Monday, September 18, 2017


Greg Albert
Our Program Chair, Claudia Taylor, introduced our September program presenter, Greg Albert.  Greg is an artist, teacher, writer and editor.  He is a graduate of the Art Academy of Cincinnati and has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in drawing and art history from the University of Montana.  He has taught at the Art Academy since 1979, Miami University and Thomas More College.  He also had a 17 year career with North Light Books as an Editorial Director.  He has judged and juried many local and regional shows
A full house for Greg's presentation
Greg’s presentation for this month centered on the artist’s creative journey, the “hero’s journey”.  Greg defines the creative journey as four distinct creative roles in the process.

The first role the artist assumes is the Explorer Role.  This is where the hero receives the Call.  He identifies the problem, goal or challenge before him.  Each artist must decide what the goal is for their work.  Is it to make more art, do something different, do something better or generally push boundaries.  Gary suggests defining your goal in writing.  He advocates using note cards to capture spontaneous ideas that we come up with during our daily routine.  These ideas can then be catalogued or filed for future reference. 

The next role for the artist to fill is the Artist Role.  It is this point where the artist takes the raw input of the creative search or exploration and decides how to act on it.  This is also known as the hero’s journey.  This is the point that the artist brainstorms about the options available to make the project happen.  There are no decisions, no bad ideas.  This is the time to examine all of the possibilities, all of the directions one could pursue.  Greg states that an artist needs to put themselves into the environment in which they hope to find inspiration.  One can’t create in a sterile vacuum.  Put yourself into a stimulus-rich environment.  Take input from everywhere.  No source is to be overlooked.   Greg suggests putting together an idea tree, where upon you can identify the Who, What, Where, Why, How and When of the project.

Now that the artist has all of the options available to them, they now need to step into the Judge Role.  With every possibility in play, the artist must go through the selection process.  They go through analysis and selection to identify the best and most productive direction to execute the project.  For the hero, this is the test.  This is the personal touch, the subjective desire to follow the dream.  Until a decision is made for the project one can’t take it into delivery.  Just because a direction is chosen, doesn’t mean that you can’t consider the same project in a different way.  The same subject or concept can be done multiple ways, but for the moment, a decision needs to be made in how to proceed.

Finally, with the project explored, studied, decided, the artist needs to assume the Warrior Role.  This is when you need to make the project happen.  The artist goes into worker mode and combines their personal skills with effort to produce the project.  Greg points out that this is the hardest part.  One’s personal skill set defines their ability to realize the dream.  Certainly, this is where experience allows one to complete their tasks with more credibility and success.  It’s all part of the journey.  One must put in the time and effort to learn their craft, which will produce results over time.  For the hero, this is the battle.

Having completed his review of the creative journey, Greg discussed the elements that often keep us from getting where we want with our art.  The first “stopper” is fear.  Greg lists fear of:

·         Failure
·         What others think
·         Wasting time or resources
·         Frustration
·         Being vulnerable or looking foolish
·         Confronting personal feelings of self worth
·         Negative criticism

Greg also talked about personal baggage that might be keeping one from moving forward to success.  He says the inner critic, voice of doubt can keep us from being confident.  These negative thoughts can come from a variety of sources.  The trick is to recognize them and overcome them with practice and perseverance. 
Some of Greg's recent paintings
Then Greg talked about the influence of other people making demands on your time and resources.  One needs to make time to create space for your art that can be kept separate from other areas of your life.  If one can create a balance between art and their lives, it is easier to attain success in both.

Greg challenged us to break from conventional thinking.  He said that we can often find new approaches to our creativity by changing perspective.  Go big, expand options, get away from the norm.  He cautioned that all of this should be processed within the context of understanding the rules and limitations of the medium.  Knowing the craft allows one greater freedom to grow.  He says that sometimes keeping a focus keeps one from being too aimless.  Stress is always part of the process and can be productive.  Greg says that eliminating distractions, disorganization, lack of preparation, etc. will channel your creativity more productively.

Greg says that managing the time/space/money equations is important.  Find more time.  Make a dedicated space to create.  Apply more money or resources to your creative activities.  These will help you reach your goals for your art.

Some of Greg’s tips for enhancing creativity are:

·         Just do it
·         Overcome fear
·         Have a playful attitude
·         Be childlike
·         Keep an open mind
·         Practice, practice, practice
·         Keep humor and laughter with you
·         Give yourself permission to fail
·         Challenge your belief systems
·         Create a regular habit or schedule
·         One idea leads to other ideas
·         Success breeds confidence

Greg recommends a few books for further reading, such as,

The Artist Way – Julia Cameron
Hero of a Thousand Faces – Joseph Campbell
Roger von Oech – A Kick in the Seat of Your Pants

Greg concluded his program with a review and critique of Club member paintings. 

Our next Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society meeting will be on October 4th, where we will explore color with Nita Leland.  See you then.

Submitted by Tom Schroeder, Secretary, Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society, September 2017.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

MINUTES - September 6, 2017

Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society
Meeting Notes           
10:00 am September 6, 2017

President Kathy Lang called the meeting to order. 

We would like to welcome visitors to the club meeting this month:
·         Susie Wycoff – Retired art teacher, loves painting portraits, vintage images and wildlife.
·         Laurie Arshonsky – Teaches at Cancer Support Community.
·         Nancy Jean – Likes doing illustrations and pop art.
·         Jim Warner – Retired architect, likes sculpture and digital illustrations.

·         Member Deb Ward is teaching her classes at the Dunham Recreational Center this fall.  Contact her for details.
·         Heidi Hanssen and Carolyn Hibbard-Ross both have paintings in the Viewpoint 49 Show that will be at the Greenwich Gallery starting Oct. 6th.
·         The Queen City Art Club will feature Ray Hassard working with Pastels on Oct. 6th.
·         Maple Knoll Village in Springdale will feature an exhibit of the Hilltop Artists through Sept. 30th.
·         Fall Workshop Chairman, Pat Lester reported that this year’s workshop will be held on Oct 27 and 28.  Chris Campbell, of Indiana, will give the workshop this year.   It will be a two day event with Chris.  Chris is known as a very hands on teacher who works well with artists and is open to the interests of the participants.  The workshop is limited to the first 20 people to get their checks in to Connie Dettmer.  The workshop will run from 9-4 each day and lunch/snacks will be provided.

Mary Fleischmann, our Annual Exhibit Chair, reviewed the success of our recent Club Exhibition:
·         This year we had over 250 visitors review the exhibition.
·         (7) paintings were sold.  Some transactions were done with the credit card app.
·         Mary credited the folks that stepped up to make things happen.  She stressed that it’s important for everyone to keep their commitment to the tasks that are signed up for.  Mary would like to fill out the show leadership positions earlier for next year’s show.
·         The music by the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra during our show was a success.  Some paintings were sold from those attending the concert.  We will try to arrange this for next year if possible.
·         Next year The Barn is booked up for the year.  We are currently looking for other sites.  We will be at The Barn in August for the 2019 Show.

Nancy Wisely is stepping down as the Scholarship Chair.  If you are interested in helping out, please contact Kathy Lang.

Connie Dettmer provided an update to our Treasurer Report.

Membership report by Lydia Rittinger, announced one new member, Gary Brooks!  We do want to announce that new membership dues are reduced to $25 starting in August.  In addition to the Scholarship Award, a suggestion was made to offer a year’s membership to the Scholarship Award winner each year. 

Claudia Taylor is stepping down as the Programs Chairperson after this year.  Tom Schroeder offered to take up the Programs Chair if there was someone to assume the Secretary position.

Submitted by Tom Schroeder, Secretary, Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society, September 2017.

Thursday, August 10, 2017


Welcome to our show!   Below are photos from our reception on August 6.  We had a great turnout, lots of delicious food, music and beautiful artwork.

To see the show, please check the sidebar for dates and open hours.

Good eats . . .
Good crowd . . . 
More crowd . . .
Beautiful music!
First Place - Carol Imbus - "Discreet"
Second Place - Tom Schroeder - "In Living Color"

Tom Schroeder posing with his 2nd place painting
Third Place - Dorothy Burdin - "Findlay Market"
Honorable Mention - Heidi Hanssen - "Venetian Window"

Honorable Mention - Carolyn Hibbard - "Venice Beach Skateboarder"
Honorable Mention - Kathy Lang - "Big Ass Fan at Rhinegeist Brewery"

Honorable Mention - Diana Marra - "Golden Orchid"

Diana Marra posing with her painting
Honorable Mention - Deb Ward - "Peekaboo Bear"

Monday, July 24, 2017


Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society
Program Notes         
7:00 pm July 5, 2017

Our Program Chair, Claudia Taylor, introduced our July program presenter, Ken Buck.
Ken Buck
Ken is a very accomplished local artist, with memberships and signatures in multiple regional and national societies for both watercolor and pastels.  He has been published in many periodicals, books and magazines.  He has produced wonderful scenes of people swimming in pools and vivid floral scenes.  He teaches classes six days a week at the Art Academy and at The Baker-Hunt Art & Cultural Center.  Ken maintains his studio at the Pendleton Art Center.  They have an open house in October/November/December.  Ken noted that they are always looking for artists to show in the hallways during the Pendleton shows.

Ken described his preferred materials and tools:
·         His favorite papers are Jack Richeson, Arches and Lanaquarelle.  He chooses rough, cold press paper for bite to take pastels better.
·         He used a 1/2” Coffman flat brush during the demo.  He likes the brush because he has a good sense of how much paint it holds.  He also prefers synthetic brushes, choosing to avoid animal hairs.
·         Ken has thousands of pastels of all brands to assure a wide variety of colors and tints.
·         Ken emphasized using professional quality watercolors for longevity of color steadfastness.

For the program presentation, Ken explained that he would lay down a loose watercolor underpainting and overlay with pastel drawing and detailing.  Ken’s chosen scene was a woodland scene, with multiple vertical tree trunks breaking a colorful late summer/fall mix of colors.  As Ken worked through the watercolor underpainting, he outlined many of his general views of art, life and his passion as a cat whisperer.  After he completed the watercolor underpainting, he used a hair dryer to speed up the process before moving into the pastel work.
·         When he glazes in watercolor, Ken generally works in one direction.  When using watercolor as an underpainting, the direction is not important.
·         Ken doesn’t like to use black or gray tints in his work.  He prefers to mix grays with complementary colors that form the palette of a particular piece he is working on.  He believes that black kills the life in a painting.
·         Ken likes to push the application of color as far as he can during his work. 
·         Abstract painting is not an interest of Ken’s.  He believes that every painting has pieces and parts of the painting that are abstract in their individual nature, contributing to the overall composition.
·         Ken often searches and defines the darkest value in a painting as soon as possible.  It helps to define the range of values within the painting, by which to measure other color values.
·         Ken pointed out that oil-based pastels, such as Caran d’Ache, cannot be used with other pastels.
·         Pastels are not chalk. 
·         When working with pastels, one’s hands must be kept clean and dry.
·         Ken works hard to keep a balance of values in the overall composition of a painting.
·         He works vertically with watercolors and pastels.  When working with Yupo paper, one must work.
·         Ken enjoys setting a mix of watercolors in the underpainting that form rich grays and then layering accents of bright pastels over these gray areas.

Ken displayed and explained various techniques in his demo and as part of his approach in his work.
·         Ken worked very quickly as he put in his underpainting of watercolor.  He explained that it was merely to set the tone of colors for the composition.  Each color area would have varying degrees of pastel overlay.  Sometimes he left most of the watercolor come through and other times, he deepened the color area with heavy blends of pastels.
·         He explained that it is critical to let the watercolor dry before beginning the pastel work to keep the pastel looking fresh.
·         As Ken worked with the pastels, he would lightly blend the colors with his fingertips as needed to achieve softer or harder tones or edges.
·         Ken explained that he checks the values of the piece throughout the development of his work.  One thing he does is to squint, which blurs the detail into areas of color, allowing him to evaluate the values as he goes. 
·         Another trick is to view the painting in a mirror to look for shapes that don’t work. 
·         Ken will utilize a venetian blind to modulate the intensity of light hitting a painting as he reviews it. 
·         Ken also explained that it is possible to lift watercolor with dry brush before it is dry.  Pastels can also be lifted with stiff brush or kneaded eraser.
·         Upon finishing a pastel piece for shipping to a show, Ken uses Sennelier Latour Pastel spray fix.  He warns that application of a spray fix should be a single layer spray.  If too much spray is used, it can soak an area of pastel and darken the color in an undesirable way.

Ken recommended checking out artist Raymond Kelley for his pastel over watercolors.

Ken concluded his program with a review and critique of Club member paintings. 

For our next Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society meeting on August 2nd, we will be meeting at the Barn prior to setting and hanging the GCWS Show.  See you then.

Submitted by Tom Schroeder, Secretary, Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society, July 2017.

Monday, July 17, 2017

MINUTES - JULY 5, 2017

Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society

Meeting Notes           

7:00 pm July 5, 2017

President Kathy Lang called the meeting to order. 

We would like to welcome visitors, Pam Bost, (a beginning watercolorist from North Carolina who was visiting her cousin, Claudia Taylor), Nancy Schwartz and Sharon Hewer to the club meeting this month.


·         Fall Workshop Chairman, Pat Lester reported that this year’s workshop will be held on Oct 27 and 28.  She is interested in having Chris Campbell, of Indiana, come to give the workshop this year.   It would be a two day event with Chris.  Chris is known as a very hands on teacher who works well with artists and is open to the interests of the participants.

Mary Fleischmann, our Annual Exhibit Chair, reminded everyone of the details for our upcoming Club Exhibition:

·         This year the sitters will also be encouraged to paint while they sit.

·         One person of each sitting pair will need a smart phone and download the app for electronic payment for paintings that sell during their sitting time.

·         Aug 2nd will be our meeting date, followed by the show hanging.  Tom Schroeder has agreed to set the show this year.  Every painting will be in the best spot!!

·         On Aug 5th the show will start

·         The show reception will occur on Sunday, Aug. 6th, from 1-4.

·         This year’s judge will be Rachel Rubin Wolf, who was our presenter from the April meeting.

·         Deb Ward will do name tags for the paintings.

·         The show ends Sunday, Aug. 27th.  Paintings can be picked up on August 29th between 10-12.  Paintings can also be picked up Sunday at the end of the session.

·         The Anderson Senior Center will tour the exhibit.  This year, to assist with the presentation of the show during the tour, each exhibiting artist provide a write up of their paintings with entries.

·         On Aug 20th, there will be music by the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra at the Barn during our show.  Carol Fencl has agreed to stay after her sitting to be present while people cross over from the music to see our work.

·         The Barn typically takes 20% commission on sales of paintings during the show.  It is the responsibility of the artist to make this connection with The Barn.

The August 2nd meeting will be an informal, open Q & A session with coffee and donuts.  There will be no invited presentation.  This is an opportunity for you to ask questions about what you or others are working on with your work.

As announced last month by Nancy Wisely, our Scholarship Chair, this year’s Scholarship Award winner is Madison De Atley.  She will be present at our August meeting to receive her award and will also submit two of her paintings to be part of our show.  We will feature her paintings at the beginning of our show.

Membership report by Lydia Rittinger, announced one new member, a former program presenter from earlier this year, Heidi Hanssen.  Welcome Heidi!  We do want to announce that new membership dues are reduced to $25 starting in August.  The new Club membership directory was sent out via email earlier this spring.  If you still need a printed copy please contact Lydia or Kathy. 

Submitted by Tom Schroeder, Secretary, Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society, July 2017.

Monday, June 26, 2017

PROGRAM - JUNE 7, 2017

Heidi Hanssen
In the absence of our Program Chair, Claudia Taylor, Tom Schroeder introduced our June program presenter, Heidi Hanssen.

Heidi has a BFA Cum Laude from Ohio Wesleyan University and a MA in Art Education from Indiana University.  Even before her formal studies, Heidi has always had a keen interest in art.  After a career in teaching, sharing this interest with her students, Heidi is pursuing her dream of being a full-time artist.  She has chosen to develop her skills further in watercolor by attending workshops taught be accomplished watercolorists.

Heidi has shown her paintings at the Transparent Watercolor Society International Show, Ohio Watercolor Society and the Viewpoint Show, twice winning awards.  Most recently she won first award at the Cincinnati Woman’s Art Club Annual Show.  She is a Signature member of the Cincinnati Art Club and the Women’s Art Club.

Heidi has also worked in ceramics.  She stated that at one point she painted a painting for her husband and then decided to take classes from Ken Buck, which rekindled her interest in painting again.  

Heidi has taken workshops from John Salminen, from Duluth, Minnesota; Mary Whyte from Charleston, South Carolina and Janet Rogers of Ormond Beach, Florida.

From each instructor, she has learned tips of using a variety of tools and techniques that she shared with us.

John Salminen equipment tips and techniques:
·         Masking tape can be the cheap, basic kind from a hardware store.  Only use on dry, unpainted white paper.  If used on painted areas, additional paint can leach through the edges.  It is better to dry brush against the edge.  It can also be cut like a stencil.  Heidi demonstrated how thin lines can be masked and the color scrubbed off;
·         John recommends using a thin, snap-off blade knife to delicately cut fine and curved lines out of the masking tape without cutting the paper;
·         Magic Eraser by Mr. Clean works very well to lift color from watercolor paper.  Color should be scrubbed gently as needed to remove color.  Heidi passed out samples to the Club members;
·         John uses a mouth atomizer, which acts as a low tech airbrush to apply watercolor in a fine mist to areas of the painting.  They can be sourced on Cheap Joes or Amazon.

Other tools:
·         Janet Rogers recommended Loew Cornell brushes.  They keep a long point and have a good snap and are reasonably priced.
·         Heidi suggests buying big soft brushes, such as Silver Brushes or Princeton synthetic squirrel brushes.  She has also started using larger mop brushes to hold more paint and allow for thin line application.  She has also used Escoda and Danube brushes.
·         Heidi likes to use a small fan brush to paint fine lines to soften an edge. 
·         She also uses flat brushes to lift paint along an edge.
·         Heidi demonstrated how ruling pens can be used very effectively for applying masking fluid provides thin lines.
·         Heidi uses value cards to compare values of colors against each other as well as understanding values from reference pictures.  She also uses a punched white card to assist the comparison of a color to a value against the white of the card.
·         Mary Whyte recommended use of Gator Board for painting surface, for resistance to water, light weight and cost.
·         Automotive tape can be used for masking fine lines.
·         Clear Wet Media Film can be used to overlay a painting and experiment with wash tones to work out next steps of a painting.

Some lessons learned from the workshops about painting and process:
·         Backgrounds should be painted first to set the tone or lighting mood for the foreground subject.  Backgrounds can also be very light, partial gestural or dark.

John Salminen
·         In urban street scenes, chose an idea that conveys depth;
·         Skies are comprised of more than one color, borrowed from the palette of the landscape;
·         John likes to paint wet surfaces.  For wet streets, remember it acts like a mirror so reverse the image top to bottom, not side to side;
·         Mix up large amounts of color for washes;
·         Uses a mouth atomizer for textural treatment;
·         He uses a great variety of tinted overlays to help determine how to wash or atomize the tone of an area.

Janet Rodgers
·         Uses blotches of color areas in overlay fashion;
·         Create several warm and cool color mixtures and use them together, mixing on the paper;
·         Practice making interesting color mixes on scrap paper;
·         Use shapes of the background as a “gesture” to highlight the colors of the figure;
·         Likes Lowell Cornell brushes, longer tip and stiff;
·         Emphasized working on scraps of paper for color mixes of skin tones.

Mary Whyte portraiture is big inspiration for techniques.
·         Loves to use hats on figures, casts shadows, anchors faces
·         Mary uses Perylene Maroon as one of her favorite colors;
·         Paint skin warm skin tones and then overlay with cool shadows;
·         Avoid symmetry;
·         Work on background as you paint figure.

Heidi also pointed out that the internet is a great source of references and blogs for inspiration.  A couple of her favorite blogs are:
·         Gurney Journey
·         Seamless Expressions

She also stated that all of the national and regional society shows display the winning paintings on their individual websites for study.
Heidi was a great source of ideas, techniques and process, giving us much to review and practice in our own work. 

Heidi concluded her program with a review and critique of Club member paintings. 

For our next Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society meeting on July 5th, we will be hosting Ken Buck in an evening meeting.  The meeting will start with a Potluck dinner followed by the program at 7:00.  See you then.

Submitted by Tom Schroeder, Secretary, Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society, June 2017.