Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Guest Speaker/Artist
Joan Miley introduced Mike McGuire, our guest artist. Mike is a nationally known illustrator, having worked for many Tri-State companies, including United Dairy Farmer and Proctor & Gamble. He is a past president of the Cincinnati Art Club and recently retired from his position as Dean of the Cincinnati Academy of Design.
Mike started by saying he and Lou Austerman were instrumental in getting women into the Cincinnati Art Club back in 1978. Together they pushed that change through.

Mike picked out a fairly simple subject of two apples on a stand to paint today. He wanted something simple that could be painted fairly quickly and finished in the time he had allotted today. He said gouache is a slow process and, as an illustrator, he knows it takes time to complete a painting in gouache but he didn’t want to leave us with an unfinished painting today. He said apples are perfect subjects because they have a transparency, have great reflections against their skin, and it’s just fun to paint them.

Starting with a piece of 100# Crescent illustration board that he had taped around the edges, he “sketched” in the apples with gouache, just putting shapes down. Illustration board has external sizing you can remove and open up the pores of the paper by brushing it with clean water before starting to paint. He did this before he began painting.

Mike described himself as a “brush whore,” wanting every new and interesting brush he sees! He was using a brand new Kolinsky sable brush to paint today’s painting. He described gouache as the best medium in that you can put it on, take it off, change it, etc. You can mix it with gel medium and make it Acrylic. It is forgiving and easily correctable. You can make it transparent or opaque and it doesn’t get muddy when you work with the paints for a long time – if you know what you’re doing.
Gouache was the perfect medium for him, as an illustrator, because of the versatility of the paint. He knew he often had to make major changes to paintings shown to clients and using gouache allowed him to do that.

Mike’s palette consisted of Fame Red, Burnt Sienna, Prussian Blue, Permanent Green Light, and Alizarin Crimson, to name just a few. Putting in the reds in the sketch, he then added some lights to show where highlights would be. He was painting directly on dry board and he keeps his paints wet as he goes along just by spraying his palette with clean water. At this stage of the painting, it looked “chaotic,” as he said, but he keeps working to make it look more dimensional and real. He said you can keep working a painting in gouache and knowing when your painting is done is important so you don’t overwork it. You can paint very loosely or paint tight and detailed, or use a combination of both styles. Mike reminded us that, at this stage you can still wash off 90% of the painting under the sink if you don’t like where it’s going.

Gouache doesn’t need any spray fixative when finished, but does need to be matted and framed under glass, like a watercolor. Mike uses Winsor Newton gouache which is about $8.00 a tube. Gouache dries true, not lighter or darker – what you see if what you get. As an illustrator, Mike says you really want your paintings to pop out and grab a viewer’s attention.

Mike worked a lot by glazing over areas that were dried, but he knows when he can go in wet-in-wet and not get mud. He put in the most intense red and painted tighter as he worked, putting in a dark background and shadow shape around the apples. He saved the brightest lights for later on when he stroked in some pale blues and greens on the apples and in the background with a very calligraphic style.

Painting a thin layer of clean water to blend and glaze over the whole painting tied the areas together more. He then wanted everyone to come up to see closely how he added 2 water drops to the apples.

It was crowded around the table as many members watched Mike add water droplets to give the apples an extra punch and visual interest. He reminded us of the rule for waterdrops: the darks go on the light side of the apples and the lights go on the dark side of the apples. The light hits the water drop, passes through it, and creates a shadow underneath the drop. He made it look easy.

As he worked, Mike talked about growing up on his family property where they had 500 apple trees. He said the kids all picked apples to sell and they had any kind of apple you could think of. This explains his affinity to apples, which he described as simple but happy and energetic. Painting them just makes him feel good.

Mike shared some of the original illustrations he had done for several children’s books. He painted some of them with gouache but some with Lumis dye, which is very fugitive, so he can’t display them. The Lumis dye gave him the vibrant colors he wanted and the illustrations in the book were true to the paintings in color. He used his children and even his own pet dove as models for the paintings in the books.

Mike removed the tape from around the painting and called it done. He then asked that we all put our names in a basket for a drawing for the painting! We all put our nametags in the basket Mary Jane Noe provided and the winner of the beautiful painting of apples was Ginny Deckert! Congratulations, Ginny!

The GCWS provided the illustration board and gouache paints for 15 members who stayed after the program to paint along with Mike and learn more about his technique. We appreciate his clear teaching style and his generosity in giving away a painting, and in staying after to lead the members at they worked alongside him.

Administration Reports

Shirley Knollman opened the meeting, noting the smaller than usual turnout due to the horrific weather the tri-state has been enduring since Tuesday afternoon. She said, although the rain was still pouring down outside, she saw the sun shining in the smiles of the members who made it to the meeting today.

She also shared this quote from Mary Todd Beam, an Ohio artist: “Perfect design is boring. It’s too predictable. Taking some risks give a painting personality.”

We had no guests today, but Mary Jane Noe (Membership) asked everyone to take a copy of the newly revised and printed Membership Directory. She asked us to take our own mailing label off the master sheet when we get our directory so she only mails directories to those who haven’t picked up a copy.

Carol Rekow (Treasurer) reported a balance of $10,242.52 and a current membership of 111.


Shirley reported that the scholarship award recipient has been chosen. Rhonda Carpenter reported that our scholarship recipient is Jenny Shen, from Mason High School. Rhonda noted that Jenny will be attending New York’s Columbia School of Art in the fall. Jenny left the day after graduation from high school for a trip to China and could not be here in person to receive the $500 scholarship today. The check will be mailed to Jenny’s parents. A photo of Jenny and some of her artwork can be found on the GCWS blog later this week.

Evergreen Show – May 2008

Deb Ward couldn’t be at the meeting so there was no report on the show. Shirley announced that Joan Ammerman and John Howe both sold paintings at the show.

Art Shows

Kay Worz, coordinator of the Sharon Woods show in the fall, said she had given information to Irene Light to place in the upcoming newspaper. Kay reminded us that we will need titles, prices and names of artists by the end of August for the September 20-28 show.

Kay is the Artist of the Month at the Banker’s Club which is on the 30th floor of the Fifth Third Bank in downtown Cincinnati. Kay has also been elected President of the Cincinnati Art Club and begins her tenure this month.

Marilyn Bishop had to cancel the watercolor printmaking workshop planned for July due to restrictions from the Recreation Center.

St. Louis artist, Carol Carter, will be giving a 3-day workshop August 8, 9 and 10, at Sandy Maudlin’s Greentree Studio. There are still places open and the cost is $345. Contact Sandy for more information.

Howard Krauss reported that the Oxford Community Center wants to host Tom Lynch and Tony Van Hasselet for workshops in 2009. If you are interested in attending, please let Howard know so he can give the Oxford Center an idea of the interest in the area to bring these internationally known artists to us. The cost will be about $500-600 each for a week of instruction. Tom Lynch can come September or October 2009, and Tony Van Hasselet can come May or June 2009.

Joan Ammerman reported that Maple Knoll Village is starting a gallery. They will be hosting an opening show in September or October to publicize this new venue for artists. They will take 20% of the price of sold artwork, and you should contact Larry Pauly at 513-782-2426 for more information.

Joan also noted that the Sycamore Center show starts July 11.

Joyce Friedeman mentioned her upcoming show at the Creative Hands and Artisan Studio at 605 Fairfield Avenue in Bellevue, KY. The reception, part of the First Friday event in Bellevue, is Friday, June 6, from 6:00 – 9:00 pm. The show runs through June.

Remember, all information on upcoming member shows can be sent to Sandy Maudlin to be put on our blog at (

Other Business

Although Dot Burdin wasn’t at the meeting, Shirley wanted to thank her for keeping our scrapbook. Shirley reminded us that Susan Grogan is now the scrapbook keeper for the GCWS.

Critique Session

Howard Krauss shared a lovely landscape painting he had completed. Although there was nothing to change on this painting, Howard still thanked the group for their input each meeting, which he felt has helped him grow as an artist.

Marilyn Bishop showed 2 paintings she had completed based on the Stephen Blackburn pouring technique she learned last month. They were both successful and very visually appealing.

Sam Hollingsworth brought a painting he did as part of a series of industrial sites. This one was of buildings and cement trucks. He got a lot of comments and suggestions for improving some small things in the painting and he thanked the group for their help. He said he will redo the painting with the suggestions in mind.

Next Meeting

Our guest speaker/artist for July will be Mary Marxen, who will give us a program on her style of painting very loose and juicy flowers. Mary will also stay after the meeting to lead the after-program paint along.

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