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When water meets color | The Wenatchee Watercolor Society paints in layers of hues

It can be a good thing when two opposing elements meet; place a pigment-laden wet brush onto white paper and watch a translucent world emerge, slowly and gently placing itself into a comfortable compromise of materials.

Such is the effect of watercolors — transparency within layers of hues.

Wenatchee’s Watercolor Society has been creating such wonders for more than 30 years. Betty Andrews led an informal group of eight women in watercolor painting that has today grown into a list of 25 members. Besides watercolors, another water-soluble medium is allowed, namely acrylic paint.

Carol Brewer, who was president of the organization for several years, had her solo-exhibit at the Two Rivers gallery in Wenatchee in June. The mastery of the medium is obvious in her works.

“I took lessons when I was young, continued in college and took a long break from painting until I retired from teaching in 2005,” Brewer said.

Brewer said she enjoys the transparency of watercolor and especially likes to depict the interplay of light and shadow.

For society member Adelle Johnson, watercolor painting has been a sporadic activity.

“We used to winter in Mexico and I took lessons there,” Johnson said.

She brought her inspiration and newly-learned skills back home and kept up with the painting.

“During COVID, our group met to have lunch at the park, just to get together. Now we are meeting at my house to paint, and hopefully soon again at Ridgeline Graphics,” Johnson said. “To me, the best part is the group — the commitment to paint and accomplishing something.”

Group member Nicki Isaacson is well known for her fruit and flower paintings.

“This was on my to-do list once I became an empty-nester,” Isaacson said with a smile. “I stepped away from nursing to paint full time, but had to enter the workforce for family reasons in 2017. This year I finally have more time to paint.”

Her skills are an accumulation of years-long reading about and practicing of watercolor art.

Ruth Raisler, the current president, likes the society for the way it inspires and helps its members.

A supporter of visual arts in its many forms, Jan Theriault, president of Two Rivers Gallery, enjoys his sessions with the group. He has been painting with watercolors for 12 years.

“When you put that brush on paper, something beautiful happens,” he said.

It takes Theriault just a couple of days to finish a painting, often created on 300-pound paper which does not curl like lighter-weight papers.

Acrylics — the other water-manipulated medium — is society member Carole Hiatt’s favorite. Her themes are mostly animals and landscapes.

“I took lessons with Artie Bowman in oil painting, continued with some college classes and now paint with acrylics. I studied with Jan Cook Mack, as well,” Hiatt said.

Jennifer McIntyre has been a member of the society for four years.

“I enjoy painting flowers and scenes that pull you in,” she said, showing a current work of hers of a flower-bordered walkway that seems to continue around the bend into unseen places.

Linda Fee joined the group by her husband’s recommendation.

“He saw the group during their sessions at Ridgeline Graphics and told me about them. I think he wants me out of the house on occasion after I retired,” she chuckled. “I like to paint animals and mostly give my pieces away.”

Speaking of sharing and giving, the society has an ongoing exhibit at the Confluence Health Radiation Oncology Department as a service to the community. The group will have a month-long exhibit at Pybus Public Market through October.

To join the group, all it takes is a $20 membership fee and an interest in water-based painting. There is no skill-level requirement, only that you wish to have fun and help others have fun in their artistic pursuits.

Coffee and cookies are a must to keep the creative energy flowing during the Tuesday morning gatherings — and of course the colored water that turns into magic.

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