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Highlights Newsletter May 2021

President's Palette

Photograph of BWS president Sherry Morell

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”,


Stay safe and well,


    Upcoming Events

    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

    Vicky Zhou of Oakton, VA

    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.

        Duties include:
        Maintain financial records of BWS
        Reconcile bank accounts
        Maintain spreadsheet of all BWS activity
        Monthly reports to Board and Century Accounting
        Issue checks as requested

        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
        Presentation begins at 7pm

        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

        Donor Advertisement from Hahnemühle:

        Logo and staged photo of watercolor paper with materials from Hahnemuhle

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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.

        Click here to find our current list of dealers.

        Item #
        9 x 12”
        Cold-pressed – 12 sheet pad
        9 x 12”
        Cold-pressed – 10 sheet block
        9.45 x 12.6”
        Cold-pressed – 10 sheet block
        11.81 x 15.75"Cold-pressed – 10 sheet block
        14.17 x 18.9”
        Cold-pressed – 10 sheet block
        9.45 x 12.6”
        Rough – 10 sheet block
        1062514111.81 x 15.75”Rough – 10 sheet block
        14.17 x 18.9”
        Rough – 10 sheet block
        9.45 x 12.6”
        Hot-pressed – 10 sheet block
        11.81 x 15.75"Hot-pressed – 10 sheet block
        14.17 x 18.9”
        Hot-pressed – 10 sheet block
        22.04 x 29.92”Cold-pressed -10 sheet pack
        41.73 x 30.71”
        Cold-pressed – 5 sheet pack
        22.04 x 29.92”Rough – 10 sheet pack
        41.73 x 30.71”
        Rough – 5 sheet pack
        22.04 x 29.92”
        Hot-pressed – 10 sheet pack
        41.73 x 30.71”
        Hot-pressed – 10 sheet pack
        50” x 33 ft.Cold-pressed – roll
        1062916150” x 33 ft.Rough – roll

        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.

        Member News

        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

        Boxed off featured ads are available for $25 and may include up to 100 words and one image. Contact the Newsletter Editor at for details.

        J. M. Littleton is teaching watercolor workshops on Landscapes and Flowers at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in May and June. 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,

        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 to sign up.


        West Virginia Watercolor Society
        Aqueous 2021
        Stifel Fine Arts Center, Wheeling, WV
        Entry Deadline: May 31, 2021

        National Watercolor Society
        101st International Open Exhibition
        Entry Deadline: May 14, 2021

        Center for the Arts Evergreen
        48th Annual Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Exhibition
        Center for the Arts Evergreen, Evergreen, CO
        Entry Deadline: May 17, 2021

        Philadelphia Watercolor Society
        121st International Exhibition of Works on Paper
        Community Arts Center, Wallingford, PA
        Entry Deadline: August 3, 2021

        In Memoriam

        Dilian Deal of Vienna, VA

        Watermedia painting by Dilian Deal, a diptych of orange flowers on a green background in a graphic style

        Painting by Dilian Deal

        Board of Governors and Committee Chairs

        Baltimore Watercolor Society, a 501c3 Nonprofit Organization

        President: Sharon Morell,, 443-465-1863

        Vice President:

        Secretary: Deborah Cohan, 301-977-6212

        Treasurer: Gaye Holcomb, 410-442-1922

        Mid-Atlantic Chair: Sharon Green,, 410-363-1922

        Workshops & Programs: Sabine Yeager,, 410-245-0366

        Webmaster: Bob Coe, 410-877-3730

        Newsletter Editor: Joanna Barnum,, 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,, 443-766-0148

        Membership/Jurying: Stacy Levy,, 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

        © Baltimore Watercolor Society

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