ARThouse Newsletter:  late May 2012 ARThouse bannerhead

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    SOLD!  At our annual show The Art of Watercolor.  The show is still on!  Click for a copy of the price list:  Price List
    We will be open all of Memorial Day weekend from 10-6pm!
Rooted Matter by Janet M. Epstein.  Original and one giclee print SOLD! 
Aunt and Niece by Tanya Rostovtseva.  SOLD!  
Early Fall by Nancy Preuss.  SOLD!
Beets and Carrots by Ann Williams.  SOLD!
Gardenia by Beth Dugan.  SOLD!
Pecore by Gloria Tanton.  SOLD!
Espresso and Muffin by Gloria Tanton.  SOLD!
Shallots by Jean Perretta.  SOLD!
Ernest by Susan Avis Murphy.  SOLD!
Magical Day by Susan Avis Murphy.  SOLD!
Orange Marmalade by Susan Avis Murphy.  SOLD!
Early Snow by Susan Avis Murphy.  SOLD!
Red Roses by Han-Yin Shen.  SOLD!
Tough Beginning
 by Sally Drew.   SOLD!

Beets and Turnips by Susan Taylor.  SOLD!

Award Winners in
"The Art of Watercolor"

 from May 12 - August 19 at ARThouse

First Prize:  Roots
by Barbara Scheihing  $400. 
Second Prize: Kitchen Staples
 by Mimi Hegler $360 framed
Third Prize:  Beets, Carrots, and Asparagus by Cecile Kirkpatrick, $290 framed

Honorable Mention:  Rooted Matter
by Janet M. Epstein, sold, print available
Honorable Mention:
  Saint Sebastian by Tanya Rostovtseva
Honorable Mention:  Rocks and Roots
 by Sally Drew, $350 framed

Honorable Mention:  Abstract with Two Suns
by Renee Moneyhun, $225 framed
Honorable Mention:  Hiawatha by
Jean Perretta, $275 framed
Honorable Mention:  Lirio de Agua
by Linda Daniels, $245 framed



Dear ARThouse friends,  

   We had a tremendously successful Opening for our annual
Art of Watercolor show, and thanks so much to the more than 250 people who came!  Many new paintings made their way into the homes of art collectors!  You still have an opportunity to see the show--visit ARThouse from Wednesday - Sunday, 10-6pm. 
   Thanks to everyone who participated for your help and cooperation in sending out cards and bringing excellent refreshments.  And a special thanks to the following people:  Sue Adams, Betsy Thomas, Margaret Mangum, Sally Drew, Darlene Kranz, Jean Perretta, Nancy Preuss, Ben Colombini, Marco Colombini, John Weske, and Good Council High School.
    If you are receiving our newsletter for the first time, welcome!  I hope you find the information useful and the artwork inspiring!

Susan Murphy, ARThouse, May 25, 2012
   Sue headshot    
What you don't know might hurt you!
     Do you know what is one of the main things to think about when buying a work of art?    Longevity....

     By longevity, I mean the durability of the entire artwork over time.  Whether the pigments are lightfast, whether the support of canvas or paper is acid-free, and whether the framing is archival.  An original watercolor can remain fresh and safe for hundreds of years as long as these criteria are met.  A watercolor can last without damage as long or longer than most oil paintings if it is created and kept under the right conditions.  Let me explain.
     Standards in the art materials and framing industry have improved dramatically in the last 20 years.  Today's best pigments are thoroughly labeled as to their lightfastness (resistance to fading) and durability (resistance to other changes with time).  The best paint manufacturers, such as the English company Winsor & Newton, for example, carry lightfast pigments in most of their line.  But not all.  And that is where the problem can arise.  You can read more about this on my website, at article about lightfastness  .
     Some paints are not as lightfast as others.  For example, a very commonly used pigment in watercolor is Rose Madder Genuine.  This pigment, however, is considered somewhat "fugitive", ie it will "flee" or fade over time.   
     There is a national organization called the ASTM, or American Society for Testing and Materials.  The ASTM conducts lightfastness ratings for artist pigments, and Rose Madder Genuine only gets a rating of III.  Professional artists should only be using pigments with an ASTM rating or I or II.  For my own artwork, I only use totally permanent pigments. Also I always instruct my students to do the same and put a big emphasis on this...   
     Take a look at this interesting little chart I created 20 years ago.  This is a segment of a much larger chart I made to test the lightfastness of all the pigments I currently owned.  Strips were painted, labeled, and then half covered with matboard and placed in a bright window for two years (about 3 hours sunlight daily).  Look what happened to Purple Lake, Rose Madder, and especially Scarlet Lake!  Can you believe it?!!  After this, I threw those tubes of paint away!
     Once I had a customer tell me about a painting his mother had bought, with red flowers in it.  After two years, the red flowers had disappeared!  Perhaps the artist had used Scarlet Lake!!
     The bottom line is that artists need to be very careful about the pigments they use, and art buyers need to be careful that the artists they buy from are using lightfast paints!  Here I can say with absolute confidence that the pigments I have been using for the last 20 years are truly lightfast and will stand the test of time...  I thank my lucky stars that I can say this!
     For artists reading this, there is an excellent book on the subject, The Michael Wilcox Guide to the Finest Watercolor Paints by Michael Wilcox (latest version is around c2002).  Buy this book and consider it your Bible.

     One last comment.  Oil paintings are not necessarily more lightfast than watercolors.  Oil pigments can suffer from the same lightfastness problems, although the oil binder helps make them a little more resistant to fading.  The same is true for acrylics.   
     I am pleased to help make you aware of this issue, and would be happy to answer any questions you have.  Please send me an email at  Meanwhile, here's hoping your paintings never flee!  And that your children and heirs will always be able to enjoy the paintings you bought when you were younger...

Susan Murphy, ARThouse, May 22, 2012 
ARThouse is a unique studio and gallery located in Sandy Spring, Maryland, about 10 miles north of Washington, DC.   It is the original studio of watercolorist Susan Avis Murphy.  Adult classes in watercolor and drawing are taught at ARThouse.  

ARThouse is open to the public almost daily and is the venue for special art shows several times per year.  Join our mailing list by emailing us at and you will receive invitations to the shows and special announcements.

Contact information:
    Susan Murphy, owner and manager
    ARThouse is located near Olney, MD at: 
                17520 Doctor Bird Road 
                Sandy Spring, MD 20860

    phone: 301-774-3418 
    hours:  Wed.- Sun. 10am-6pm 
                open Mon. & Tues. by appointment 
                open evenings by appointment
What do people say about ARThouse?
We have received many, many compliments.  Here are a few!   --Susan Murphy
Your generosity is above and beyond as you share your expertise and knowledge with all of us and gently guide us along the way.  Thanks so much.  Ruth Sentelle,   12/14/10

Carol Riddle Thanks again for all your instruction, encouragement and opportunity.  Carol Riddle, 12/14/10 
Hi Sue,   If I could give my comments about the show -- It was absolutely excellent from my point of view. I am sure that other students would share my opinion. This was such an exciting event for us to celebrate our art, see other students, and get reaction of public. I got compliments from my friends about friendly and very warm atmosphere of the show (this is 100% your achievement) and so many good paintings. I can't imagine of how much energy and self-discipline was required for you to make this true and totally admire your dedication.   Tanya Rostovtseva, 5/14/12

Hi Sue, What a wonderful show!  We all enjoyed it so much!  I am amazed at all the great artwork - it's a feast for the eyes whenever I walk into your gallery!!  Thank you again for all that you do!!!    Ann Williams, 5/16/12   


Dear Sue--  You have definitely helped me to stretch myself and open myself up to a whole new world.  Thank you for the amazing showing of your student's artwork...   I'll be back in to enjoy a second look because it's hard to take it all in with just one visit.   Sue Adams, 4/29/12


I think you are a very talented artist and exceptional teacher. Not all good artists know how to teach and demonstrate so well as you do in class. Arrivederci for now.   Gloria Tanton, 8/3/10


 Thanks so much for giving me an opportunity to do something I've wished for my whole life.        

Sally Drew,  11/8/09


And more: 


The results I was able to see in the artists who studied under you were remarkable.   Sherry Jose, 3/10/12   


The Art of Watercolor is an elegant and delightful exhibit. The gallery itself is a piece of art, the watercolor paintings blended in so well with the environment, and made it a most enjoyable experience. We have been following Han-yin's paintings through the years, and are so glad to see her new style, the colorful, refreshing and lively watercolors. We had a great time.            --Sheau-Wei Chen, 5/24/12


I am very impressed with the Arthouse Student show that my  older sister and I attended.  There are definitely so many talents on display and all you can do is admire each and everyone of the paintings your students created.  I also want to mention the staff/students that day, they were very pleasant and all smiles. Let's not forget the elegant and delicious food that was prepared by all of them.... This was my first visit and will be looking forward to more shows in the future! Thanks again for a wonderful experience.

  -- Arlene Bache  5/24/12


I had a very pleasant and inspiring afternoon in the Student Show.  To me painting is spiritual; many art works speak to the Spirit inside me.  They also brought reality of life to my attention.  Through those paintings I see the beauties and the struggles in our everyday occurrence.  I can relate to most of them.  I really enjoyed the full perspectives of the atmosphere in the Student Show, and admire those artists who bring colors and images into people's heart and life.   --Cecillia Kao, 5/24/12