President’s Letter – Aug 2020

A Message from the Coachella Valley Watercolor Society President

Hi, everybody. I hope your summers are going well, that everyone has stayed safe and that painting is helping you to pass the time. This year is certainly one for the books!

I’m sure you’ve been wondering how we’ll “do” watercolor society this season, and I wanted to bring you up to date. Your board has been working over the summer (via Zoom) to put together a plan so that we can still gather for monthly meetings (albeit remotely) and have demonstrators, Painter of the Month, workshops and the Annual Show.

As you can imagine, trying to figure out how to do all these things safely and remotely is a huge challenge. I cannot tell you how grateful we are to have the extremely generous volunteer assistance of our board member and webmaster Lance Brechbill, who is taking the lead on all the technology parts of our plan. It is also very comforting to have our large, committed board putting our heads together to think through all the logistics.

We are still working out the details, but the basic outline of our CVWS fall and winter looks like this:


We will hold our monthly meetings over Zoom until it’s safe to return to gathering at the Joslyn Senior Center. Written directions for how to get on Zoom will be sent to everyone and we will hold a ‘practice meeting” about a week before our October 12 monthly meeting so members who have not used Zoom before will have a chance to figure it out before the night of the real meeting. We will have help available by phone or text during the practice meeting.

Zoom is not difficult to use, but of course the first time will be a learning process for everyone, and we will do our best to help. More details on this will come out in a separate email towards the end of September. In the meantime, if you have a child or grandchild handy who can show you how to use Zoom, please take the opportunity!


This was postponed from our April meeting because of COVID and will now be our October meeting program. We will do our monthly announcements and then Linda Doll will critique the POY entries and choose the winners. You will see each painting full-screen on your computer as she discusses it. (We will probably actually be able to see the paintings better this way than in person!) There will be an opportunity for us to type in any questions for her at the end of the critique.

Artists who are eligible for Painter of the Year (having won an award at a monthly Painter of the Month competition last season) have received information about how to send in their paintings in digital form, but those with questions can email Moira Johannessen.


We are working on doing POM virtually. Lance is setting up a separate private section of our web site ( that will be for Members Only. This is not ready yet, but you will receive user name and password information when it is. Members who wish to enter a monthly Painter of the Month competition will sign up with Charlie Lerner, our POM Coordinator, and then fill out a form in the Members Only section that will allow them to upload their image. All images for that month will be available for members to view and we will be able to vote online for two weeks before the meeting. The winners will be announced at the Zoom monthly meeting and the ribbons will be mailed out.

Traditionally, for the first meeting of the year it’s just the board members who enter Painter of the Month in order to get things rolling, so most of our members will not begin entering POM until November. We will be sure to get information to you before that time.

SUMMER CHALLENGE (“Reflections”)

If you did a Summer Challenge painting and would like to show it, we will be sending instructions on how to send in a digital image of your painting to be put up on our web site. The Summer Challenge is not judged or voted on. In other years, we have also had a “What I Did Over the Summer” show-and-tell at our October meeting, but we will not be able to do that this year.


Planning for this is still evolving, and will continue to evolve based on outside circumstances. At this time, because we don’t know what will happen, we are doing the planning for both a physical Annual Show and for a digital one. We may have one, or the other, or both, depending on whether it is safe to gather in person.

In a digital show, paintings would be available to view and purchase online, but most likely members would not be able to enter as many paintings as in the past, and probably no bin paintings. The show would still be judged and ribbons would still be awarded.

If we are able to have a physical show, we know we would have to take many safety precautions. These would probably include appointment times for members to bring in their paintings so there are no crowds at intake, manning the door during the show so only a certain number of visitors would be in the room at any one time, mask wearing and not having a reception, among others. If a physical show is possible, it would happen on the set dates, February 9-13, 2021.

This is very much an evolving situation with many factors beyond our control, but we’re trying to be prepared in advance for either scenario, and of course you will receive information in the newsletter, in email blasts and on the web site as soon as the plans are set.


Workshops will probably be virtual. More information to come.


MEMBERSHIP RENEWALS are due now and it’s easy! (Thanks, Lance!) Just click here and fill out your form and pay with credit card or PayPal online. You can also print the form and mail it in with your check, if you prefer.

That’s all for now. We hope and expect to be able to provide quality demos, workshops and the Annual Show, as well as Painter of the Month and Painter of the Year for the upcoming year. Our priority will always be to keep our members healthy and safe, and we know we’ll all need to be flexible and patient and supportive of each other as we figure out how to do all these things in a different way.

Please do take the time now to renew your membership so that we can stay strong as a group and look forward to getting together in person as soon as we safely can.

Best wishes, and I’ll see you on Zoom!

Robin St. Louis
CVWS President

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There is something for everyone at the Coachella Valley Watercolor Society. From the camaraderie of our general meetings to instruction from world class demonstrators to getting outside and doing some plein air painting to honing your skill set with our life drawing classes; we’re confident you’ll find just what you’re looking for.

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