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Watercolor Art Society of Houston


“Dall Ram at Full Circle” watercolor by Karen Dwyer.

“Dall Ram at Full Circle” watercolor by Karen Dwyer.

Group’s 38th International Exhibition Runs March 10-April 9

By Cheryl Alexander

The Watercolor Art Society of Houston (WASH), a nonprofit arts organization that has been in existence for more than 50 years, encourages and supports the creation and appreciation of water-media art. The International Exhibition is the larger of WASH’s two major annual exhibits and attracts artists from around the world. This year marks the 38th International Exhibition and it will be on display from March 10 through April 9 with an opening reception on March 13, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the WASH Gallery located at 1601 West Alabama in Houston’s museum district.

The International Exhibition at WASH is one of the nation’s top flight opportunities for seasoned professionals as well as talented amateurs to offer their work for critical consideration that may eventually bring another Van Gogh, Homer or Sargent to the market place.

Significance of the Exhibit

The International Exhibition, reputable for high standards, is celebrating its 38th year. Local artists as well as those from around the globe anticipate the exhibit and look forward to submitting work. Con­sidered one of the top 10 U.S. water-media exhibitions by the nationally renowned Watercolor Artists magazine, the show offers some of the largest monetary prize payouts in the country, encouraging talented artists to submit their best work and compete for the prizes.

Each year between 350 and 400 entries are submitted for consideration, but only about 90-100 pieces are accepted for exhibit. Normally about 50 percent of the entries come from Texas, between 35 and 40 percent come from other states, and about 10 percent are from other countries. During the past five years the Inter­national Exhibition has shown work from Canada, India, Malaysia, Serbia, Singa­pore and Spain.

Because WASH and the International Exhibition is in Houston, the country’s fourth largest city, which has one of the nation’s largest “arts districts,” and because of its established age and reputation, the event attracts the attention of a strong and active arts community that appreciates excellent work.

“We are excited that the quality and variety of this year’s work is better than ever and we are so fortunate to have Eric Weigardt judging the exhibition,” said Karen Lindeman, event chairman.

Juror Eric Weigardt is a member of the American Watercolor Society, the National Watercolor Society, and the Transparent Watercolor Society of America. Along with having his work in private collections around the country, his watercolors have received the endorsement of The Artist’s Magazine and Watercolor Artist Maga­zine by appearing on the covers of both. He has authored Watercolor Free and Easy, conducts classes and workshops nationally and has instructed over 5000 students.

Weigardt has also achieved the Dolphin Fellowship and Dolphin Medal, the highest award offered by the American Watercolor Society. This places him along- side only 65 other watercolor artists who have received that honor since the society’s inception in 1948. He will bring that ability and knowledge about watercolor, art, and painting into play as he judges this year’s submissions. Those artists gaining entry into the exhibition will have cleared a very high bar having been thoughtfully reviewed by this accomplished professional.

Why Artists Enter

Because the International Exhibition attracts watercolor art from the global arena, it compels participants to submit their highest quality work. Further, being accepted for inclusion affirms that they have achieved a high standard, adding to the artist’s reputation and confidence that his work can compete with the best in the world.

“The variety and breadth of watercolor painting today will literally take your breath away,” said Beverly Aderholt, society president. When an artist’s work compares favorably to the work of others, their artistic growth is stimulated. Exhibiting one’s art alongside other quality paintings that are diverse in style and technique acts as a catalyst for development of their craft. Each artist is compelled to take a fresh, objective look at their work.

Continued acceptance into the Inter­national Exhibition will gain the artist a “signature status” (entry into three shows) or “elite signature status” (entry into five shows). Achieving that consistently high level of performance often opens doors to commercial gallery representation and individual shows. Because of the visibility the show offers, an artist’s unique vision and/or style can receive critical acclaim which will contribute to the greater body of painting and artistic knowledge that influences culture. This can inform and inspire other artists, and lead to commercial success.

Being juried into the exhibition presents emerging talent with an opportunity to be seen on a bigger stage and it also affords the more seasoned practitioner with the opportunity to receive critical assessment of a new effort.

Who Are the Artists?

Any artist (amateur as well as professional) painting in a water-based media can enter the International Exhibition. It can be pure watercolor, gouache, acrylic or any combination of the three. The judges are professional artists who have been painting and making art most of their lives, and who do it to earn a living. The exhibit has such a high level of regard in the artistic community that former jurors often enter their own work in subsequent years.

The majority of the artists entering the International Exhibition are gifted amateurs wanting to pit their skills against more seasoned painters. But no matter the level of talent — beginning amateurs or experienced professionals — making and sharing art is the common thread.

Effect on the Community

The International Exhibition is one of the more significant local art events that forms the broader arts fabric in the Houston area, adding to the cultural collateral that makes our community healthy and strong in tangible and intangible ways. The exhibition increases public awareness of water-media art: its diversity in style, technique, composition and subject themes. The show will ultimately encourage more people to consider water-media as an art form that they wish to undertake. More importantly, it will stimulate others to make their own creations regardless of the medium.

WASH’S Year-Round Role

WASH is a community that provides many artistic enrichment activities to its members, members’ families and friends, and the community at large. Though many artistic organizations focus on a particular media, just as WASH focuses on water- media, WASH joins them all in a common bond to encourage creativity, individual expression and the making of art. WASH presents the best in watercolor art to the Houston community and beyond. Local talent is exhibited regularly through juried monthly shows. In the fall, WASH presents the annual juried Members Exhibit, which is much like the International Exhibition except that it is limited to WASH members, which very often extends to people around the nation.

Throughout the year, WASH offers painting demonstrations, workshops and classes for all ages and stages of painting experience. The professional artists who serve as jurors of the International Exhibition and the Members Exhibit provide demonstrations and workshops during their time in Houston, affording the community a unique opportunity to learn from the masters.

WASH also provides community outreach programs at local schools and medical centers such as Texas Children’s Hospital. It offers tuition-free monthly and day classes to students enrolled at the Houston School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and also offers annual college scholarships to that school’s graduates.

Additional information about WASH and the annual 38th International Exhibition can be obtained by calling 713-942-9966 or visiting watercolorhouston.org.

“Hiking in a Circle” watercolor by Karen Lindeman.

“Hiking in a Circle” watercolor by Karen Lindeman.

“Pungent Sunshine” watercolor by Kay Stern.

“Pungent Sunshine” watercolor by Kay Stern.

“Coffee House” watercolor by Keiko Yasuoko

“Coffee House” watercolor by Keiko Yasuoko

“Memories of My Mother” watercolor by Gerry Finch.

“Memories of My Mother” watercolor by Gerry Finch.

“On the Surface” watercolor by Mark Stewart.

“On the Surface” watercolor by Mark Stewart.

“Weeping Angel Study” watercolor by Cleo Ceeney. .

“Weeping Angel Study” watercolor by Cleo Ceeney.
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“Watercourse” watercolor by Jun Zhu.

“Watercourse” watercolor by Jun Zhu.

“Sticks and Stones” watercolor by Nellie Kress.

“Sticks and Stones” watercolor by Nellie Kress.

Watercolor Art Society of Houston


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