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