Log in

Baltimore Watercolor Society

  • Home
  • January 2021 Newsletter

Members can log in to the site by clicking the icon at top right of the banner.

Highlights newsletter logo

Highlights Newsletter January 2021

President's Palette

Photograph of BWS president Sherry Morell

Ever heard of “synesthesia”? It’s a phenomenon in which there is a “cross over” of sensory messages in the brain when information meant to stimulate one of our senses, instead, stimulates several of them. Not long ago I read a fascinating article on this subject which has always intrigued both the scientist and the artist in me. For example, in Synesthesia the brain is triggered by seeing, hearing or thinking about music, letters or numbers and this event leads to actually visualizing them as specific colors, textures, locations and movements. How cool is that!

That article (1) and then another one (2) tell the story of Melissa McCracken who has synesthesia and is also an amazing abstract (expressionistic) artist. She says “basically, my brain is cross-wired. I experience the ‘wrong’ sensation to certain stimuli. Each letter and number is colored and the days of the year circle around my body as if they had a set point in space. But the most wonderful ‘brain malfunction’ of all is seeing the music I hear. It flows in a mixture of hues, textures and movements, shifting as if it were a vital and intentional element of each song.”(2) She paints her visions of music ranging from Rock (Hendricks) to Bach (Johann, et al). Viewing her dynamic acrylic and oil paintings is akin to being immersed in color, being a participant – not an observer - walking thru harmonious overhead waves of drapery, being surrounded by landscapes peaking out of the morning mist, swimming with schools of undersea delights, or being an actual flower crowded inside an overflowing bouquet. What is “normal" to her is otherworldly to us. It seems as if we are the ones who are missing out on something exciting. If you are interested in seeing her paintings and learning more about her work and synesthesia, listed below are both of the references plus two TED talks by her in which she discusses not only synesthesia but her unique perspective and the process of exploring individuality.

The majority of us don’t have synesthesia, but our senses may still “cross over” in many ways. Artists may paint the feelings evoked by music and thoughts, even numbers, which bring back memories and emotions. Last year all three Mid-Atlantic top awards went to artists who captured those flashes of recall and revelation. None of us will ever hear the year “2020” or “20 Seconds” again in our lives and not think of Covid-19 and that the simple act of hand washing could lead us to a hopeful future. “To Dance with My Father Again” evoked the music and the memories of childhood security but also of loss, while “Demoiselle” captured the song of youthful beauty and the awe of Spring renewal.

All of that segues into the fact that the 2021 Mid-Atlantic Regional Exhibition is coming, regardless of the fact that it is January, cold out there, and there is still a pandemic. Contracts have been signed with Anne Abgott (again) and we are reserved in June at BlackRock (again). So I encourage everyone, myself included, to throw off the doldrums of winter and quarantine, put on some music of your choice and grab your brushes. I know that Sharon is looking forward to your submissions so please read her informative note which follows in this newsletter.

Stay safe and well,


  1., Issue 88, “The Art of Melissa McCracken – Shades of Sound” by Alexa Bricker

  2. by Jenny Zhang, 2017

  3. Two TED talks by the artist:
    “Painting a Song” by Melisa McCracken, Lafayette College, 2016
    “Synthesia and What It Has Taught Me” by Melissa McCracken, UNC, 2018

Upcoming Events

Welcome New Signature Artists

Theresa Denney of Woodbine, MD

Welcome New Associates

Thom Fowler of Alexandria, VA

Donna Klimek Clement of Pedricktown, NJ

Jim Sandford of Woodbine, MD

Website Insights for Members

There has been an update to the Members section of the Website. Log in and take a look at the Member Resources page. In addition to “Donation Codes …” you will now find a new post titled “Photo Editing Tools or Videos.” The goal of the post on photo editing is to make you aware of options using your smart phones for editing your images to make them ready for exhibition entries, Signature Artist Jurying, or any other time you need a image of a painting at a particular size (pixels) and file size (MB). We hope you find these helpful.

Membership Dues

Thanks to all who paid their dues between September 1st and now. The dues notice was sent in early December and it was great to see that about many of you have already paid your dues. Thank you also for those who have provided donations to BWS. We very appreciate your continued interest in BWS.

For those who have not yet paid your dues, please remember if you receive a dues reminder email, then your dues are in arrears. Dues should be sent no later than January 31st to be considered on time. Pay online by logging into and paying the outstanding invoice, or mail a check made out to BWS to:

April Rimpo – BWS Membership
14032 Howard Road
Dayton, MD 21036-1020

Signature Dues are $35 and Associate Dues are $25.

April Rimpo, Membership Chair

2021 Mid-Atlantic Exhibition

Plans are underway for the 2021 Mid-Atlantic Regional Watercolor Exhibition. It will happen again, maintaining the BWS tradition.

At this time, the plan is to have a physical exhibit at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown. The gallery has been a beautiful location for this exhibit for many years, and we are looking to returning there from June 12 through July 24, 2021. It is our sincere hope that we will be able to safely resume this activity, but if it is not safe to do it, we will revert to an online exhibit.

There are also plans for a Zoom workshop with Anne Abgott later in June, and a virtual (online) reception and awards presentation on June 27.

Registration will open in February, and emails will be sent with all those details. So get your paintings ready for 2021!

Member News

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

Boxed off featured ads are available for $25 and may include up to 100 words and one image. Contact the Newsletter Editor at for details.

Anni Matsick received a Third Place award for "Welcome In” (below) in the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Loretto Biennial 2020 exhibit. Laura DeFazio was juror for the multi-media show, on display through January 23, 2021 in Loretto, Pennsylvania.

Watermedia painting entitled "Welcome In" by A. Matsick, a portrait of a young person in high key values.J. M. Littleton is offering winter classes in person on Fridays and Saturdays, 10:30am-1pm and online, Thursdays, January 7-January 28. She teaches realistic watercolor and classical drawing. She is also teaching through the Art League of Ocean City online on Mondays, January 25-March 8.

Joanna Barnum's watercolor "The Poet is a Funnel" (below) is a Finalist in the Art Renewal Center Salon Competition. She will also be serving on the Judging Committee for the 2021 Women in Watercolor International Juried Competition.

Watermedia painting by J. Barnum, a portrait with three views of the same older woman in red blended together in a surreal style.


Southern Watercolor Society
44th Annual Juried Exhibition
Entry Deadline: January 22, 2021

Pikes Peak Watercolor Society
International Watermedia 2021 Exhibition
Entry Deadline: January 31, 2021

Here's to a Happy and Healthy New Year from your (Zooming) BWS Board

Screenshot of a Zoom meeting including BWS Board members raising a toast together.

In Memoriam

Jack Harding

Jack's wife Carol Lavrich is planning a Zoom memorial in January. Artists are invited to attend, please e-mail Carol at with "Jack Harding" in the subject line to RSVP.

Member Discount Codes

20% discount with code BWCS at checkout

American Frame:
5% discount with code Alliance2018 OR free shipping on orders over $99 with code Alliance99 (may not be combined)

Board of Governors and Committee Chairs

Baltimore Watercolor Society, a 501c3 Nonprofit Organization

President: Sharon Morell,, 443-465-1863

Vice President:

Secretary: Deborah Cohan, 301-977-6212

Treasurer: Gaye Holcomb, 410-442-1922

Assistant Treasurer: Cheryl Himelright, 301-829-2331

Mid-Atlantic Chair: Sharon Green,, 410-363-1922

Workshops & Programs: Sabine Yeager,, 410-245-0366

Webmaster: Bob Coe, 410-877-3730

Newsletter Editor: Joanna Barnum,, 410-428-3432

Newsletter Committee: Carolyn Murphy, 443-578-8343

Archivist: Karen Norman, 301-622-3770

Hospitality Chair: Karen Schuster, 410-531-5768

Hospitality: Bonita Glaser, 301-498-3946

Hospitality: Joan Orcutt, 240-381-9309

Membership/Database: April Rimpo,, 443-766-0148

Membership/Jurying: Stacy Levy,, 410-446-2714

Mid-Atlantic Awards Chair: Dana Kleinsteuber, 410-917-7935

Mid-Atlantic Awards: Janet Arsenault, 410-713-0248

Exhibits Chair: David Drown, 410-971-9769

Exhibits: Jeffery Turner, 410-964-8282

Exhibits: Kathy Daywalt, 443-695-4008

Publicity: Harold Walpert, 410-358-9543

Social Media: Annie Strack, 610-925-2815

© Baltimore Watercolor Society

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software