CHARLESTON, W. Va. -- In 1985, a group of 54 watercolor artists who lived all over West Virginia formed a society to promote high standards for watercolor artists and to guide aspiring student artists. Today, the 160 members of West Virginia Watercolor Society continue to sponsor exhibits and workshops toward that goal.
The non-profit society counts nationally recognized artists such as Marilyn Hughey Phillis of Wheeling, Linda J.C. Turner of Jane Lew, Rita Montrosse of Princeton and Laurie Goldstein-Warren of Buckhannon among its members, as well as lesser known, but talented artists.
Members all reside, or have resided, in West Virginia, said society president Linda Elmer.
"They can retain their membership if they leave the state," Elmer said in an email. "So you might see people in our group from Florida and Maine because that is were they currently reside."
The society spreads its meetings and exhibits throughout the state for the convenience of its far-flung membership. The next juried show will be in June at the Art Monongahela Gallery in Morgantown. A member exhibit at the Parkersburg Art Center concluded in January.
"Prior to that, we intentionally had a meeting in Martinsburg at a WVU learning facility affiliated with one of members to help promote membership in the Eastern Panhandle," she said.
The next workshop will be in August at Canaan Valley State Park resort featuring Laurie Goldstein-Warner who will discuss portraiture. Previous presenters include Don Getz, Linda Baker and Susan Tregay.
The annual all-member exhibit follows the workshop in November and December at the Randolph Community Arts Center in Elkins.
Once a year, members gather for a "Paint Out."
"A Paint Out is when we get together at maybe a scenic location or in the form of a workshop to paint and to also critique each other's work," Elmer said. "This format is fun as well as helpful to artists in that it is a supportive, nurturing environment."
Through the society, members may enter one juried and one non-juried show per year, which are judged by noted artists. Members' work may be viewed at the society's website wvwatercolorsociety.org, which also includes a newsletter and updates.
"We have a fantastic website that is timely and provides any forms for shows," Elmer said.
To view photographs of members' work, or for additional information about the society, visit wvwatercolorsociety.org. Call Elmer at 304-366-9793.Reach Julie Robinson at jul...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.