Wednesday, May 18, 2016


The first item on the Agenda was the presentation of the Annual GCWS Scholarships.  Dot Burdin was the Chair, working with the Cincinnati Art Academy to find two talented and accomplished students.  Those chosen to receive the $500 award from the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society and the $500 award from the Mary Marxen Scholarship Fund are Courtney Wechman, and Alex Schempf.  These two young people told us a little bit about themselves, and the kinds of Art they are now studying.  They were very appreciative of the scholarships, and the members were happy to meet these budding artists and give them some help with their careers.  In addition to the awards, the students received a year’s membership in the GCWS, and so, it is possible that we will see them again at some of our meetings this year.  Thanks to Dot for making this all happen!

New Treasurer, Carol Fencl, gave a short report.  Our checking account has now been transferred to a business account, and she is receiving members’ checks for Membership.  We have sufficient funds to handle the business of the club.  If any member would like the details of the Treasury, please contact Carol and she will be happy to help you.

New Membership Chair, Lydia Rittinger, distributed the new Directories.  Thanks, Lydia!

Joyce Grothaus will have quite a few paintings in an Art Show at the Miami Township/Milford Civic Center on Friday, the 13th – 9:00-12:00.   These are paintings by former members of Susan’s (Grogan) Students, who paint at the Miami Township Senior Center.  There will also be a Chair Volleyball Tournament at Super Senior Friday!

Discussion of the GCWS Annual Exhibit/Show included reminders to get your Painting Information to Deb Ward – Name, Name of Painting, Price, etc BEFORE May 18.  You can do this by Phone, Email, or Snailmail.    On June 1 – the day of our next regular meeting – you may bring your paintings – with your check for entry – to the “Barn” before the meeting – from 9:00 – 10:00.  Paintings will be hung the afternoon of June 1.  The Barn will be open for viewing the show from June 2 through June 19.  They are closed on Mondays, and Tuesday (21st) is the Pick-Up Day – from 10:00 – 12:00.  Good Luck to everyone!

Chair Judy Reed is in the process of making sure we have all needed volunteers to make our show a success.   With everyone working together – this will happen!  We hope to see all members, with guests on Sunday, June 5 for the Reception.

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary, GCWS 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

PROGRAM - MAY 4, 2016

President, Kathy Lang, called the May meeting to order, and explained that we would have our Lesson first; followed by the Scholarship Presentation; then our regular meeting.
Todd Butt, Vice President of Ohio Watercolor Society
Claudia Taylor introduced Todd Butt, VP of the Ohio Watercolor Society, and teacher at the Middletown Art Center for the past 9 years.  Todd has an interesting background, studying biology at Marietta College, and aspects of “water” at University of Iowa.  Since retiring, he has been able to indulge his love of painting and teaching.  He paints to have a challenge and to have fun.  He aims to hold the viewer’s attention to each of his paintings for longer than the average time of 6 seconds that they usually give to each.  He said he finds teaching – especially those “A-ha” moments in the students’ progress, very fulfilling.

Todd says he learned from Homer Hacker that a painter should only spend 15 minutes painting a picture – to give it spontaneity and looseness.  Of course, it is essential that the painter must spend a great deal of time preparing and planning said painting.   Plan like a turtle; paint like a rabbit.   Make all the decisions about composition, lighting, shadows, etc.; and do all your sketching and “trying things out” on old paper first.  Then, you can avoid being a “white-knuckled” painter; you can be spontaneous!

Todd did a spontaneous painting at this point.  He showed us a little trick for making sure that your paint tube would open easily next time -  dip the top of the tube into water so that a bit of water goes into the tube, then put the top back on.  He also reminded us that we don’t have to make a 2 inch swatch with a 2 inch brush.  He loves “blooms”; makes them on purpose.  He had painted this particular scene many times; did it as a vignette, i.e., 3 corners of the paper are left white.   He paints for 10-12 minutes quickly; then goes away for a bit.  When he comes back, he gets new ideas about the painting.  He even “threw” some paint at it.

It was explained that there are many phases of Paint, Paper, and Brushes.  We use various combinations of wet and dry of each of the three to give different effects and results.

Sometimes the reason that a painting doesn’t hold the viewer’s interest or attraction is because there is something “wrong” with it; little things that cause the viewer to move on.  Todd calls these “Absolutes”, that is – details/elements that are found in our lives and in paintings that when incorrect, annoy the eye of the viewer.  These are laws or rules that our brains have experienced to interpret our surroundings as being Natural – solid, safe, together, physically correct and factual.  In some expert hands, these rules can be broken to get an effect or a feeling, but usually, it is disturbing to the viewer.  Todd gave us a listing of 13 Absolutes that we should avoid in our paintings, or look for in others, and showed how to avoid them.  They include such items as Reflections, Perspective, Verticals, Shadows, Depth, and Symmetry.

Todd also urged our members to consider being part of the Ohio Watercolor Society.  Four of our GCWS members will have paintings shown in the OWS show in October.  He was gracious to do a number of Critiques of members’ paintings.   We enjoyed Todd’s Presentation!

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary, GCWS, May 2016