glass paintings in progress.
Barb’s Painting of Woman was both amazing and interesting!  She mentioned that she may have an Abstract Workshop in the future if enough people are interested.  Barb then gave some good suggestions for improvement to members who brought in a painting to be Critiqued.

Next Program will be with our own Susan Grogan.

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary, GCWS, September, 2014, photos by Deb Ward.