Friday, July 4, 2008


Joan Miley introduced Mary Marxen, our guest artist. Joan described Mary as pretty and colorful, and she certainly was both in her red, white, and blue ensemble. She had even decorated the room with balloons:-D

This is Mary’s fourth demonstration for GCWS. She must be doing something right to be asked back so many times!

She mentioned that taking 2 workshops from Joe Fettingis sparked her love of color. She described herself as a colorist, and said she has about 100 colors on her palette and she wants to use them all!

She said beginners often have a fear of the white paper and will do anything to keep from starting a painting. Toning the paper with a pale color sometimes works to help you get over that fear.

Mary certainly has no fear of putting down color, as she demonstrated for us today by first painting a small, loosely handled portrait of her mini Yorkie.

Mary stressed that the faster you paint, the better it is when you are trying for a loose look in your work. If someone says it’s too messy, just tell them it’s the style – like Charles Reid with his splatters and runs. She incorporates his style and the style of Janet Rogers in her paintings.
She brought out a color wheel and said she starts with yellow and works her way around the color wheel, using each color! Her favorite saying was, “Why use just 1 color when you can use 21?”

I think she used at least 21 colors in her portrait of her mini Yorkie, and she had to include her favorite color, Permanent Rose, which she adds to every painting.

Although it looked like she was just playing, Mary was careful in her painting, knowing to leave a little white, which she described as the beauty of watercolor. She also started her painting at the top, leaving the background for last.

She said, why do a background if the subject doesn’t turn out – just start over. She loves soft edges and softened many of her edges with a damp brush wiped along the edge of the paint, softening out to nothing in some instances.
She also used a little salt for texturing, and used clean water to get splatters and drips, tilting her painting so there were runs of color down the page. She always does the eyes on a portrait last, so she left her first painting to dry while she began her second painting for us, a lovely pink flower.

Mary said she has many quotes she likes and one of her favorites is what Frank Lloyd Wright replied when asked, “What is your favorite design?” He replied, “My next one!” That is Mary’s attitude, too, always being positive and thinking her next painting will be her best. As she teaches, she gives demos to her students and had many varieties of her Yorkie painting, and another version of the flower already painted that she shared with us.

Creating blossoms in watercolors, especially in a flower painting, is another one of Mary’s favorite things. She likes the spontaneous look of loose work and blossoms add to that loose painting style.
Although she showed us a finished painting of the flower she demoed for us today, she said she didn’t like it because it was too tight. She said she had tried too hard on it, and it wasn’t the loosely painted style she likes best.

Mary said you should not look at the previous painting when you are painting the same thing over, but you should start with a fresh picture in your mind. Her second version was much more “painterly” than the first.

Mary paints her leaves in four colors: Gamboge yellow, Cobalt blue, Sap green, and Burnt sienna. She mixes those four colors so her greens aren’t all the same throughout the painting.
She never uses black paint but mixes her own black from a selection of her darkest colors, and if it doesn’t turn out dark enough, she puts in a bit of Payne’s Gray.
Mary describes her style as “wishful meditations in color.” She transforms a subject into what she “wishes” it would be using meditation and prayer to bring her paintings to a colorful and wonderfully imaginative conclusion.

Although Mary said we wouldn’t learn anything new from her today, I think she was wrong. Those who already knew Mary learned a bit more about her gracious, giving, happy self; and those who didn’t know her as well came away learning what a special person this little dynamo in bright colors can be. She left us with a smile, a laugh, and some lovely and colorful art – and you can’t ask for better than that!

Some of Mary’s favorite sayings:

1. Don’t be afraid to be different
2. Don’t be afraid to play
3. Get to know all the colors on your palette.
4. Leave some white on the paper, working in a vignette style when it works for the subject.

And of course:
5. Why paint with just 1 color when you can paint with 21?

Administration Reports

Shirley Knollman opened the meeting with this quote from the book, Art and Fear:

“Fears about yourself prevent you from doing your best work, while fears about your reception by others prevent you from doing your own work.”

Mary Jane Noe (Membership) distributed copies of the newly printed Guidelines and By-Laws. She also introduced our guests, Donna Cameron, Jean Godden and Nancy Wisely. Donna has been taking watercolor lessons from Mary Marxen for about one year; Jean is familiar with both oils and watercolors; and Nancy has been painting in watercolor and acrylics for about two years. She is a retired professor whose specialty is the Sociology of Art.

Although Carol Rekow (Treasurer) couldn’t be at the start of the business meeting, she said later that our current balance is $9,127.03.


Bonnie Rupe gave us a run-down on how the recipient of our 2008 scholarship was chosen. Bonnie has written down some guidelines for the next scholarship, and reminded us that our 2008 scholarship recipient, Jenny Shen, has her photo and some of her artwork available for viewing on the GCWS blog.

Evergreen Show – May 2008

Deb Ward couldn’t be at the meeting but sent the following report. We had 97 paintings from 47 members in the show, which ran for six weeks. The opening was not as well attended as in past years, due in part to the opening of the Women’s Art Club in Mariemont that same weekend. We may want to make sure we avoid conflicts with the WAC when we schedule our dates next year for Evergreen.

There were 73 people who signed the guest book and 3 paintings sold: two by Joan Ammerman and one by John Howe. The GCWS made $175.71 after all expenses were paid.

Shirley said Evergreen staff mentioned there were a lot of leftover postcards. This raised the question of how many postcards GCWS gets compared to how many Evergreen keeps. It was suggested that GCWS get more postcards next year, and Shirley reminded members to put them in their local hairdressers, banks, groceries, etc. – anywhere a lot of people may see it and pick it up.

Joan Ammerman asked about the possibility of having a couple of meetings prior to the hanging of the 2009 Evergreen Show to prep artists who will be in the show. We can critique the artwork, the matting and framing, and give artists suggestions for their best paintings, etc. Howard Krauss and Eartell Brownlow agreed to head up this project when the time draws near.

Art Shows

Kay Worz distributed registration forms for the Sharon Woods show that will be held in September. She will be typing up the title cards and needs that information to her by September 3rd. Kay suggested that each artist consider the clientele of the Sharon Center when painting something for the show. Since it will be mainly Mom’s with strollers walking through after a day at the park, you may want to paint something more inexpensive in price and maybe nature themed. The entry fee is $15 whether you put in one or three paintings. Also, each artist may hang their own paintings if they choose to do so.

When Kay asked for a show of hands of those interested in putting something in the Sharon Woods show, we had about 20 people from today’s group. Since it may be a smaller show than what we had in 2006, it opens up more space for viewers to see the paintings and not feel too crowded.

Kay asked that anyone who wants to send her a photo of a painting for the postcard to do so by next week. Her email address is on the registration form she passed out. Everyone also got a registration form sent to their individual emails a few weeks ago.

Kay is instituting a new policy at the Cincinnati Art Club in her new roll as President. Anyone who is a signature member or an associate member can now have a show at the CAC. She wants to open it up for more artists to have shows and take advantage of all that CAC offers: 100 life drawing sessions a year, several weekend workshops, 2 individual critique sessions, and more.

Rhonda passed around the flyer for a workshop by Carol Carter, which will be August 8, 9 and 10, at Sandy Maudlin’s Greentree Studio. There are still places open, and the cost is $345.

Maple Knoll Village is starting a gallery (and Larry Pauly will be here next month to talk about the GCWS having a group show there). They are having their first opening show sometime in September or October to publicize this new venue.

Marilyn Bishop reminded us that Judy Anderson is having a workshop July 15, 16, 17 at the Women’s Art Club in Mariemont. (See sidebar.) Marilyn sent emails to those members whose email addresses she had, and she passed around a flyer on the program. If there isn’t more interest, Judy will have to cancel the workshop.

Other Business – August Meeting

Marilyn Bishop reported that our August meeting will be a DVD program of George James. The DVD is called “Mastering Yupo,” it is 75 minutes long, and we will watch a section then stop the DVD and paint along until we have gone through the entire DVD. A sample sheet of yupo will be provided to each member, but you need to bring:

A watercolor pencil – any color
Your brushes and paints
A small foam rubber roller (like for painting walls)
A box of Kleenex tissues
A spray water bottle that makes large drops, not misting
Any stamps or stamping tools you have

Each table will be set to face the screen and we will watch the DVD together and paint along, trying our hand at the challenging techniques on yupo for which George James has become famous.
Critique Session

Mary agreed to facilitate the critique session of 5 paintings. Howard Krauss used the Stephen Blackburn pouring technique to create a really stunning night scene with baskets that needed nothing more than softening of a pure white area to finish it.

Susan Grogan’s still life was painted in soothing colors and had an unusual composition in that she cropped the top of the flowers in the vase. There were just a few suggestions about carrying the color red throughout the painting, and also warming some of the reds in the foreground.

Marilyn Bishop shared one of her latest monotype prints. There was nothing to add as it was a very strong work in both composition and color. The only suggestions were given on how to mat it to make it an even stronger piece.

Nancy Wisely showed us 2 acrylic paintings – one in a traditional, realistic manner, and the same scene done in a nonrepresentational way. It was suggested that she keep in mind where she wants the viewer to look and keep that focal area prominent by using more intense colors, stronger value contrasts, or something unique that wasn’t in the rest of the painting. Her painting had a playful quality in the rhythms of the clouds, the tree, and the water.

Mary Lou Demar shared a still life with tomatoes that needed nothing more than to carry some of the reds into the pure yellow flowers because the red tomatoes in the basket were stealing the show from the vase of flowers behind it.

Next Meeting

August: DVD of George James – Mastering Yupo
September: Our annual sale as well as guests from Prince Art and from Maple Knoll Village.