CWS Founders’ Award Awaits a Winner

September 2021

Press Release by Norm Freyer

The program for the Citrus Watercolor Society (CWS) meeting on September 10th is entitled, “Show and Tell”. The reason that the CWS continues this program in September of each year, is to allow members of the society, old and new alike, get a chance to present their creations to their fellow artists. The meeting format allows some outstanding watercolor paintings to make their appearance. The works of our member artists are impressive, and they get better each year. It is also an opportunity for members to praise and to provide helpful critique on how to improve the work that one creates. I think that you will find that there is an appreciation for the time and effort that each artist has put into the creative piece of artwork. You will feel good about presenting your work to the CWS members. After a review of all the artwork is presented, the Society will present the CWS Founders cash award of $50 to the winning artist exhibiting at this meeting. So – Bring your latest masterpiece and show it off!

Do you find yourself asking, “Where did all this time go?” The life journey to date has been interesting, not without hiccups and disappointments, but all in all, a good life. This brings me to the loss of a CWS artist who left us this summer. Lou Friedman was a long-term member of the Citrus Watercolor Society, Lou served as the CWS Treasurer for a number of years. He possessed a great sense of humor and was an all-around good guy. He strove to be a better artist and was recognized with his paintings in the CWS “Painting of the Month” competition. Lou was also a member of the Art Center of Citrus County. The second loss, and at an age too young, was Florida artist Kim Minichiello. Kim has demonstrated at the CWS monthly meetings and was an internationally recognized, award-winning artist, whose career in art and design has spanned more than 30 years. Kim was a signature member of American Women Artists and the Georgia, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Florida Watercolor Societies. She was also the 2019 President of the Florida Watercolor Society. Even though we as artists find that our place on earth is limited, art on the other hand is immortal. The art of Dali, Picasso, Minichiello, Witt, Jowers, Kansky, Friedman and Krall will live on, perhaps not to the extent of those famous masters, but still there to be enjoyed by others in the future.

It’s Time to Take a Break

July 2021

Press Release by Norm Freyer

It’s July! And in July the Citrus Watercolor Society (CWS) takes the month off! At this time, I am writing this communication from a small cottage near the shores of Long Island Sound in Niantic, Connecticut; it is only a short distance to the centers of art in Old Lyme.

So, this week I attended the “88th Annual Juried Exhibition” at the Lyme Art Association in Old Lyme. Artists from The Hudson Valley Art Association had submitted 142 pieces of art in various mediums to be judged by the Jurors. These included Pastels, Sculptures, Watercolor, Graphics and Oils.

Of course, I was particularly interested in the watercolor submissions. My thoughts? Very impressive! I will probably go back again before this show closes.

Want to know about the Hudson Valley Art Association? Check out this website Next door is the Florence Griswold where the current art exhibit is “Social and Solitary”

And that is not all. Drive to the east a short distance and you reach the Mystic Art Gallery, with more outstanding artwork.

To top things off in Mystic, a visit to the studio of Russ Kramer to view his latest nautical artwork. Visit Kramer’s web site at

Back at home, plans are still being made for the upcoming Fall programs. But July does offer somewhat of a respite compared to the rest of the year. Our program chairperson, Susan Strawbridge, has been hard at work planning guest artist demonstrations and workshops.

In October, Marilyn Johansen will be on hand for the CWS meeting for a demonstration followed by a two-day workshop. Marilyn is an imaginative award-winning artist who is driven by an incredible passion for self-expression through art. She is based in South Florida and has signature status with numerous signature status.

In December, Tom Jones makes a return stop to the area as the demonstrator for the Citrus Watercolor Society holiday luncheon, followed by a one-day workshop. Tom impresses you with his ease of instruction, his interesting dialogue, where everyone gets the same individual instruction and encouragement, and everyone seems to gain something in their knowledge of watercolor art. His approach to watercolor painting just seems to make things so simple.

Tom has traveled from coast to coast in the U.S. and to international sites with this type of workshop that is in constant demand. Always sporting a trademark straw hat with a colorful band, he has indeed become an extremely popular artist.

Norm Freyer handles publicity for the Citrus Watercolor Society.

Judging Artwork- Criticism or Critique

June 2021

Press Release by Norm Freyer

When I was in high school, I would work sporadically at a filling station run by my uncle and my father. One of the regular customers was a local artist of some later fame. I’ll not disclose his name as I know if some supporters of his work should happen to read this column, they would certainly respond unfavorably! So, we will call him Mr. Artsy. When Mr. Artsy came to get gas at the filling station, he would stop short of the pumps and then his wife would get out of the car and direct him to the pumps. Once in place, he would always get 5 gallons. After filling the 5 gallons, I would have to wash the windshield, check the oil, and the water in the radiator and check the tires.

Upon reflection today, I chuckle on what was expected of you while working at a filling station in the 1950’s. Anyway, I was somewhat familiar with his artwork. I thought that it was primitive and showed a lack of talent. In short, I thought that it was rubbish! Now that is what I call criticism! But – wait a minute! I saw a review of Mr. Artsy’s work by a well-known art critic. He stated that Mr. Artsy’s work was primitive, possessing great charm, always colorful, decorative and festive in mood, a celebration of life. The difference in opinion regarding this artist’s work shows you that criticism differs from person to person. And it will be difficult to resolve the differences between the two. Some of the best artists have suffered from undue criticism, sometimes causing emotional distress, or worse, to the artist on the receiving end. 

Recently, I painted a watercolor of the coasting schooner Australia. The rotted hull of this vessel, which is all that is left of the schooner, resides at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. The painting was being exhibited as part of a Citrus Watercolor Society (CWS) show and sale at the Homosassa Wildlife Park. The judge at this exhibit, who is a member of the Ocala Art Group, offered to critique any of the paintings on exhibit. I accepted to see how this painting would fair in a good critique. In summary, he advised me that basically this was a great painting. The ship was well painted, the sky was perfect, but – I had over worked the wave action in the painting. So – what to do? I had put too much emphasis on white caps on the waves. I had over worked this portion of the painting. Upon reflection I had to say, why did I do this? I had sailed my own boat for over 30 years. I should have known better. But the judge offered, “Listen, paint over most of the whitecaps and make it realistic.” He was right. I sat down and removed 75% of the whitecaps and ended up with a better painting. Thank you judge – not for criticism, but for giving this painting a good critique leading to a better painting. Fellow artists of the CWS, if your painting is giving you fits get another artist to give a critique on how to improve it.

Criticism, n.* – The act of making judgments; analysis of qualities and evaluation of comparative worth esp., the critical consideration and judgment of literary and artistic work.
Critique, n.* – 1 A critical analysis or evaluation of a subject, situation, literary work, etc. 2 The art of criticizing; criticism.
*Websters New World Dictionary

Looking Ahead – It Will Be Time to Celebrate!

May 2021

Press Release by Norm Freyer

Do you miss the monthly meetings of the Citrus Watercolor Society (CWS)?  Do you miss the CWS shows/sales held each year? Do you miss the demonstrations of noted visiting artists? Have you completed you COVID vaccinations? Have you had enough of social distancing? Well, there are plans underway to celebrate the return of our monthly sessions and other activities. Our president, Darla Goldberg, has plans for the coming Fall period which will help us return to some feeling of normalcy.

Do you miss the monthly meetings of the Citrus Watercolor Society (CWS)?  Do you miss the CWS shows/sales held each year? Do you miss the demonstrations of noted visiting artists? Have you completed you COVID vaccinations? Have you had enough of social distancing? Well, there are plans underway to celebrate the return of our monthly sessions and other activities. Our president, Darla Goldberg, has plans for the coming Fall period which will help us return to some feeling of normalcy.

The CWS is planning on restarting our monthly meetings in August!!  With the promise of the widespread availability of vaccinations for COVID, we feel comfortable beginning the meetings again. Members will be encouraged to wear masks during meetings. There are exciting plans for this meeting.  A real “Welcome Back” celebration!   Remember, my friends, we have a special spirit that lives within each of us. That spirit is that of a creator. I am excited about some of the creative ideas planned for the coming meetings in the Fall. Yes – as watercolorists we all have that special something which allows us to generate creative watercolor art as well as interesting meeting agendas. All that is planned cannot be disclosed at this time. Please mark your calendars and plan to join us on August 13th.  Keep checking our website for updates and activity!

I hope that you had the opportunity to view some of the artwork of Susan Strawbridge who was the featured artist during the month of March at the Lakes Region Library. She is a signature member of the Florida Watercolor Society, and also a member of the Citrus Watercolor Society, the Nature Coast Painters, and is a member artist at the Franklin Anderson Gallery. Susan says that she finds the inspiration for her watercolor paintings in nature, seeking subjects for their color and light. Some of her favorite subjects include Florida’s wildlife, landscapes and plants. She also travels to Maine annually and enjoys capturing its unique light in landscapes, seascapes and wildlife. You can view more of Susan’s artwork on the Member Gallery on the CWS web site.

Painting Boats, Water and Sky – A Virtual Workshop with Jerome Chesley

April 2021

Press Release by Norm Freyer

The Citrus Watercolor Society (CWS) continues an active program of popular virtual workshops in place of planned monthly meetings canceled due to the COVIC-19 pandemic. CWS Program Chairperson, Susan Strawbridge, has enlisted Sarasota watercolorist Jerome Chesley to conduct a one-day virtual workshop live via Zoom on Saturday April 10th. Chesley spends his winter in Sarasota and summer in residence in Mayville, N.Y., and is an instructor at the renowned Chautauqua Institution summer program. He is a signature member and 2018 President of the Florida Watercolor Society (FWS). He is Master Signature Member and past president of the Florida Suncoast Watercolor Society

Jerome has a degree in art from SUNY College at Buffalo, studied at the University of Art in Siena, Italy, the Scottsdale Art School, and with distinguished teachers throughout the U.S. His background in education at both public school and college levels allows him to incorporate the elements of art including, form, pattern and color in his work. He teaches painting throughout Florida. Jerome worked in the Gloria Plevin gallery and was later the Assistant Director of the Art gallery in the Chautauqua Institute. He was on the VACI Advisory Board and continues to volunteer in many capacities. In addition, he has created multiple art projects benefitting community organizations. He has won numerous awards for his paintings, many of which are in are in private collections throughout the US, Canada and Europe.

Jerome Chesley’s collection of paintings, showcase a variety of subject matter including still-life, floral, architectural and land and seascapes. The watercolor paintings, giclée’s and mixed media set the stage for surrounding oneself in a rich indulgence with a range of subtle to bold color. His style allows the white of the paper to sparkle throughout his work. Much of his subject matter is based on a collection of familiar objects or places he has visited, those which have a special meaning or significance. You can view some of Jerome’s work at the following web site:;_ylt=AwrE19.KxVRg4QEAViVpCWVH;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzIEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3Nj?q=jerome+chesley+artist&v_t=wscreen50-bb

Virtual workshops are conducted on Zoom and fill up fast. Class size is limited to facilitate individual attention from the instructor. With Zoom you are in the front row! For workshop cost and more information contact Susan Strawbridge at (352) 212-4378 or by email at [email protected]

Beyond the Pandemic There is a Brightside

March 2021

Press Release by Norm Freyer

Are you tired of COVID-19 and all it has done to limit our activities as artists? Have you lost some of your desires that require you to open up your box of paints, review your selection of brushes, and your choice of paper? Do you still have the need to take that idea you have in mind and express it artistically? No? Have you lost the urge to get started? You are not alone. It is hard to establish the damage this virus has done to creativity in watercolor art. I have to admit that it has taken its toll on my dedication to creative watercolor painting.

A good part of this misery is what this virus has done to encroach on our regular activities. We miss our monthly Citrus Watercolor Society (CWS) meetings. We miss the monthly demonstrations by visiting artists. We miss the opportunity to interact with our artist friends. We miss the professional critiques of new artwork provided by our member artists. We miss the workshops presented by these talented visiting artists. We miss “Paining of the Month” competition. We miss the CWS Spring Show and Sale that has been cancelled. Let us hope that we can get back to normal soon.

So, let us take a look at the Brightside. We still have the CWS web site that is chock full of info regarding our art and member artists. Take some time and explore the contents of our website. In the Member Gallery you will find an online art show with paintings by twenty CWS members. Let us celebrate with Peg Lefebvre on her First Place Award in the Florida Watercolor Society 2021 Online Show, featuring her painting “New Red Sneakers”. And to Nancy Dias, whose painting “Fantasy Garden” was juried into the 2021 Central Florida Watercolor Society Show at the SOBO Gallery in Winter Garden, FL. Another winner was the CWS virtual workshop on Zoom with Kim Minichiello. This workshop was sold out with a waiting list! Coming in April, Susan Strawbridge has scheduled another virtual workshop live on Zoom with Jerome Chesley, FWS President in 2018. Watch for announcements.

Going Virtual with Bold and Dynamic Watercolor

February 2021

Press Release by Norm Freyer

The Citrus Watercolor Society (CWS) is going virtual! COVID-19 has suppressed most of the society’s planned programs for the past few months. But there is more than one way to skin a cat. Susan Strawbridge, society program chairperson, has scheduled a one-day virtual workshop with Kim Minichiello featuring “Bold and Dynamic Watercolor”. The workshop will be conducted online utilizing Zoom on one’s desktop, lap top or tablet. During this workshop participants will be painting a yellow bromeliad. Kim will cover painting techniques unique to her process: bold color focusing on water to pigment ratio, value structure, color temperature, and color theory. All are important to make images look three-dimensional on a two-dimensional surface.

Kim Minichiello is an internationally recognized, award-winning artist, whose career in art and design has spanned more than 30 years. As a designer for Walt Disney Imagineering, she worked on the concept development and design of shops, restaurants, and attractions, for Disney theme parks worldwide. Kim is a signature member of American Women Artists and the Georgia, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Florida Watercolor Societies. She was also the 2019 President of the Florida Watercolor Society. She is a member of thirteen professional painting societies, and is a founding member of the Orlando, Florida Chapter of the worldwide Urban Sketchers Organization.

She has exhibited her work in Europe, China, Hong Kong and throughout the United States, winning numerous awards. Most notably the Winsor & Newton Award in the 151st American Watercolor Society Exhibition and the Southwest Art Magazine Award in “Making Their Mark: American Women Artists” at the Booth Western Art Museum. She has been in global publications including The Watercolor Artist MagazinePlein Air Magazine and American Art Collector. She was chosen as one of fifty-six artists worldwide for “The Fabriano Watercolor 2020/2021 Exhibition” at the Museo della Carta e della Filigranna, in Fabriano, Italy. Her work will also be featured in Splash 22: The Creative Spark.

Kim comments, “Visual storytelling and attention to detail is my impetus in my career as a designer and continues to be the driving force in my work. My background in architecture and design, passion for travel, study of various cultures, and ongoing interest in botany influences my creative process. I’ve worked in a variety of mediums, but the lyrical nature of watercolor captivates me like no other. I’m inspired to push the limits of the medium to create bold and dynamic stories.” Kim is a studio and plein air painter, view her award-winning work on her website at

This one-day virtual workshop will take place via Zoom on February 13, 2021 from 9 AM until 4 PM, with a break for lunch. For more information contact Susan Strawbridge at 352-212-4378 or at [email protected]

Artwork: It Tends to travel

January 2021

Press Release by Norm Freyer

As members of the Citrus Watercolor Society (CWS), many of us participate in art shows where our works are purchased by art lovers and collectors. Have you ever wondered where these painting end up? I have, and I find it quite interesting. Here are some of whom I am aware.

I received a call from my brother regarding a party in Rhode Island who were interested in one of my paintings. They wanted to know if the painting I had completed of Manatees was available. I responded to their call and learned that they had seen a photo of the artwork and that they wanted to purchase the original painting. I had already posted a price on the painting which they accepted. In addition, they agreed to pay the shipping cost to their location. So, it was off to one of the packing and shipping centers to prepare for shipping. The painting arrived in Rhode Island without any mishaps, and the purchasers were happy with the artwork. Sometime later I tried to follow up with these folks only to find that they had moved to Ft. Worth, Texas, Manatee painting and all!

Manatees by Norm Freyer

I am not a portraitist! But for some reason I decided to paint a portrait of Ralph Erickson, who was a neighbor of mine. He recently passed way. Anyone who knew Ralph would agree that he was a happy go lucky guy, always with a smile on his face, accompanied by some jolly conversation. Ralph was a native of South Dakota, which was heavy with Scandinavian neighbors. He always celebrated May 17th, the date of his birthday and “Norwegian Independence Day”. In preparation of the painting, I took a number of photos of Ralph, but he just would not smile for any of them. I finally picked one of the photos on which I based my painting and completed it. He did like the painting, thank goodness. It now resides with his daughter, who acts as family historian located in Denver, Colorado.

I was exhibiting at a Citrus County art festival a number of years ago. Two ladies came into the booth, who I learned were sisters. One sister was from Alabama, the other from the county area. The lady from Alabama had a photo of her two sons sitting with their dog, and she wanted me to do a portrait of the group. I tried to convince her that I was not a portraitist. We went back and forth for a while and she insisted that I do the painting. I finally submitted. At any rate, I did complete the portrait and I felt that it looked rather good. I had my wife, the ultimate reviewer of my work, critique the painting and she confirmed that it was well done. I called the lady from Alabama and let her know that I was finished. She said that she would be visiting her sister locally soon and she would pick up the painting. We decided a place to meet and the date finally arrived. I exhibited the painting for review, and I knew I was in trouble right away. She did not like it! However, the sister was of a different opinion. She said, “Wow! It looks just like them”! Thank goodness for the opinions of sisters! Her opinion settled the deal, and the portrait went back to Alabama.

And so, CWS artists, do you know where your artwork ends up once it has been sold? If you are able, do some research. You will be surprised. Artwork tends to travel.

Painting of the Month 2019-2020

March 2020

Polly Boston First Place

Norm Fryer – Second Place

February 2020

Yolanda Barreto- First Place

Barbara Kerr – Second Place

January 2020

Polly Boston – First Place

Eva Rudnicki – Second Place

November 2019

Curt Bond- First Place

Julie Jamison – Second Place


Norm Freyer- First Place

Pamela Livesay- Second Place