I will be having a one-person show at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown, Maryland, during June and July, 2019.  The show features many new paintings, as well as some of my best efforts of the last 10 years or so.  Dates are June 8 to July 13.  The show is in the upstairs Terrace Gallery, and coincides with the Mid-Atlantic Exhibition of the Baltimore Watercolor Society, which is in the downstairs gallery.  BlackRock is a beautiful venue that is fun to visit, and hours are generous (see below).

The reception for my show will be Sunday, June 23, from 2-4pm.  I will be giving a short (10 minute) talk at 2:30 on the subject of "Twelve Things Watercolor Has Taught Me About Life".  Be there to learn what watercolor has to teach us!  This coincides with the reception for the BWS show, which you will also enjoy.  I will also be present during the Community Art Day on Saturday, June 15 from 11-2pm, with a table set up to demonstrate a little painting, display my materials, and talk about watercolor.  Hope you can come!

Hours the galleries will be open:

Monday-Saturday: 10am-6pm
Sunday: Closed / by Appointment

*BlackRock is often open in the evenings and Sundays for classes and performances. Please call our front desk at 301.528.2260 prior to your visit to confirm.

My painting "High Tea at The Peninsula" won the Beverly Green Memorial Purchase Award from the National Watercolor Society this past fall.  This is a purchase award for $1500, and the painting will be going to the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts.  The painting is a watercolor done in my "blurry" style and it depicts diners having tea at The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong.  I had the opportunity to visit the hotel in 2015 and was spellbound by the beautiful environment. I was thinking of trying my hand at some interior scenes, always a challenging subject, and decided to give this a try.  The NWS show this year is officially from October 21 - December 17, although I believe it will stay up through January, 2018.  It is a spectacular show with some of the best watercolors on view anywhere today.    --Susan Murphy, October 2017

I am very happy to announce that my painting "Dejeuner à Trois" was accepted for the 2016 American Watercolor Society International Exhibition in New York this April.  The show will be at the Salmagundi Club, 47 Fifth Avenue, from April 4-23.  Hours are 1:00-5:00 pm daily. 

The painting, in transparent watercolor, is a scene from my niece's wedding reception.  It was fun to blur out the details and paint only the main shapes, colors, and values to create a semi-abstract impression of the glassware, candles, and people.

The painting won the Walser Greathouse Medal and was selected for the AWS Traveling Show, meaning that it will travel for one year to museums and art centers around the country.


     I am extremely pleased to say that I was awarded Signature Membership in the National Watercolor Society in September, 2015.  My watercolor, "In Their Own Worlds" was selected for the 2015 International Exhibition, and three of my other paintings were viewed in person by the jury of selection, resulting in my acceptance as a new member.  On top of that, the painting won an award and was selected for the traveling show.  The traveling show of about 30 paintings goes to several locations around the country for one year.

     The painting was based on a photo I took at my niece's wedding, showing two girls sitting at one of the head tables toward the end of the evening, looking perhaps a little tired and glazed over.  I have started painting in a style that emphasizes the big shapes of the picture and blurs out the image a little so that we get an overall abstracted impression.  See the gallery section of this website for more of my paintings done in this style.

     The National Watercolor Society was founded in 1920 and is based in San Pedro, California.  It has about 800 Signature Members, who are elected by a jury of their peers and allowed to include the letters "NWS" after their signature on paintings.  Membership is granted to artists worldwide, although most are American.  This year's NWS 2015 Annual International Exhibition takes place at the NWS Gallery, 915 South Pacific Avenue, San Pedro, CA (near Los Angelas) from October 24 - December 19.

     In 2012 I became an elected member of the American Watercolor Society, and am now active in that society as the Submissions Chairman for the annual show.  The AWS is based at the Salmagundi Club in New York.  Regardless of being a member, it is still very difficult and gratifying to get into these shows!  It can take years of submitting before someone is accepted even once, and there are many, many excellent painters who are not members.  So I am counting my blessings and considering myself very lucky!

     Susan Avis Murphy, AWS NWS   

        Watercolor keeps teaching me new things.  I have enjoyed experimenting with it in many different ways and have covered a vast array of subject matter, both realistic and abstract.  Each pigment in this watery medium behaves in its own unique way—something that both challenges and stimulates the user. 

     I have been delving into this intriguing subject for more than 35 years now.  I have served as an art association president, exhibit coordinator, cooperative gallery director, juried show participant, juried show juror and judge, watercolor demonstrator and lecturer, private instructor, studio designer, picture framer, elementary school guest, small business owner, workshop instructor, photographer, leaf raker and snow-shoveler. Throughout it all, I am a studio artist, always trying to  find a new way to balance those difficult choices that lead to art which is original in concept and style, yet appreciated by those who enjoy good art, though they may not be artists themselves.

     In college I majored in biology and anthropology, and worked as a biologist for a total of about 15 years, but always explored and maintained my interest in art.  Especially with watercolor, learning to paint is largely a matter of trial-and-error, learning to overcome obstacles and create a painting from within.  Workshops with experienced painters have helped me along the way, and classes with my first and time-honored teacher, Barbara Nechis, got me started and inspired in watercolor.  I have done a lot of teaching of watercolor myself, but am no longer actively teaching. 

     My work has been honored with inclusion in many significant exhibitions, such as those of the American Watercolor Society, National Watercolor Society, Allied Artists of America, the National Arts Club, the Butler Institute of American Art, the Southern Watercolor Society, Baltimore Watercolor Society, Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Exhibition, the Adirondack National and many others.  It has been purchased for more than 20 major corporate collections, such as General Motors, Beatrice Foods, the Kresge Foundation, International Harvester, Quaker Oats, and the FDIC.  Several of my paintings have won gold medals in shows such as the Southern Watercolor Society, Baltimore Watercolor Society, and Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club.

     Currently I am a signature member and of the American Watercolor Society, National Watercolor Society, and Baltimore Watercolor Society, and frequently exhibit through the BWS.  I enjoy painting and displaying my art in my home studio, called ARThouse.   My husband, Marco Colombini, and two sons, Paul and Ben have helped me enormously over the years.


with painting "America Loves Freedom" as new member of American Watercolor Society at front door of ARThouse
working on a painting with husband, Marco Colombini at Les Yeux du Monde with Carlo Colombini
giving a talk to an art organization giving a demonstration with student Nancy Preuss


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