Baltimore Watercolor Society
When I was very young I dreamed of far away places, enamored by the stories of the Wild West, and by tales of adventurers and explorers. My mother, an artist, fed my wanderlust by showing me paintings of towering mountains, verdant valleys and crashing waterfalls, thundering herds of bison and portraits of the people who dwelled there. She told me of the artists who had gone West with expeditions or settlers and brought back their paintings. I knew the names of Thomas Moran and Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Remington, George Catlin and Charles Russell before I had ever heard of Rembrandt and Vermeer. How I longed to go there and see the lands that they had painted, images that had shown “Easterners” an incredible land beyond the Mississippi and were instrumental in the creation of our first National Park – Yellowstone. It was artists that showed us the landscapes and the peoples dwelling there before the rest of us newcomers arrived.
On a trip out west in 2019 to Arizona and New Mexico, my husband and I spent time on four Native American reservations (Hopi, Navajo, Pueblo and Apache), listening to artisans, from weavers and prizewinning basket-makers to sculptors, jewelry makers and glassblowers, who were translating their heritage into art. The landscape was arid and harsh and their living conditions primitive but their work was often breathtakingly beautiful and their dedication to their art, whole-hearted. It both broke our hearts and yet filled them with joy at seeing such incredible art being created - “beauty out of ashes.” But I missed seeing paintings. Just as I had seen few paintings in U.S. Art museums by Native American artists, I didn’t see many paintings among their artists on the reservations.
Consequently, it was a pleasure to recently read an article, “Painting A Navajo Narrative” by Matthew Brady1 about Shonto Begay who is both an artist (acrylics) and a poet. His father was a medicine man and his mother wove Navajo rugs; he and his 15 siblings tended the animals on their Navajo reservation. He paints of his upbringing in a Hogan, his spiritual beliefs, his dreams, the “inside” and the “outside” landscapes of his life. He weaves tales of his heritage and culture using brush strokes that result in paintings resembling the woven rugs of the Tribal women. His technique is centuries old and is called “broken-stroke” art – think impressionists Van Gogh or Seurat - and his vibrant palette contrasts cool blues and violets with warm oranges, reds and purple.2 It reflects the colors of the mesas and canyons, the rugged beauty of his land and the beauty of his people. But he does not dwell only on the past and the landscape, however. Many of his paintings and poems show the Navajo people today dealing with a culture that is not their own and the difficult daily struggles of living in the harsh reality of reservation life. He shows us his world, both in paint and in words. “The role of the artist,” he says, “has always been to create a dialogue between the painting and the viewer, to document environmental and social conditions. My journey is not so concerned with the stoic, stereotypical images of Indian life…but more with the daily struggles of the common people, and with what connects us in the commonality.”2
Begay is both an illustrator and storyteller of Navajo traditions and culture in the same manner as Norman Rockwell, one of his inspirations, did in our own mid-twentieth century. He has come a long way - from herding sheep on the reservation, to attending brutal government boarding schools (and painting illegally on the sly), then graduating art college in California, to exhibiting in galleries and museums across the Southwest from Arizona to Utah and San Francisco and writing inspirational books and giving talks to young children.3 His work encompasses both the beauty of the land and his people’s relationship to it, in addition to the starkness of daily living. He says, “For me, beauty is anything that stirs the soul, the emotion, whether it be grief, anger, joy or melancholia.“2
Through his paintings and his poems, he reveals to us the things of the heart that make him Shonto Begay – the things of his culture that we cannot see, just by looking in, as we are outsiders. He shows them to us through the windows of his eyes.
Sounds like the guidance we always hear from good instructors to “paint what you know” and “paint what moves you to joy or tears,” which in turn, reminds me of a similar bit of counsel, a continent and a culture removed, this from French cinematographer, Robert Bresson, to “Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.” That is what makes a creation unique.
1) “Painting a Navajo Narrative” Brady, Matthew; American Lifestyle Magazine, vol. 105.
2) “Shonto Begay, Native American Painter”, CanyonRoadsArts.com
Stay safe and well,
Note: The above Upcoming Events summary only displays the start date for each event. For full details please click on the event, or visit the Events page.
Welcome New Signature Artists
Additional new Signature Artists will be announced once their dues are paid.
Gina Judy of Richmond, OH
Julia Rosenbaum of Gaithersburg, MD
Susan Sparks of Dunlevy, PA
Sandy Yagel of Olney, MD
Welcome New Associates
Gina Busby of Norfolk, VA
Jane Gott of Potomac Falls, VA
Ann Greene of Newton, NJ
Jan Perdue of Berlin, MD
Luis F Perez of Canaan, NY
Janice Pini of Venetia, PA
Phyllis D. Zwarych of Rehoboth Beach, DE
Volunteer Needed for BWS Treasurer Position
I will be retiring and BWS Board is looking for a new Treasurer. This is a Board Officer Position.
The position requires a knowledge of basic accounting and skill working with finances, Excel and spreadsheets. So if you have those talents, please consider volunteering them for your BWS organization. We would love to have you join us.
I will be working with the applicant during the training period and will remain on the Board as consultant next year.
If you are interested in discussing this position, please give me a call at 410-913-4105.
Gaye Holcomb, Treasurer
2021 Mid-Atlantic Exhibition
This was a banner year for entries to the Mid-Atlantic Exhibiton. There were 270 artists who submitted 465 images for our juror. Choosing just 100 images was no small task since there were so many outstanding and interesting submissions.
The exhibit will be up for viewing June 12-August 31, and will be promoted both by BWS on Facebook, and the BlackRock Center for the Arts through their website. Catalogs will be mailed in June or July to all BWS members as well as the non-members who submitted entries for the exhibit. Since we use bulk mail to get these out, it is essential that your address in the membership database is up to date.
Online 2021 BWS Member Meeting
With Lecture from Artist/Historian Leigh Culver and Demo by Artist Peter Ulrich
Save the Date: May 27, 2021
Zoom open for Member Social Time at 6:30pm
BWS has a treat in store for members of BWS. Everyone is invited to attend our online meeting- free of charge- but you must be registered to view it on Zoom.
Artist (BWS, PVW) and art historian Leigh Culver, PhD, will present the lecture she would have given at our 2020 Annual Dinner (cancelled due to COVID-19). It is titled "An Evening with Whistler."
Leigh will discuss Whistler’s art and the scandals surrounding his most well-known works. Explaining Whistler’s decision to turn to watercolor, Leigh will introduce us to what Whistler called his “lovely little games.”
Peter Ulrich (NWS, BWS, PVW) will then demo a painting in the style of Whistler, using the pigments and papers Whistler used. Leigh and Peter, together, will share insights about Whistler’s techniques and the history of the watercolor medium.
We have already registered the maximum number of attendees allowable on our Zoom license. Registration is full but Wild Apricot is still accepting members to our waiting list through May 20th. If a spot opens up, waiting list members will be contacted in order.
Additionally, we have received permission to record the presentation. If all goes well, we will make the recorded presentation available to anyone left on the waiting list, as well as the General Membership, after the event. The recorded presentation will be available for only one week and will require a link to view. Details will follow.
Please plan to join us. Questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Donor Advertisement from Hahnemühle:
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We're excited to announce that we are now offering The Collection - Watercolor 300gsm, matt, cold-pressed, 9x12inch, ten sheet blocks, and new 12 sheet pads.
Workshops and Programs
Mid-Atlantic Workshop: There are a few openings for the the Anne Abgott "Daring Color" online workshop on June 21, 22, and 24 (no class on the 23rd). We will be painting birds, bicycles, glass, and silver.
To register, visit the event listing for the workshop.
Program under development: If you have ever wondered about copyrights, then stay tuned. BWS is currently looking into hosting a program on this topic.
BWS members may submit a 60-word announcement gratis to be listed under the heading "Member News." Images will be included as space allows. Submissions are due by the 15th of the month preceding publication date, and may be edited for length or clarity. Please e-mail your submissions to the Newsletter Editor at email@example.com.
Boxed off featured ads are available for $25 and may include up to 100 words and one image. Contact the Newsletter Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.J. M. Littleton is teaching watercolor workshops on Landscapes and Flowers at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in May and June. Blackrockcenter.org for details. She is teaching Realistic Watercolor online Wednesdays, 6:30-9pm, and in person Friday and Saturday mornings, at the Littleton School of Art.
Annie Strack’s painting “Portrait of Chris” was juried into the Illinois Watercolor Society 37th International Exhibit.
April Rimpo’s painting “Fishing Day” was selected by juror Elain Daily-Birnbaum for the Illinois Watercolor Society’s 2021 National Show to be held at the Next Picture Show from May 1 – 28, 2021. April was also the juror of selection and awards for the Capitol Hill Art League's Annual Open Juried Exhibition: Galaxy. You can see the exhibit on their website.
Joanna Barnum is serving as a Judge for this year's Women in Watercolor online competition and exhibition.
Peg Sheridan is the Featured Artist at the Shenandoah Valley Art Center in Waynesboro, VA, for the month of April. The show includes 27 of her recent paintings. There will be an opening on April 10, 5-7pm. For more information, www.svacart.com.
Theodora Tilton is teaching a Summer Plein Air Workshop June 11-13, 2021. Accommodations are provided by Shrine Mont in the Shenandoah Mountains in Orkney, VA. Go to Shrinemont.com to sign up. Tiltonstudio.com.
OpportunitiesWest Virginia Watercolor Society
Stifel Fine Arts Center, Wheeling, WV
Entry Deadline: May 31, 2021
National Watercolor Society
Center for the Arts Evergreen
Philadelphia Watercolor Society
Dilian Deal of Vienna, VA
Painting by Dilian Deal
President: Sharon Morell, email@example.com, 443-465-1863
Secretary: Deborah Cohan, 301-977-6212
Treasurer: Gaye Holcomb, 410-442-1922
Mid-Atlantic Chair: Sharon Green, firstname.lastname@example.org, 410-363-1922
Workshops & Programs: Sabine Yeager, email@example.com, 410-245-0366
Webmaster: Bob Coe, 410-877-3730
Newsletter Editor: Joanna Barnum, firstname.lastname@example.org, 410-428-3432
Newsletter Committee: Carolyn Murphy, 443-578-8343
Archivist: Karen Norman, 301-318-2224
Hospitality Chair: Karen Schuster, 410-531-5768
Hospitality: Bonita Glaser, 301-498-3946
Hospitality: Joan Orcutt, 240-381-9309
Membership/Database: April Rimpo, email@example.com, 443-766-0148
Membership/Jurying: Stacy Levy, firstname.lastname@example.org, 410-446-2714
Mid-Atlantic Awards Chair: Dana Kleinsteuber, 410-917-7935
Mid-Atlantic Awards: Janet Arsenault, 410-713-0248
Exhibits Chair: David Drown, 410-971-9769
Exhibits: Jeffery Turner, 410-964-8282
Exhibits: Kathy Daywalt, 443-695-4008
Publicity: Harold Walpert, 410-358-9543
Social Media: Annie Strack, 610-925-2815