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Our History

2011 Interview with GCWS founder

Marilyn Bishop

Marilyn Bishop
Marilyn Bishop

How long have you been a member of the GCWS and why did you join?

I am the organizer of the watercolor society which began in February 7, 2002. After moving to Cincinnati in 2000, I was disappointed to find that there was no group whose primary interest was watercolor painting. I met Jean Soller and Kathy Lawrence and we painted together at Jean’s church. During discussions with them, I was encouraged to begin a group for watercolor artists. Since I was new to Cincinnati and had no group to draw on for membership, I turned to a process of community organizing that I learned while working at the University of Dayton. I contacted various art organizations in Cincinnati and asked them if they thought that there was a need for such a group. All but one thought it a good idea. In that process I spoke to Ann Abbot who was then editor of Watercolor Magic (now Watercolor Artist). She agreed to send an interest survey to subscribers in the Cincinnati area. She gave me the results and I then contacted all those who indicated an interest. With the help of Kay Worz, we rented the Cincinnati Art Club for a day and I facilitated the discussion to let the group (29 people) determine the characteristics of the new society. We wrote a mission statement, determined the format of the meetings, the frequency, the location, and the name of the group—all at one meeting. Jean Soller, Kathy Lawrence and I assumed the leadership positions until it was appropriate to have elections. 

Have you held any positions with the GCWS?  If so, what positions?

I have been president, program chair, communication chair, historian, and twice chaired the annual exhibit.

What are some of your artistic achievements?

I have been an instructor of watercolor, watercolor collage and watercolor printmaking. I have had several one person exhibits and regularly enter local exhibits. Some of my work hangs in education facilities.

Describe your usual procedures for creating a painting.

I usually think about the painting for quite a while before I begin. I concentrate on design and color combinations. I often draw a small sketch and paint it in my sketch book. I then draw in on the paper and begin painting. For watercolor monotypes, I plan the image for the plate but often the application of the paint determines what color and textures I add. I am known for experimenting with different styles of painting and use of various media that I combine with watercolor.

How long have you been painting?

I began painting in 1996 after finally finishing my academic degrees at the University of Dayton.

In what medium, other than watercolor or acrylic, do you work? I use watercolor and a little acrylic as the basis for all my work but I combine it with rice paper for collage or use it for making monotypes for printmaking.

Where do you get your inspiration for paintings?

I read many art books, art magazines, watch DVDs of famous artists, and go to art museums and art exhibits that focus on the work of well-known artists. Presently I am interested in modern art,  that is, art from the 1900s to 1950s. I also am inspired by specific messages that I am trying to express such as concern for the environment and paintings that express a spiritual idea. I like to experiment and find that art quilters are progressive in their work and when I read their magazines, I am inspired to try their quilt format in watercolor.

Where do you see yourself in the future? Is painting a hobby?  Will you enter shows? Do you see yourself teaching?

I expect to continue to explore new ways to use watercolor in combination with other media. I am beginning to dabble in abstract art which seems to call for more use of acrylic paint. I will continue to enter local shows and want to develop more of an online presence.

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