Baltimore Watercolor Society
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January and February have always seemed to me to be very difficult months and have always felt longer than the sum of their days. Maybe it is because days are often cold and dreary (unless you live further South – maybe Florida). But this last year everything has been even more difficult as Covid and illnesses have continued to take a terrible toll, making it very taxing, emotionally, for many within our own BWS family. So many of us have lost loved ones – family, relatives, friends and neighbors - many from the virus, others from underlying diseases made worse not only by the virus but by the pandemic stress on the medical systems - and others are just overwhelmed emotionally by the seesaw of living daily under the ups and downs of the disease trajectory which leads the evening news every night. Our hearts ache for all the losses; there are just no words of comfort that will suffice.
Sometimes it is hard enough for many, just to make it through the day, let alone find time to clear your mind and create, or to find the inspiration needed. I searched my mind for something that would be meaningful and relative to say during this time. Then the other day, while looking for something totally unrelated to BWS, I ran across a little spiral travel journal whose label said it contained my notes from trips to Florida in 2014 and Banff in 2017. The little notebook, however, was turned open to an undated set of 2 quotes. The first was from Emile Zola, “The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without the work.” A “truism,” I thought - we know that.
Then I saw the second quote: “There are times in our lives when priority determines we must lay down this gift for a while. When we come back, it may take time to regain the technical facility but there may be a new vision and emotion in our paintings that was refined in the fire of suffering or heartbreak or just the need to paint out all the emotions bottled up inside of you.” Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1656)
This was a statement written out of pain and loss but the author also held out a hope for the future and the knowledge that she would triumph over all she had endured. To know how deep was her pain, you must know the backstory, the “Art History”:
A year or two ago several of us (in our old Art Book Club) read a marvelous book titled Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (In That Order)(1). Chapter 1 was titled “Artemisia Gentileschi,” after the author of the above quote. She was one of the first successful “Woman Artists”(2), an Italian who painted in the era and in the manner of Caravaggio. Hers was not an easy life by any means(1). Her father Orazio (a painting buddy of Caravaggio’s) recognized her talent early and started training her in his studio at age 12, after her mother died. He was an excellent judge of talent but not of character, however, as he hired another artist, Agostino Tassi, to teach her perspective. Tassi probably did teach her perspective, but he also raped her when she was 17 (in 1610).
This resulted in a grueling 7 month trial during which young Artemisia was the one who was publicly humiliated and tortured using cords fastened to rings around her fingers which were then excruciatingly tightened to elicit the “truth” of her accusation – a barbaric 17th century lie detector. She never recanted, always insisting “It is true, it is true,” and knowing that surviving the torture was the only way she would be believed. Her molester was finally found guilty (mostly because it was revealed that he was already married, had contracted to have his wife killed and also had impregnated his sister-in-law). His punishment was banishment from Rome, but even that was never enforced. History does not record how badly Artemisia’s hands were damaged but fortunately, she knew that painting is predominantly in the mind and the spirit.
Because of the shame caused by the incident, Artemisia was forced by her father into an arranged marriage to a much lesser artist, birthing at least 4-5 children in rapid succession (one of whom was a daughter who also became an artist). She also fled from Rome to Florence where she painted for the Medici court and was a close friend of Galileo, then to Naples and ultimately to London as an artist in the court of Charles I. She survived, becoming a renowned artist (much more talented and praised than her father, her husband- who dropped from sight along the way, and her attacker, probably combined) and in 1616 at 23 she was the first woman ever elected to the Florence Accademia del Disegno (Academy of the Art of Drawing) since its founding in 1563.
She became known for her portraits and historic portrayals of strong and anatomically correct women - as opposed to Michelangelo’s and other artists’ of the time who did not have nude female models available. Her subjects were women who though they were “ just a woman…. But favored by God, they do the impossible, destroying otherwise invincible enemies.”(1). Her brilliant “chiaroscuro” paintings depicted such grisly historical scenes as “Judith Severing the Head of Holofernes.” As described in the catalog for a 2020/21 exhibit in the National Gallery/UK “she transformed victims into survivors”(3).
My favorite painting of hers,
however, is “Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting (La Pittura).”
In 1638 a mature Artemisia painted herself as “the art of Painting
itself.” “She is subject and object, creator and created. In a
portrait of Painting herself, in the person of a painter and woman,
Artemisia declares that I AM SHE.”(1) As she is quoted of confidently
saying to a London patron in 1649, “With me...You will find the spirit
of Caesar in this soul of a woman. I will show you what a woman can
do.” It took time, but she came back, and she overcame all that came
before. And we are so much richer for her efforts.
1. Quinn, Bridget; Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and History (In That Order), 2017.
2. Along with Judith Leyster, Netherlands (1609- 1660)- whose work was often attributed to Franz Hals (also in Broad Strokes, Chapter 2); and Sofonisba Anguissola, also Italy (1535-1625)- whose work was attributed to Titan and Moroni and who was praised by Michelangelo and van Dyke for the first paintings of Italian family life. WSJ, Jan. 20, 2020–Judith Dobrzynski.
3. “Artemisia”, National Gallery of Art, UK; Exhibit October 2020 – January 2021. Nationalgallery.org.uk
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.
Registration for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Watercolor Exhibition opens February 1. As in 2021, submit your jpg images by using the callforentry.org website. You can create your portfolio there without a fee (see below), and then send your images to our event, 2022 Mid-Atlantic Regional Watercolor Exhibition. The deadline is April 5.
Emails will be sent to all members when the registration opens, and will include the coupon code for BWS members to use for a discount on the entry fee.
We are planning a gallery exhibit at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown, MD, June 11 - July 23. There will also be an online version of the exhibit, and all members will be mailed a full-color catalog of the exhibit.
For February we would like to introduce you to Janet Freeman, one of our Associate members, who has recently joined Janet Arsenault on the Mid-Atlantic Awards Committee, soliciting donors and companies for prizes in support of our major exhibit. She has been in BWS since March 2010 and has experience from her many years in project management for Verizon to bring to the position. During the next few months, Dana Kleinsteuber will be transitioning off the committee to her new position in Programs as well as passing along all her experience and tips on the Awards process to the “two Janets.” We are sure that they will make a “dynamic duo.” Welcome Janet.
I grew up in a very art oriented home as my father was a fine arts appraiser, and he always greatly encouraged and nurtured my artistic endeavors. I was pursuing a degree in Elementary Education at Wagner College when he died, and as a result, I left college and looked for a job. Verizon telephone company became my employer for 29 years and while working for them, I was educated in programming and project management, and worked as manager/project lead for major IT projects for Directory Assistance, Emergency 911, and Coin Phones. In addition it was where I met my husband to be, Robert, also a computer professional.
My husband and I moved from New Jersey to Maryland in 1991 and we are now both retired; while I paint, he spends his time in his vegetable garden. We do not have any children of our own, but enjoy spending time with our many nieces and nephews, and now grand-nieces/nephews!
Since retiring in 2002 I have studied art and have taken many classes and workshops in watercolor, mixed media, and acrylics. While watercolors are my main focus, I enjoy experimenting and learning about other mediums and techniques. Additionally, I have belonged to an Art Journaling Club for many years. I would love to be able to paint wet-in-wet landscapes like Stewart White, or dreamy expressive florals and portraits like Janet Rogers!
Welcome New Associates
Hima Jain, Ellicott City, MD
Michael Scherfen, Atlantic Highlands, NJ
Membership Dues and Donations
Thanks to all who paid their dues between October 1st and now. We still have 82 members who have not as yet renewed online or sent a check to the Membership Chair. Please remember, to be considered on time, dues should be paid by January 31st. If you receive a reminder from BWS that means we have no record of a payment. If you have sent a check, there may be mail delivery delays, but we will process your check as soon as it arrives.
Thank you to those who have provided donations to BWS. We very much appreciate your continued interest.
For those who wish to pay by check, send to:
Janice Hendra - BWS Membership Chair
Tim Saternow Workshop
A multi-day Zoom workshop with Tim Saternow, "Perspective Drawing Is Easy," is scheduled for March 21-March 24, 2022. At the time of publication spaces are still available. Visit the event listing for full details and to register.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boxed off featured ads are available for $25 and may include up to 100 words and one image. Contact the Newsletter Editor at email@example.com for details.
Julia Rosenbaum is one of the featured artists in the exhibit "Frame of Mind: Four Urban Sketchers," which will be up through February 28, 2022 at the Davis Library in Bethesda, MD.
"Russ and Daughters" by Julia Rosenbaum (below)
Congratulations to the Baltimore Watercolor Society members who have paintings selected for the 155th Annual International Exhibition of the American Watercolor Society, April 11-30, 2022 at the Salmagundi Club in New York City!
Transparent Watercolor Society of America
Spokane Watercolor Society
Laurel Art Guild
Please note: Multiple names are listed for several positions as both the outgoing current Board Member and the new member in training are included.
President: Sharon Morell, firstname.lastname@example.org, 443-465-1863
Secretary: Deborah Cohan, 301-977-6212
Treasurer: April Rimpo, email@example.com, 443-766-0148
Treasurer: Ruth Lampi, firstname.lastname@example.org 240-515-0552
Mid-Atlantic Co-Chair (outgoing): Sharon Green, email@example.com, 410-363-1922
Mid-Atlantic Co-Chair (in training): Stacy Lund Levy, 410-446-2714
Mid-Atlantic Co-Chair (in training): Susan Bradley, 301-525-6303
Workshops: Sabine Yeager, firstname.lastname@example.org, 410-245-0366
Programs: Dana Kleinsteuber, Kleinstk@verizon.net, 410-917-7935
Webmaster: Bob Coe, 410-877-3730
Newsletter Editor: Joanna Barnum, email@example.com, 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 (outgoing): April Rimpo, 443-766-0148
Membership/Database (in training): Janice Hendra, firstname.lastname@example.org, 410-271-4943
Membership/Jurying (outgoing): Stacy Levy, email@example.com, 410-446-2714
Membership/Jurying (in training): Kathleen Gardiner, 410-991-1183
Mid-Atlantic Awards Chair (outgoing): Dana Kleinsteuber, Kleinstk@verizon.net, 410-917-7935
Mid-Atlantic Awards: Janet Arsenault, 410-713-0248
Mid-Atlantic Awards (in training): Janet Freeman, 410-299-3906
Exhibits Chair: David Drown, 410-971-9769
Exhibits: Kathy Daywalt, 410-507-1662
Exhibits: Jennifer Murtha, 443-834-4160
Publicity: Harold Walpert, 443-825-8463
Social Media: Annie Strack, 610-925-2815