Friday, August 29, 2014


Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society
August 6, 2014 Program

Well, the big day – the GCWS Bus Trip to Middletown finally arrived!  It was a beautiful day, moderately warm, and sunny – perfect for the adventure.  Some members began arriving at 8:30 for the 9:30 departure – anxious to enjoy the day.  And that, we did!  Even got a bit of a tour through some of Middletown’s neighborhoods – at no extra cost. J 
Members getting on the bus to Middletown.
At the Middletown Art Center we were warmly welcomed by the Asst. Director -  Kim Major, as well as the charming lady from Middletown (Pat Hayes), who was the original inspiration for our trip.  A purely happenstance meeting between Pat and myself, about eight months before, eventually evolved into a wonderful art-filled experience for our GCWS members.

For the first part of our Tour, we perused a great show of watercolor paintings by Alan Hutton, prize-winning Ohio artist.  Many of the paintings were of nature, farmland, barns, and other country scenes.  We were amazed at his washes, shadows, and interesting takes on very ordinary items and other farm implements.  His paintings showed us what is meant by “leaving the white of the paper show through”.

We then were shown very gracious hospitality as we wandered around the Center, into the various classrooms and workrooms.  We saw artists at work painting watercolors and acrylics, throwing pottery, and making jewelry.
Artists working on ceramics.

Artists working on pottery.

Carol McAfee talks to a jewelry artist.

We re-boarded the bus to take us to lunch at Murphy’s Landing Restaurant, so named because the building was originally Murphy’s  5 and 10/c  store.  The current owners, Jay and Linda Moorman have done a magnificent job of restoring and re-doing and joining a couple of historical buildings here.  The restaurant is really very beautiful with most of the décor coming from old schools and churches; and used in extremely creative ways.  The food was very good, and we even had a surprise dessert.

After lunch, it was time for our Tour of the Beau Verre Riodan  Stained Glass Studios, also owned by the Moorman’s.  Jay and Linda graciously welcomed us.  They gave us a great deal of interesting information about the history of the surrounding downtown area, and the buildings, and how they started their glassworks, and the restaurant, etc.  They explained the difference between art glass and stained glass, and where they get the inspiration for their stained glass windows; fascinating!  It is the oldest continuing glassworks studio in the U.S.; not taking shortcuts, but using the old methods which produce a better product.

Because of the extensive collection of historical records that they own, they are able to find a great deal of information about original windows of churches in the area, and around the country, that need to be refurbished and restored.
Old stairway preserved from 5 and 10 Cent store which now leads to the artists' workshops.
Next on our agenda  -  going downstairs to see all the “bins” of colored glass, the workshops, and some of the tools that are used in this art.  We were able to watch some of the artists and technicians who were actually working on projects.  We saw what “layering” is, and how the artists accomplish changing the color or “mood” of a piece. 
Members talking to stained glass window technician.
Our members were fascinated with the Stained Glass Studio Tour, and wished that we had another hour to watch and listen to the wonderful craftsmen who do such incredible artistic work.   We had a great day!

Our members thanked Joe Ramos from Provident Travel, and Marty, our bus driver, for getting us safely to and from our Cultural Day Trip to Middletown.  “A good time was had by all”.

Submitted (and photos) by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary.

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