Monday, November 16, 2015


Everyone at the meeting was very pleased to have Barb Smucker return this month to give our program, and a mini-workshop afterwards.  First, Barb put on her apron – because her painting is “messy”.  She told us about her thoughts and decisions as she studied in Art School, where she had to try all kinds of art and art projects.  She liked pastels and experimenting with watercolors.  Later on she started having trouble with the pastels dust getting into her lungs, and she opted to stay with water-based media, which she believes is uniquely beautiful.  Her goal now is to “not fuss too much, and try a lot of things”.  She mentioned a book called “The Confident Creative”, which encourages one to “know” your own self/your own work.

Barb is a daily painter.  She begins by doing “exercises” - don’t think much; just move your hand/brush/paint; put emotional feeling into it.  Later, when you begin to “paint”, let those feelings return.  Art is about “my story”; tell yours.  Ask yourself – What am I now taking an interest in?  Look for inspiration around you.  New ventures often cause us discomfort; but, just start where you are.  Barb encouraged us to just paint for Joy.  If you do something regularly, it will become more comfortable.

Lately, Barb has been using a limited palette, with a triad of colors along with black and white.  For the demonstration she used quin gold, quin red, cobalt blue, with white and black gesso; the gesso to get a “matte” finish.  Sometimes she uses freezer paper as a temporary palette; she also uses Press & Seal to cover her palette to preserve paint for her next session.  She uses big, inexpensive brushes.  She started by putting down water on much of paper, but not the whole sheet; she left some spaces.  Using almost pure gold and red pigment (warm), she spontaneously spread the paint over the page, turning her paper around on all four sides, to make sure that the colors made a balanced composition.  Members of the group were called to front to put more paint on the paper!   Let it dry.  Then, the fun!  She swirled; she dabbed pure paint; she squeegeed; she scraped; she splattered wet paint; turned the paper; put in unplanned lines; and then used an old curler to make some soft smears.  This was the First Layer!  By the way, she was using Hot Press paper, Fluid brand.

For the second layer, she started using some darker values.   Look at what you have; then “enhance” what you like using similar colors wax crayons.  Create some lines, darken places.  She had some more volunteers try out the crayons on the project.  She urged experimentation – what if I do this?   Then, she mixed some duller paint, and turned the paper to see where she felt she needed it.  Barb used some stencils that she made to remove some paint in places, and then used a bit of blue and black around the project.  Let everything dry.

For the third layer, Barb showed us how using the Basic Rule of “Working a Lot against a Little” worked on this Abstract project, and on some that she brought to show to us.  If your painting has a Lot of warm, use a Little cool.  If it has a Lot of round, use a Little straight, a Lot of light, use a Little dark, etc.  Sometimes she also adds some Mixed Media items to her project at this point.  At this point, carefully examine your whole page, and make decisions on what more is needed.   The final effort is to use a “mat” to move around over the whole project to find your amazingly spontaneous “Abstract” painting that you never thought you could do.

Barb was not finished yet.  She did a couple of Critiques, and then, after lunch, gave a wonderful mini-workshop for those who had signed up.  Workshop participants were pleasantly surprised with their Abstracts.

Barb now has a Studio at the Pendleton in downtown Cincinnati.  They have open studios and receptions on the Final Friday of each month.  

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary, GCWS – November, 2015

Monday, November 9, 2015


On a gorgeous November day, the GCWS had a fine showing of members and guests for our meeting.  President Marilyn Bishop, disregarding her aches and pains from her recent fall, called the meeting to order, and asked the guests to introduce themselves.  We had Barb, from an Art Class at the Sycamore Senior Center, LaDonna Fritz, and our new member Marjorie Grubbs, student of Lois Schaich.  Welcome to all!

Marilyn asked for a show of hands for those staying for the mini-workshop after the Program, so we could order pizza for lunch.  There were about 12 who stayed, learned firsthand how to develop their own version of the Program techniques that were presented today.  (All of those who stayed were delighted with the workshop.)

Treasurer Sally Wester gave her report.  We have a healthy balance; details are always available by talking to Sally.  She is, however, resigning from this job, after doing it beautifully for a number of years.  There was discussion of who would be willing to “run” for this office, as we were going to have nominations and voting for the Leadership Team today.

Membership Chair Deb Ward’s report – we have 90 current members.  She prepared a paper with the names and info for new people who are not in the current Membership Book, so that we may put them into our own books.  These reports are always put on the back table, - as are forms upon which members can write any information they have for Announcements – to give to the Secretary to put into the Minutes/Blog.  There are always some copies of Minutes from the last meeting also on the back table.

Marilyn next presented the Slate of Nominees for the new Leadership Team:
            President  -  Kathy Lang
            Membership  -  Lydia Rittinger
            Program Chair  -  Claudia Taylor
            Secretary  -  Joyce Grothaus
            Treasurer  -  Carol Fencl
As there were no additional Nominations from the floor, Marilyn asked the members to Vote for the presented Slate of Officers for the Leadership Team.  All members were in favor and the new Team was approved.  These members will take Office officially at the March meeting (as we will have no meetings in January or February).  The group will have a meeting before then with the present Team to discuss the transition.

Eileen Hulsman told the membership that Jean Vance would be interested in doing a Workshop for our group.  Her name will be added to the list we have for possible Presenters for our Workshop – which will probably be in the Fall this year, as the Annual Exhibit will be in the Spring (June).

Announcements:  Diana Marra has work in the Magical Starlight Celebration, from November 5 through December 31 at the Cincinnati Art Center.  She will be selling original paintings and notecards.

Fun!  Fun!  For our December meeting, we will have our Annual Party and Sale.  All members attending are asked to bring something to eat – either something you have made (yummy) – or you can even buy it  J   The Leadership Team will provide the liquid refreshments.

If you have some “gently used” Art Supplies/books, etc., that you don’t need any more, please bring them – someone else would love to buy them.   Also, if you have some small artwork such as cards or bookmarks that you would like to offer for sale, you may do so.  Please put a “gentle” price on them – even dollar amounts please – and put an envelope, with your name on the outside, on your items so that members may put their money into your envelope. 
Reminder:  there will be no meetings in January or February.

Program Chair Joan O’Leary (who, by the way, did a fantastic job this year) announced that Marilyn Bishop will give the Program in March.  The Judge for our August Annual Exhibit, and professor at Mt. St. Joseph College, will present in April, and in May, Alan Hutton (whose work we saw when we took our Bus Trip to Middletown) will present.  What a great lineup of Programs to start the GCWS new year!
Submitted by Joyce Grothaus,  GCWS Secretary, November, 2015