Deb Ward, GWS, OWS, PWS, WSI - WATERCOLOR/WATER MEDIA - My passion is teaching adult “beginners”. Weekly classes in my home; workshops; classes for Cincinnati Recreation Commission. My work is nationally recognized and published - see “Featured” on my sidebar. I’m a Signature Member of Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana state Watercolor Societies, Cincinnati Art Club, past-President of Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society. Contact info below under “Class Information”

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Last Thursday was an absolutely sweltering hot day – how better to spend it than viewing art, eating lunch and laughing with friends!
Some of you have probably already read Rhonda’s blog post about our trip to Middletown Arts Center to view the American Watercolor Society show. We are so fortunate to have the MAC close by – it’s a little over an hour drive for me, but well worth it. It’s always so wonderful to see the paintings you have seen in magazines in a little bitty 2x4 format in front of you – in person, full size and in living color!
The following are my comments about the paintings (if I was able to locate a website I attached the link) and some photos. (The photos are not great – got lots of reflections no matter how I stood and pointed the camera – but I’m OK with that. You will be able to see the painting I’m taking about, and I’m not overly concerned with any copyright issues, since I can’t believe anyone would try to pull these off my blog and copy them! If you want to see these works in a “better light” – go to either the organization’s or the artist’s website).

We decided there were still quite a lot of “gray” paintings. While I love John Salminen’s work, his signature style is shades of gray with some small “pops” of color. Although, in looking at his painting which won the top TWSA award – it looks like that one is showing some change of style (it made me think of Jean Grastorf). It has much more sparkle and lightness to it. I guess we all tend to change our styles somewhat over time.
Anyway – there were still lots of “gray” paintings. I guess I’m just more into color because, while some of those were lovely – especially Dean Mitchell’s (he is an amazing painter, telling a story with a simple composition and limited palette) – it’s the vibrantly colored paintings that pull me in.

So here we go with my critique!
First is the John Salminen “gray” painting! It does have sparks of light with the lanterns and definitely gives the feel of “Morning Fog”.

This one is by George Harkin who I am not familiar with. It looks like the Nick Simmons “cell” paintings and is unbelievably involved – how I wish I could do that!

This is the one that Rhonda had mentioned in her blog. It is done by Susan Montague, who won the bronze award here and who also won an award at TWSA with another figure painting. Her style looks like it is definitely influenced by Ted Nuttall. The painting is created from dots and swirls and blobs of color – and comes together as a portrait!

This is Mark Mehaffey’s entry. He is creating these abstractions as well as figurative work in watercolor and is also painting in acrylics. He’s certainly a versatile painter and some of my friends who have taken his workshop speak very highly of him.

Jean Grastorf’s entry. I took a workshop from Jean a long time ago and she has developed her unique pouring style into a true art form! This is amazing up close, the way the colors blend into each other and the incredible light pouring onto the figure.

This is by Preecha Promprabtuk (sorry, am not familiar with his work until now – but I’ll be watching for more!)
This was hung at the back of the exhibition hall and was the first thing you saw as you walked in – how could you not see it – the colors are soooooo vibrant. It’s a circuit board and most of those little bitty images at the top have little tiny numbers and letters on them – some had been miskited (maybe he uses a toothpick like I do???) This was my second favorite!

This is by Steve Rogers – who still has his sparkly white technique. I always enjoy his paintings – they look “dotty” up close but come together at a distance – I think that’s called “optical or visual blending” (correct me if I’m wrong!). His wife, Janet Rogers (same link as above), also had a painting in the show – a figure, her specialty. I have also taken a workshop from Janet, and she is a lovely woman, both inside and out! (But I still can’t paint people!!!)

And last but not least, here’s my favorite by Judy Morris. It’s done in shades of red. It has a border with words. Then there are patterns inside that on the curtains. Then her standard salt technique – which, with her, never appears “technique – y”! I love that the center of interest is – in the center! - the person in the blue shirt. You get such an impression of warmth and sunlight and glow through the curtains – especially due to that RED SKY – who would ever think to do that! The intricacy of the patterns – my kinda painting – double WOW!

If this show comes anywhere close to you, go see it (that’s an order!) Otherwise, go to the website and take a look at the paintings in a much better light! The website will have a list of the rest of the places to which the show will travel, so check that out, too.

Anyway - following the viewing, we had lunch at Olive Garden and then home – where I actually had time to paint a little that evening!

All in all, a pretty nice day!


Christiane Kingsley said...

Thank you so much, Deb for sharing these pictures and your thoughts. What an inspiring show. One of my favorites is Jean Grastorf’s entry. Her book on pouring is probably what got me hooked on watercolor.

Have a great Sunday!

debwardart said...

Christiane - I agree - I saw Jean's work in a magazine years ago and organized a "workshop outing". I still admire her work, and love pouring! (and glazing!!!)

Unknown said...

Makes me wish I could see some of this work in person too. If only a gallery in Oregon would host the traveling show. I imagine you girls had a great day looking at all this inspiring work.

Gary Keimig said...

great posts of some wonderfu;l art work Deb.
Thanks too for the kind comment on my art blog. A little practice and you too can do quick draws :)
I know the first few I did were awful and I am sure who ever picked them up had some great firestarters.

debwardart said...

Carrie - thanks for the post - your works is great, especially your figures! It's too bad the AWS show can't reach more places, and we did have a great time!
Gary - it will take more than a "little" practice!!!