MAY 2019 News

President’s Message

As your President for the last 3 years, I want to thank everyone for all the support, guidance and assistance I have been given. Serving you in this position has been such an honor and a privilege.

I am ever more aware of the importance of being part of a team. Each member has his/her own points of view and once those ideas come together, the result is more than the individual parts. In psychology they call it Gestalt.

I would particularly like to thank the Board Members for their feedback and participation in helping us move forward. As members, you have seen the results of these efforts in our partnership with AAG both for technology and student scholarships; and by the wonderful Community Outreach Programs for Art Education.

I have had the opportunity to meet so many talented, creative artists and have learned so much from you all. I look forward to more interchanging of ideas.

“ Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” —Helen Keller

Ruth Philliben, President, AWA


April 2019 News

President’s Message

What watercolor artist doesn’t love COLOR? I recently purchased a new tube of watercolor because it just looked too delicious to pass up. And yet, it is not just the colors we choose, but how we put together those colors, each in our own unique style, that makes a wonderful painting.

I recently went plein air painting with my small travel palette, my watercolor journal and one travel brush. With just a few colors, I was able to create several small studies of the landscape around me. Good art is always about the composition, the value and lastly, the color. Value does the work, color gets the glory.

When overwhelmed with color palette choices, I return to the basics: red, yellow and blue. But which red, yellow or blue? Each combination of these colors produces different results, yet the colors blend wonderfully. For example, Venetian Red, Prussian Blue and Cadmium Yellow worked great for my Midwest farm scene; very earthy tones. However, when I paint in Hawaii, I choose a very different palette to work from.

Artist Nita Leland developed 6 color wheel palettes that were presented in an “Artistsnetwork” publication. Each of these were based on one red, one blue and one yellow. It was fun to try out these palettes to create very different paintings.

Whatever your palette, I encourage you to occasionally try out a new color or

combinations of colors… you never know where exploration will take you!

Have fun and hope to see you at our next meeting.

Ruth Philliben, President, AWA

“To create one’s own world takes courage.Georgia O’Keeffe

March 2019 News


President’s Message

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we share ourselves and our talents with others.  AWAs’ Community Outreach team is very active putting together a plan for members to share their watercolor knowledge with art teachers in the valley.  This has been so well received that other organizations are considering doing this as well!

I have been providing group and individual ‘workshops’ for my friends and colleagues.  Each time I prepare for a demonstration, I expand my knowledge base and learn more about my practice as well as myself.  I am excited by this sharing and inspired by the ideas generated by group members.

How do you share your artistic talent with others?  Is it through teaching?  Maybe mentoring others?  Do you volunteer your time to help other people find their own creativity?  As one of my friends recently said, “I could never do that,” however after some exploring and narrowing down options, she found her ‘voice’ and said “But I can do this!”

What we don’t share, we risk losing.

Nothing is yours. It is to use. It is to share. If you will not share it, you cannot use it.” ― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed

“Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

Hope to see you at our next meeting.

Ruth Philliben, President, AWA   



             I had the privilege of recently visiting an art gallery on Front Street in Lahaina, Maui. Front Street is fairly laid back and to my surprise, this gallery had several original works by Dali, Miro, Chagall, Durer, Matisse and Picasso. So many wonderful pieces, and such a variety of styles and approaches to art. Finding your own style and approach is often a challenge. This is one of my ongoing struggles. My path in addressing this is studying people whose art I admire. This decision comes from reading two books recently; one called “Think like Da Vinci” by Peter Hollins and the other is “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon.
           Both authors stress the adage that nothing is new. No idea exists by itself in a vacuum. “Good artists borrow; great artists steal” is a quote that has been attributed to Pablo Picasso as well as T.S. Eliot and according to Peter Hollins President’s Message is likely to have originated elsewhere, thus proving the adage. Austin Kleon takes it back to the Bible quote “There is nothing new under the sun” Ecclesiastes 1:9.
          They both seem to recommend that we study those people whose art we like. Not only do we study their style, we study those people whom they studied. And then we take it on and make it our own. Kleon wrote “Don’t just steal the style, steal the thinking behind the style. You don’t want to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heroes.”
          Francis Ford Coppola says “We want you to take from us. We want you, at first, to steal from us… You will take what we give you and you will put it in your own voice and that’s how you will find your voice. And that’s how you begin. And then one day, someone will steal from you.
Hope to see you at our next meeting.
Ruth Philliben, President

AWA 2019 Spring Exhibit





13001 N. La Montana Drive
Fountain Hills, AZ 85268

Spring 2019 Show Calendar

February 8 –POSTMARKED BY MIDNIGHT   Deadline for digital images, check & Application

March 7, 2019                                Artists Notified via email

March 25, 2019                             Shipped Paintings are DUE TO BETSY

April 1, 2019 10 AM -12 PM       Deliver Artwork to Fountain Hills Comm. Ctr.
April 29, 2019 -10-12                  Pick-up Paintings


44th Annual Western Federation Exhibition

Entries must be received by

NOVEMBER 12, 2018

To enter, provide digital images, signed entry form and fee to:

Lynda Burruss

13828 W Terra Vista Dr

Sun City West, AZ 85375

Please don’t wait!  Enter today!


Questions may be directed to Tanya Lemma or Linda Burruss

Tanya Lemma, Alternate Delegate

Text, cell:253-222-1432


2019 Western Federation of Watercolor Societies Show

Enter this prestigious show held in beautiful San Diego!

Put these key dates on your calendar:

Monday, November 12, 2018 ….Deadline to enter

Wednesday, April 3, 2019………..Last day to register for hotel and hospitality events

Wednesday, May 1, 2019………..WFWS44 exhibit opens to the public

Friday, May 31, 2019………………Exhibit closes

August 2018 News

President’s Message

Welcome to our new year!  We have an exciting schedule ahead of us with newly established goals established by the Board / Committee Chairs at our annual spring retreat.  These leadership members demonstrate a wealth of knowledge, talent, and enthusiasm for AWA.  We are so fortunate to have them donating their time to help our organization continue to grow.

To continue to be a viable organization, we need to expand our membership to include younger artists; update our methods of communication and continue to make our programs and exhibitions challenging and worthwhile.  Toward this effort, we are focusing our goals on:

  1. Expanding our membership to youth by
    1. Introducing a Student Membership (for high school and college students)
    2. Providing Watercolor Workshops for Art Teachers from local public schools
  2. Utilizing updated methods of communication by
    1. Expanding Media Center during our programs (collaboration with AAG) to include large screen TV and camcorder for direct viewing of demonstrations on large screen TV
    2. Expanding our Advertising
  3. Expanding our Monthly Programs
    1. Re-introducing monthly critique during the social hour (limit 1 painting per person)
  4. Clarifying our Title by adding a Tag Line to AWA which would give the message that our watercolor organization also includes acrylic and other water media (more information will be forthcoming)
  5. Posting our Membership Directory on the website on a quarterly basis.
  6. Other goals were established to provide direction for ongoing committees and will be addressed in Board Meetings and programs as indicated.

Please thank all the volunteers of the AWA Board and Committee Chairs for sharing their time and expertise.  We still have a few positions open on the Board, so think about volunteering.  One newly created position is that of the President Elect.  This person will become President of AWA next year and gives the upcoming President an opportunity to gain a lot of experience in the year preceding his/her presidency.

See you in September!

Ruth Philliben, President

May 2018 News

President’s Message

Our business year is coming to a close.  It has been a very successful year and I want to thank AWA members for their contributions to this success.  Additionally, I’d like to highlight the contributions of the more than 30 members who have served on the AWA Board and in Committees this past year.  We are all indebted to those who continue to make our organization run smoothly.  THANK YOU.

News from the Board:

  • Our Board Member Retreat will be held May 18. A major focus of this year’s retreat is expanding our membership.  We will be discussing ways in which we can reach out to a younger group of artists.  If you have ideas about how we can reach more people, please let one of the board members know.
  • We are also collaborating with AAG to update our media capabilities in the AAG building, so stay tuned!

I enjoyed being able to hand out awards to 12 well deserving artists at our Spring Exhibition held at the West Valley Art Museum in Peoria, AZ.  If you haven’t had a chance to see this exhibit, please take the opportunity to do so.  I am also fortunate to be able to select one painting from each exhibition for the President’s Choice Award.  This time I chose Carol McSweeney’s painting: “Sign of the Times”, a painting of a homeless man sitting in a doorstep with a newspaper on his lap.  Having worked some with the homeless population, I am moved by their plight and admire Carol’s decision to reach out to them.

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”  – Henry David Thoreau

Ruth Philliben, President