Mark Daly Paints Paris

We are all familiar with Mark Daly’s spectacular landscapes and seascapes from New England. They make your mouth water with insightful compositions, exquisite brush strokes and colors that accent it all. But this time, we take a painting excursion with Mark and his wife Gigi to, the City of Love.

Mark and Gigi in Paris

Why Paris? Mark has the answer: “There is so much beauty and active everyday life in Paris. It is a natural haunt for the artist. For a huge period, it was the art center of the world and where Impressionism was born. There is so much great painting material in Paris. Gigi and I were familiar with Paris from previous trips so when we got there, I knew mostly where I wanted to locate my daily workstations.”

Eiffel Tower Clouds
Eiffel Tower Clouds, Mark Daly

“We rented a flat in the Latin Quarter along the Seine. It was a great vantage point from which to walk or I could take the subway to get anywhere I wanted to paint. I painted on location every day—rain or shine.”

“Going deep within a subject enables me to learn the nuances that make a difference in selecting my compositions and executing better paintings.”

For this trip, my key learning was that I need to do more night scenes. We discovered this towards the end of the trip. Paris comes alive at night. The challenge is pacing yourself to have reserve energy for late nights.”

Rainy Day Musee d_Orsay
Rainy Day Musee, d’Orsay, Mark Daly


Pont des Arts

French Waiter (La Palette)
Waiter at La Palette, Mark Daly

The Art of Critiquing Art

Tom Post, Ray Hassard, Critique.JPGTom Post and Ray Hassard recently got together at the Art Club to compare their techniques for moderating the Club’s Critique Sessions that are held twice a month at the Club.

Fact 1: Critique is part of our artistic process.

One of the first things we realized is that exhibits like ViewPoint or the shows we all marvel at each month at the Wessel Gallery or other local art galleries … these exhibits are the celebratory part of the painting process. The hard part of the process is what happens before we exhibit our work.

We mostly all create our work alone in the confines of our studios. The only input we get is from our families who see the work in process, but they are not always trained to see what we could do to improve things. As many of us learned back in art school, critiques by instructors or classmates were where we received objective comments to help us improve our work before it goes into a show or gallery. Once out of school, most of us have nowhere to go for this objective input. That is why the Club initiated its Critique Sessions—to give everyone a place to go for respectful input.

Fact 2: Every artist, at every skill level, should find some way of having work critiqued.

The real truth is that once we frame a painting, we are always being critiqued by anyone who happens to see it or considers purchasing it. Critique is part of being an artist. Once we accept this, the real question is how we are critiqued so that the work is as good as it can possibly be before we fram it. And that is the job we try to do when we moderate the Club Critique Sessions.

For historical reasons that no longer are significant, our Club Critique Sessions are labeled “Associate Critique” and “Signature Critique” – but all members are welcome at either or both. The only difference between the two is that Ray Hassard moderates on the first Tuesday and Tom Post on the third Tuesday. Many Club members bring the same paintings to both sessions to get comments. They are two different opportunities, but they are more alike than they are different.

Critique is not about comparing one artist to another but is about improving each work from where it is. As peers, we want to help every artist get better. As moderators, we will not permit picking a painting apart but instead look for areas in each that might be improved. We want it to be a positive learning process. Like actors, we all fear stepping out on the stage to perform. Even full-time, skilled professional painters still have a sense of fear when we are critiqued but we have learned to seek this kind of input.

Fact 3: As the artist, we need to hear what others think, but we do not have to change if we disagree.

We love the compliments, and while people in galleries will say things we don’t want to hear, silence is the worst possible outcome. Critique, whether it is done in one of our free Critique Sessions or by the ultimate viewer, will bring with it elements that we as artists simple disagree. That is perfectly fine. The work is ours and we need to pursue it as we believe it should be done. The critique is simply to get comments from other trusted peer artists on aspects that might be improved. During our Critique Sessions, these comments are more objective because we have a fresh set of eyes, but we don’t always share the same vision that you have when you create your own works. You can accept or dismiss the comments but at least you have had to opportunity to hear some objective thoughts—this is a learning process. It is not about showing, but learning.

Fact 4: We welcome everyone to participate regularly in our critique sessions.

We moderate our sessions with each artist in mind. We start with what you want to learn from the process. Bring up to two paintings at any session and the important thing is that when you leave, you have received the help you most want. Share with us your vision and any aspects about which you would like to receive comments.

There are three ways to learn at each session: (1) Receive critique on your own work, (2) offer comments about other works, and (3) by just sitting back and watching the whole process. We feel confident that what you observe will be a friendly, helpful session and never a flogging. As moderators, we both try to remain sensitive to everyone’s needs and not to overload … trying constantly to take each painting to a higher level.

Fact 5: The next Critique Sessions are October 16 and November 6.

  • Ray Hassard will moderate on the first Tuesday of each month … his next sessions are on November 6 and December 4.
  • Tom Post will moderate on the third Tuesday of each month … his next sessions are on October 16, November 20 and December 18.

Monica Achberger’s Golden Hour


Once the flowers are in full bloom the area becomes a crazy tourist attraction. At first, most people are respectful of your space, as you get the canvas blocked in and your image evolves it is natural for people to be curious and the questions, comments and statements start flying.

Traveling extensively the past few summers, I’ve missed the local sun flowers traditionally blooming at the end of July. This year I was determined to catch the Natorp’s sun flower field in full bloom on the corner of Irwin Simpson Road and Snider Road in Mason, OH.

Arriving in the early morning the sun flower field was bathed in sunlight and literally breathtaking. It was an incredible challenge to try to capture something so iconic and romantically beautiful. The scene is so incredibly filled with the golden yellow of sunflowers blooming that panic sets in, not sure if I have even brought enough yellow paint.

Where to start?  As always, I begin by drawing the scene as this is the fundamental backbone of painting. The sketch gives structure, develops composition and works out design problems before committing to paint on canvas.  Drawing with the paint, I remind myself every day to keep developing my drawing skills especially when working on the figure.

These interruptions can be a distraction to your thoughts and painting process. When this happens, it is easy to lose focus and the painting can become disjointed.  However, this is inevitable and is part of the plein air experience. I remind myself to stay focused and always try to be an ambassador for plein air.

Monica Achberger, Golden Hour, 10x20, oil on wood
Golden Hour, Monica Achberger

Unexpected Treasure

By Margaret Mock,
Signature Artist with Cincinnati Art Club

margaret head shot

I have a group of friends who have visited Stratford, Ontario, for the past 35 years.  They have enjoyed the amazing theatre productions of the Stratford Festival and their annual catered picnic dinners along the Avon River there.  Encouraged to make the trip, my husband and I purchased tickets to four plays, made our reservations at a B&B, and set off for a summer road trip to Canada.

On our first day, as we walked to Stratford’s city center, we made the most significant of discoveries!  This was something that none of our friends had ever come upon in their years of visiting Stratford. When I returned to Cincinnati to rave about our findings, our friends were incredulous.


Entryway into a surprise garden

What drew us in to this encounter, was an amazing garden within an ornate fence.  It surrounded an 1866 saltbox, Greek Revival home that bore the sign, “An Artist’s Cottage.” We discovered upon approaching that it was the home and work space of the artist, Gerard Brender a Brandis.  He invited us in for a morning visit that I will always remember and treasure.  We saw a few of his original oil paintings, sketches and watercolors in a narrow hallway that led to his printmaking studio, and there his story unfolded.

Gerard Brender a Brandis

Gerard Brender a Brandis

After completing his B.A. in Fine Arts History at McMaster University in 1965, Gerard began a career as an artist specializing in wood engraving, working on end-grain blocks of hard wood, with burins.  His work also includes bookbinding, typesetting, papermaking, and spinning/dying/weaving flax.

The former dining room contained his 1865 Albion printing press, a loom, cupboards of materials and a worktable on which sat a tiny block of wood and engraving tools.  It all seemed to be lit only by a nearby window.


A print from one of Brandis’ wood carvings.

The parlor held the treasure trove of his intricate wood engravings.  Framed and unframed, on the walls and in binders, his life’s work was available to view and to purchase.  He brought in a tiny fan to stir the air as we pored over his prints – some black and white, others tinted.  His subjects range from botanicals, still life, old buildings and the musical instruments and flowers mentioned by Shakespeare.  After all, we were in Stratford, but had almost forgotten the purpose to our trip! This pilgrimage to Gerard’s cottage was itself reason enough to cross the border.

And now that we have left the artist’s cottage, so enriched and so overwhelmed by our good fortune, we have had no choice but to share the news of Gerard Brender, a Brandis’ rarefied habitat and his art.  You can learn more at

A Cautious George Bodine

2012-11-11 11.40.14Mood and emotion explode off George Bodine’s paintings. Without a traditional formal art education, he has become one of Cincinnati’s most accomplished artists. He walks in rarified air. His paintings are sold in prestigious galleries across the country. He is an Associate Member of the Cincinnati Art Club. He consistently picks off awards in art competitions. Still he struggles as many of us do with the isolation that comes from painting daily, alone behind an easel. He wonders on occasion if he is even creating art.

He would draw as a kid so when his mother saw one of those “Can You Draw This?” matchbook ads, she encouraged him to take the test. He passed and enrolled to receive their mail order art instruction booklets. It was not a serious commitment that then led to art school. He went to college in Wyoming but dropped out to work in the oil fields. For two years he was a cop. George was into back-packing, archery and bow hunting. He tried underground mining and then he finally gave up the rugged, solitary life to return to college in 1980. Two years later, his life took an unexpected turn.

An Unexpected Turn Upward

Captain George Bodine, Delta Airlines>

George applied to Navy Flight School. Obviously smart, physically fit and with leadership skills, he was just what the Navy was looking for. By 1892 he was accepted into the rigorous path of becoming a jet pilot. After flight school graduation, George was landing F-18 Hornets, landing at night on aircraft carriers. Eventually, he became a Top Gun Adversary Instructor. He left the Navy to join what would be a 23-year career as a pilot for Delta Airlines. Along the way, he passed time drawing and painting just because he enjoyed it.

 George kept drawing and painting and was as happy to be flying across the US and Europe. That led him to visit art museums around the world. He was amazed at how the museums would let him put his nose and eyes within inches of works by the Masters. He could study the colors and the brush strokes. He could step back and see how they merged into a full composition.

Through the 1990s, George kept improving his painting skills.  He mostly created landscapes and cityscapes but was increasingly drawn to depicting the human figure within stories that he conjured up. Virtually self-taught and with no mentors to guide his path, no flight school of art to help him. Yet he continued at a level of success that came so fast and with such success that it is hard for most to explain. His self-taught painterly realism is produced with broad, confident brush strokes. His color palette captures the effects of light, even when in shadow. His compositions often are moody, dark intriguing. With unusual sensitivity, he created paintings of people, often in solitary or lonely settings displayed in a haunting style that flowed out into emotion and a mood that revealed his sensitive nature. He was selling his work everywhere, frequently before the paint was dry.

Once, George Bodine

The Accident and Transition

One of those things that come on you so suddenly that you can’t escape. This time it was a tragic motorcycle accident and a traumatic brain Injury. Recovery took a long time and he could no longer get medical certification to fly. The world was upside down. What had brought him such satisfaction was gone, never to return. He was also without a job although his career as a pilot left him financially secure.

His wife, Susanne guided him, as she often does, to point him into a purposeful transition from pilot-artist to full-time artist. He bought a small building in Newport and gutted it, doing all the rehab work himself, to create his own studio. He re- booted his life as a professional painter.

From where do the stories such as “The Shunned” come?

<painting: The Shunned, George Bodine> Caption:

The Shunned, George Bodine

“I would stare at scenes or objects or a figure for ten minutes or more, trying to discern what to do about them. I do that often … stare at something so long that I can remember it long afterward and put it into a story. I do lots of sketches. A painting might start with a scene of a connecting alley, or St. Mark’s Square, or an object like a cross.

Then I add a story to it as I did when I became fascinated with an Amish hat that led me to paint The Shunned, a painting of a young Amish woman in a barn. The model was my daughter.”

Another Turning Point for George–The Wayne County Plein Air Event

With meteoric success, the pure enjoyment of painting was now tugged by sales and competitions. The joy of painting seemed twisted by the wrong goals. The sensitive soul inside him had to work its way through to an explanation of “why?” that literally took hold of him. He was thinking more and painting less until recently when he simply stopped painting altogether.

Earlier this summer, he was at the Wayne County Plein Air Competition and shared his thoughts of this experience: “Plein air is usually when we paint what is before us”, he explained. “When I finished my painting (“Wayne County Storm”) and stepped back from it, I was shocked. It was unlike anything I had done before. I had no idea how it happened. The colors were different. The scene was so not what was in front of me as is usual when I paint on location. It was imaginary. I questioned if it was even art. The experience was unnerving. How can I paint what I can’t explain?

<painting: Wayne County Storm, George Bodine>

Caption: Wayne County Storm, George Bodine

It’s odd. This was such a great event for me, personally and professionally, yet I was in a place where I could no longer paint. I’m hoping that somehow this struggle over what to do and where to go, ends with something positive as an artist. As I go through this, I’m beginning to understand why a common theme surrounding art history often includes asides about the struggles and demons of the artists themselves. There is a loneliness to the work. I often find myself questioning if it is even important, or if it has any worth. And my work was changing so much that I got to a point where I didn’t know what to do next.”

George kept painting after that event and worked non-stop preparing for a two-man show in Warm Springs. When he finished that show, and looked at his work, he remembered thinking, ‘Now what?’ and things unraveled. He put down his brush.

Susanne again was the grounded one, fully confident he would resolve his larger-than-life questions … “He will paint,” she told him, “because it would be a shame not to. No one should not turn your back on a God-given talent like when you share your talent with others.”

He listens to Susanne because he trusts her. She is focused on him and not on the money or the competitions. He needs to understand the stories he has to tell and how he wants to tell them.

The Good News is that George is Painting Again

George was amid this self-discovery process, one that that many of us go through in our lives. Even George was not sure where all this was headed. He had not held a paint brush for three months, but just as Susanne predicted, he did pick up and paint again in mid-August.

<Painting: That One Day, George Bodine>

Caption: That One Day, George Bodine

He said: “I went to the studio today to try to paint again. It was very tough. I kept sitting there, but eventually began to work again. I think it was a talk I had with Susanne last week and finally I was in the mood to hear it. It came down to that this is my job, it is what I do. Now stop sitting around and get to work.” His return to the easel led to “That One Day” where he recaptured mood on canvas of the tranquility of sitting out there on the beach, watching the waves roll in and contemplating a world bigger than self.

George Attends His First-Ever Art Workshop

<photo of bodine and Xhaouming Wu standing next to each other>

Caption: George and Xhaouming Wu

To help continue working his way through his soul searching, George decided to take his first-ever art instruction by another artist. He travelled to Connecticut to a workshop led by Xhaouming Wu, one of the artists George most admires. He is hoping this experience will not only help him sort out deeper thoughts but by watching Wu run his workshop, George wants next to try teaching his own workshops.  ”

It will be a cautious movement forward, “I am going to be careful going forward in what I paint, and more importantly, why I paint. Like the dragonfly larvae that struggles in a pond to emerge from its watery universe into a winged world of flight and beauty, George is painting again. Quero!

The Watercolorist

Like many of us, Heidi knew early on that she was creative. In her words, “I have always been interested in art. As a child I tried to create things out of just about every material I could find.” That interest never went away. It magnified at Ohio Wesleyan University where she got her BFA and then a master’s in art education from Indiana University.

Heidi Hanssen, Board Member

Her career as an art teacher in public schools was a perfect outlet for her creativity. She studied a variety of media in art classes during the summers while she taught school. and became focused on using the narrative as a theme in her work. While today she concentrates mostly in watercolor, she was at first attracted to sculpture and received a grant from the Ohio Arts Council to study at Penland.

Watercolor entered in her life more seriously after retiring from teaching. She studied watercolor with Ken Buck and a workshop with Mary Whyte that led her into figurative painting—something she still enjoys.

Getting Ready - CopyGetting Ready, Heidi Hanssen

The narrative approach to subject matter has continued from the early days. “Today, I still want to show a moment in time that reveals something about the subject. With my watercolors I can show such moments as the luminosity of daylight or the glow of artificial light on people and objects during the evening. Portraying the feeling of this light in my paintings is a way to evoke the emotions of being in that setting. It is a wonderful way to show my world to the viewer.”

Validation of Heidi’s skill as a watercolorist came from acceptance into the Transparent Watercolor Society International Show twice as well as local shows locally. Just this year, she has shown in the Cincinnati Woman’s Art Exhibit Regional Show, The Barn Cultural Art Center, earned the David Knoll Memorial award for Best Watercolor, participated in the “State of Watercolor”, a group show at the Pike Street Gallery, earned Second Place in the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society Annual Exhibit and received an award of excellence at Viewpoint 50.

Autumn Aspen, Heidi Hanssen

Autumn Aspen, Heidi Hanssen

In addition to serving the Cincinnati Art Club of which she is a Signature member, she has a busy retirement serving on the board of a small nonprofit, the Woman’s Art Club, the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society, and Ohio Watercolor Society (Signature Member). She and her husband Richard enjoy doing things with family including her four grandsons and they enjoy travel.

“I think the Cincinnati Art Club offers many opportunities to expand friendships with artists. I have met so many wonderful people serving on the board these past two years. I joined the club not knowing anyone! I wanted so much to meet more artists and the club has been a great help to me.”

Singing on the SquareSinging on the Square, Heidi Hanssen

“Serving on the Board as secretary is an honor that I truly love. I am constantly impressed by how much the Board members are willing to do to for the success of the Club. We work from  an agenda that Don Schuster prepares based in part on the minutes of preceding meetings. My job as secretary is to record the meetings as a record of what we agreed during each meeting. Keeping these records serves as the archival history of the Club and they set out the task list of things we need to achieve before the next monthly meeting. I also write the Board Notes as a summary of the meeting for the website. I send out get well cards, thank you notes and letters, sympathy and other notes on behalf of the Club. It is my pleasure to serve this great organization.”

Swamp Stalker - CopySwamp Stalker, Heidi Hanssen

David Beck, October Dinner Presenter

October 19, 2018 Dinner Meeting Sets Tone For Fall, Winter and Spring

Perspective: What you Need to Know In and Out of the Studio

David M Beck Head ShotBeck has been painting and exhibiting his work for nearly 48 years. His career in illustration began in Chicago where he mastered a variety of mediums from watercolor, gouache, acrylics and oils, to full tonal pencil, and pen & ink. He has illustrated and collaborated on thousands of projects and has carried an impressive professional portfolio of well-known national and international clients. His expertise in a wide range of subject and media has lead him into various markets with Fortune 500 companies and high profile periodicals in advertising, book publishing, editorial, institutional, entertainment and graphic design.

Receiving the Morning Stock Report, David Michael Beck

Carin’s Missing Painting

A long-lost work by Caravaggio was rediscovered in a leaking attic in Toulouse where it had sat untouched for 150 years and could be worth $120 million. Rembrandt’s The Storm of the Sea of Galilee was one of the 13 artworks taken in America’s biggest art theft and is still missing after a 20-year hunt by the FBI.

Carin's Missing Painting

Is Carin Hebenstreit’s painting, Innocence, about to join this list? It went missing after it was shown at ViewPoint 47. Like any of us who have lost something treasured, she wonders if Innocence is also to be found in an attic in another 120 years or if it will come home.

If anyone has a clue of its whereabouts, do not call the FBI, just send Carin a message so she will stop imagining all the places this painting could be; perhaps still in a transport truck hanging or mistakenly hidden in the Club’s Historic Vault, or in the den of a Saudi prince. No reward. Just peace of mind.


Retrospective of Pastel Point Exhibit

Ray Hassard’s students showed their view of the world through pastel at the Women’s Art Club in which the versatility of pastel was shown off in spectacular fashion, from airy strokes to bold marks and soft hues to vibrant shades. Included here are a few of the pastels from the PastelPoint show.

A Coy Kiss. Hannah Beck, 10x16, Pastel.jpg

A Coy Kiss, Hannah Beck

LuAnna Klote, Dancing in the Spirit, 16X20, Pastel[4648].jpg

Dancing in the Spirit, Luanna Klote

Christine Kuhr Baloon Dog 13x13 Pastel.jpg

Balloon Dog, Christine Kuhr

Landscape, Marion Mayer, PastelPoint

Landscape, Marion Mayer

October Gallery

8 Recent Works in Dragonfly Showcase

Silver Tray by Nancy Neville
Silver Tray, Nancy Neville
JLeon_A Peaceble Kingdon
A Peaceable Kingdom, John Leon, Sculpture
JJones art 01
Martyrs, Jimi Jones
Tahoe, Michelle Andrews
Tahoe, Michelle Andrews MD
Northland Woods Morning, Bruce Petrie Jr ViewPoint Award.jpg
Northland Woods, Bruce Petrie
Blue Ribbon Baby, Lynn Hemmer, Signature Show 2018 (2)
Blue Ribbon Baby, Lynne Hammer
Buzzard's Roof, Nancy Achberger ViewPoint
Buzzard’s Roof, Nancy Achberger
Doug Welsh. By-gone days. 12 x 16. Oil.jpeg
By-Gone Days, Doug Welsh