Sunday, October 13, 2013

Midwest Museum of American Art ~ Awards Reception

Two watercolor paintings are currently on display at the  Midwest Museum of American Art 35th Annual Juried Regional Art Exhibit in Elkhart, Indiana until December 8, 2013. I have not entered this show in a number of years and I am very pleased that I did! 
'White Wine Still Life' won a Purchase Award!
'Creperie in Montmartre, Paris'
Hundreds were in attendance at the awards presentation October 11, 2013

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I Am Going Backwards!

Last month, I was asked to give a speech to a watercolor society about my journey as an artist and the supplies I use and why. Writing that speech gave me time to reflect and I realized that I am going backwards.....but in a good way!
One of the perks of getting older is I have more time to LEARN.
When the kids were young, and painting time was limited, I grabbed my paints and jumped right in. There was no time to study and understand 'paint properties' or how each color responded. In fact, ignorance was bliss!
The amazing artists that I have met over the last few years have studied and know their paints and have shown me the importance of knowing. I am basically self-taught, never went to college, and have fumbled along on my own. I readily admit to my students that I bought and used colors because they 'looked pretty'! For the last several years I have been on a quest to learn more about my paints.
I like to think of it as continued ‘research’ rather than seeing myself going in ‘reverse’. I have the life experience and technical skill and now I am learning why I need to make certain choices and save myself and my students’ frustration.
Creating color charts are a helpful tool. I note the brand and indicate if the colors are transparent,
semi-transparent, opaque, staining, granulating etc, and encourage students to do the same.
Many of my fellow artists paint with opaque watercolors, many are purist and use only transparent pigments, and others like myself, mix it up and use both. I like to think there is not a right way or a wrong way, (consider all that you learn from instructors, blogs, books, videos and magazines,) and find your way! The bulk of my ‘research’ is from these very sources and I keep 'Post-it' notes on hand to record the invaluable information that I come across on a daily basis.
Whether you contribute to a blog, have authored a book or article, or have been a student, you have all shared in my growth and I want to express my sincere and heartfelt gratitude for filling my 'Post-it notes' with knowledge which has helped me to become a better artist and teacher. Thank you!
Richard Back said “You teach best what you most need to learn.”

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Heartland Artist Show

Today I attended the reception for The 25th Heartland Artists Regional Show in Plymouth, Indiana. Two pencils (seen in top photo) and four watercolors were accepted into the show and my drawing of Window in the Cotswolds won a Merit Award and a Purchase Award 8.25" x 10.75".  What a delightful surprise!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Portrait Workshop ~ Headwaters School of Music & Arts - Bemidji, Minnesota

My students did a fabulous job with a tough subject. Many students have studied under my talented friend, and Bemidji native, Jane Freeman for many years. They learned from one of the best and were way ahead of the game! Thank you Janie. Their strong foundation made my job much easier.

While I was teaching, the host had arranged for a PBS taping of the workshop to promote the arts at the school. I will post a link to the interview when it becomes available....unless I made a fool of myself!

 Beautiful flowers from one of my students, straight from her garden. 
Standing beside them is the host of the workshop, the incredible Janet Brademan

 Here are my wild, crazy and amazing artists and dear friends from the Artcolony.
Left to Right: Janie Freeman, me, Mary Jansen and Janet Belich.

 My first canoe ride with 'experienced canoeist', Mary. 
We enjoyed the setting sun on the lake that Janie lives on. 
Now we know why Janie paints as beautifully as she does.
Her home setting is an artist paradise.

These gals are a hoot! 
Nothing better than being able to mix business and pleasure...a joy and a blessing. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

'Splash Retropective' Book

North Light has a new book coming out titled :
Splash Retrospective: 20 Years of Contemporary Watercolor Excellence 
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the editor of the Splash books, Rachel Wolf, has included my painting A Quiet Moment.The model for this painting is my friends son, Josh, who is now, bravely
serving our country in Afghanistan. We pray for his safe return.

A Quiet Moment (watercolor) 16.75" x 14.25"

Monday, July 1, 2013

Bold Brush Contest

BoldBrush Painting Competition June 2013
'Long Road Home' was selected as part of the FAV 15%
Jury's Favorite 15% of the entries in Fine Art Studio Online (FASO) contest.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Louisiana Watercolor Society International Show & Workshop

My wonderful, gifted class! Two students missed the photo op due to flooding rains 
but were with us in spirit.
Susan Copping (left) was the show chairperson and did a fabulous job!
Show Opening / Awards Reception

Louisiana Watercolor Society...43rd Annual International Show 2013
I had the honor of being the judge and juror for the show this year and taught
a portrait workshop. Both events were held in May, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Award winner Carrie Waller (left) next to her beautiful painting. What a joy to meet her!

Click here to view show catalog

Our unique workshop location....a converted gas station.

News & Reviews ~ Past & Present

BoldBrush Painting Competition April 2013
'Cat in Profile' was selected as part of the FAV 15%
Jury's Favorite 15% of the entries in Fine Art Studio Online (FASO) contest.

The Richeson 75 International ~ Animals, Birds and Wildlife 2011
'Cat in Profile' was chosen for the cover of the hardbound book
showcasing accepted works.

'Mandarin Duck' was featured in a newspaper in Devon, England.

Click on the following links to read reviews:

"Never be afraid to try something new.
Remember that amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic."
- Dave Barry

Friday, March 29, 2013

Unique Workshop Location
The workshop chairperson for the Louisiana Watercolor Society just informed me that the location where I will be teaching my workshop in May is going to be featured on HGTV this Sunday, on a show entitled You Live In What?! The segment will air at 7 pm CST and 8 pm EST. The studio is a former gas station that the artist Robert Guthrie has converted to his home and studio. Below is a link to an article that I found online, complete with 20 photographs. 
I can not wait. What a fun place to teach!
Click here to see the unique workshop location.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Stuff Happens

I had an unfortunate thing happen. I started to receive emails from other artists, about a book that we were suppose to be in, titled Best Of Worldwide Watermedia Volume 3. Evidently, Kennedy Publishing, who's books and competitions (promoted by Dick Blick), has gone out of business and the book will not be published, without explanation. We 'proofed' our pages (see above) but the books failed to materialize. I only lost the entry fee and a few books that I purchased in advance but others have lost hundreds. They seemed to be a reputable company and I have purchased some of their lovely books in the past. Perhaps they are a victim of a struggling economy and there is no shame in that. Just wish they would have been forthcoming about it. Sadly, these things happen but no need to dwell. I do have this pretty proof and it's only money :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Happy news! I just received word that my painting 'White Wine Still Life' is a finalist in the Richeson 75 Still Life & Floral Online International Exhibit. The juror is Laurin McCracken and the show will be online April 3.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Let the Games Begin!

If you are reading this blog, I thank you!

I have procrastinated for years at the mere thought of creating a new website and blog but thanks to FASO, someone as computer challenged as I, am making the website happen. It is still under construction and like a flower garden, will be forever evolving but I am thrilled with the site and look forward to sharing my blog entries with you.

My new website is

Here is a sampling of my different mediums and various subjects.

Watercolor                                                    Acrylic

       Pastel                                                         Fluid Acrylic

   Watercolor                                                               Watercolor

Watercolor and Gouache                                                   Pastel   


2013 Workshops:

Children's Portrait Workshop 
May 8 - 10, 2013 
Louisiana Watercolor Society
New Orleans, Louisiana 

Contact Information:
Susan Henning:
Class is full - Waiting list only

For additional information go to my website 'Workshop' page at

Headwaters School of Music and Art
519 Minnesota Avenue NW
Bemidji, Minnesota 56619-0542

Contact Information:
(218) 444-5606

For additional information go to my website 'Workshop' page at

My Other Passion!

Front yard flower beds.

The colorful front row and around the tree are 'sun-patients'.

View from the driveway.

Front path

Front bed the first year.

Front bed ~ left side.

Front bed ~ right side.   

The hanging baskets are 'sun-patients' as well. 
The best invention!