NWWS Organization
President's Message
Hello all,
NWWS is in a short period of executive board transition. From now through the next executive board election in 2023, Molly Murrah will be Acting Vice-President and I will be be your Acting President. It was necessary that Mike Thoreson step down from his role as President, and we thank him for his wonderful leadership and insight as he served NWWS.
Begun in 1939, NWWS is now celebrating its 82nd year. From a small group of enthusiastic watercolor artists wishing to organize themselves and promote watercolor to the much larger organization—over 1000 members—of today, member participation has always been the construction crew of our success. As was true in 1939, volunteers contribute their time and big thoughts to shaping NWWS both as you experience it today and what it will become. We welcome you to be a part of that, no matter where you live.
And there was the biggest pivot of all in 2019. After 3 years of necessary changes to how we connect with members, our membership grows steadily and we receive many emails thanking us. Members from far outside the Pacific Northwest are delighted to be much more a part of NWWS through our online meetings, workshops, and other events. Although we cherish each time we are able to meet face to face, technology assists us in bringing NWWS to more people than ever and with many advantages we didn’t foresee when we were scrambling to quickly learn a new way.
What never changes is the popularity of our two annual exhibitions. Our Waterworks Membership Exhibition (every Spring) will continue to be an online exhibition, with 2-day online workshops at about the same time. In October of 2023, we’ll host our first in-person workshop since 2018 with the spectacular Stan Kurth. Stan is also our juror for the 2023 Annual International Open Exhibition, and the exhibition will be gallery hung, a return to everyone’s favorite way to view water media, in-person.
How we reach artists may evolve, and events may reconfigure, but our mission remains the same and our decisions are made with the promotion of watercolor and water media at the forefront.
We thank you for being a part of NWWS and look forward to enriching your art journey, no matter what part of our wonderful world you live in.
Deborah Roskopf, Acting NWWS President, 2022.

NWWS Board & Committees
Many of our volunteers have served NWWS for many years and you’ll see their names repeated while other volunteers are brand new to the board. Each of them appreciates the “thank yous” from our members for their year round help—large or small—and their thoughtful attention to guiding our organization.



No matter your skill level or desire, your helping hands can join us as we shape NWWS. Here you’ll find a list of our volunteer positions and, briefly, how they spend their time. We thank them every day for choosing to support NWWS.

President - As leader of NWWS, the president guides the present and future of NWWS, working with all volunteers and including conducting monthly board meetings.
Vice-President - Assists the president and, later, steps into that role.
Treasurer - Manages all NWWS finances, including taxes and legal compliance with 501(4)c requirement. Works closely with Data Manger for membership renewals, exhibitions entries, and other transactions. Prepares treasurers report for BOD meetings.
Recording Secretary - Records the minutes, edits, & distributes the minutes from 9 board meetings per year.
Corresponding Secretary - Takes care of general written communications, including communicating and congratulating new Signature Members.
Annual International Open Co-Chair - Works with existing, experienced team to update schedule and prospectus, coordinate with the venue, distribute acceptance packets electronically and other communications to accepted artists, organize the awards reception, work with the juror during the awards process, and enjoys bringing the exhibition to life.
Awards - Coordinates with sponsors, builds relationships, and receives awards. Seeks new support for NWWS exhibitions as cash or merchandise. Tracks award values. Prepares award packages for our exhibitions.
Data Manager - Maintains the NWWS data base with Excel, including memberships, membership renewals, exhibitions data, and other important NWWS data.
Digital Curator - Receives, reviews, and manages images from exhibitions, including preparation of digital image sharing and communications with the juror.
Signature Exhibition Chair - Works with experienced NWWS team every two or three years and the venue to exhibit the work of our Signature members. Updates the prospectus, reaches out to artists, works with the venue and volunteers on the day of hanging.
Foundation President - Leads and guides NWWF, working with other foundation volunteers who are focused on our annual scholarship and “Art for Kids”.
Foundation, “Art for Kids” - reaches out to and distributes art supplies to vetted schools.
Foundation, Treasurer - Manages the funds, budget, and all related accounting for the foundation, including legal 501(3)c compliance.
Foundation, Advisor - Attends 3 yearly meetings with foundation volunteers to review budget and other current foundation business.
Foundation, Northwest Watercolor Foundation & Barbara Pitts Award - Reaches out to art students and schools and receives applications for this annual scholarship. Works with others to review and award the scholarship, including presentation at an NWWS meeting.
Foundation, Secretary - Records meeting minutes, edits, and distributes to volunteers.
Grant Writer - Researches and prepares grant applications on behalf of NWWS.
Graphic Designer - Plans and produces a variety of both print and digital graphics for use on NWWS website, eblasts, exhibition catalog, flyers, and many other uses.
Greeter - At NWWS meetings, greets all guests warmly and gives out name tags.
Historian - Collects NWWS digital and printed information and transports it for preservation at the University of Washington.
Hospitality - At our general meetings, prepares simple snacks, coffee, and water for members, including purchasing, setup, and cleanup.
Juror Procurement - Searches for the highest quality artists to serve as our exhibition juror and workshop instructor for twice yearly exhibitions. Contracts with the artists.
Membership - Welcomes new members through preparation & mailing of welcome information and works with others to build membership in NWWS.
Newsletter Editor - Guides the spirit of Hot Press. Plans and receives all newsletter submissions, organizes, edits, and works with outside production artist to publish the newsletter quarterly.
Overlake Display - Coordinates with artists and the Overlake Hospital to install and maintain this members-only display (and sales!) In a dedicated corridor of the hospital.
Paint-Out Coordinator - Plans, publicizes, accepts/manages reservations for, manages the finances and works with venue for this NWWS sponsored 4-day retreat three times per yr.
Permanent Collection Manager - Collects the “Purchase Award” painting annually and coordinates with the Fred Hutchison Center to add it to the hanging collection.
Photographer - Attends NWWS meetings and events, taking photographs. Includes awards receptions.
Plein Air Coordinator - Communicates with members wishing to paint outdoors in warm weather, including finding perfect painting locations.
Programs Chair - Researches and works with the BOD to procure exciting demo artists for 8 general meetings per year, including introduction of the artist at the meeting.
Proofreaders - Reviews and edits written documents, as needed, for volunteers.
Publicity/Social Media Chair - Recommends and plans publicity and places orders for exhibition advertising. Works with four social media people to promote NWWS events and exhibitions.
Social Media/Facebook - Administrates and promotes NWWS on Facebook
Social Media/Instagram - Administrates and promotes NWWS on Instagram
Social Media/Pinterest - Administrates and promotes NWWS on Pinterest
Social Media/Twitter - Administrates and promotes NWWS on Twitter
Venues - Researches and visits potential venues for NWWS exhibitions. Works with the venue and the board to select and secure the venue.
Video Technician - At 8 membership meetings, brings and sets up the AV equipment for the meeting and the in-person artist demonstration.
Volunteer Coordinator - Works with the data manger to be aware of those interested in volunteering, contacting them, and finding the right volunteer fit for available volunteer positions.
Video Librarian - Maintains the vast NWWS video collection, sets up for general meetings, maintains borrower records, collects borrower contributions, and orders new DVDs.
Waterworks Exhibition Co-Chair - Works with existing, experienced team to update schedule and prospectus, coordinate with the venue, distribute acceptance packets electronically and other communications to accepted artists, organize the awards reception, work with the juror during the awards process, and enjoys bringing the exhibition to life.
Webmaster - Responsible for the NWWS (DNS) website, including updates and technical requirements. Works with the website liaison to keep content current. Prepares and tests entry forms. Solves website issues should they arise.
Website Liaison - Is aware of NWWS activities and events and works with webmaster to keep website content current, including graphic design.
Workshop Co-Chair - Plans with distinguished workshop instructor twice yearly for workshops. Responsible for venue recommendation, publicity, registrations, coordination with attendees, logistics with workshop instructor, and the event details.
Vera Grube* - 1940-41
Paul Immel* - 1942-43
Roy Terry* - 1944-45
Henry Ross* - 1945-46
Henry Taylor* - 1946-47
Rudolph Bundas* - 1947-48
Fred Marshall* - 1948-49
Richard Nelms -1949-50
Arne Jensen* - 1950-51
Edwin Burnley* - 1951-52
Fay Chong* - 1952-53
John MacDonald* - 1953-54
Gerald Grace* - 1954-55
John Lee* - 1955-56
Phil Flash* - 1956-58
John Constantine - 1958-59
Quentin Sternberg - 1959-60
Ross Hatte* - 1960-61
Dan Cannon - 1962-63
Perry Acker* - 1963-64
John Ringen - 1964-65
Lyle Silver* - 1965-67
Richard Kirsten* - 1967-69
Harry Bonath* - 1969-70
Chuck Webster* - 1970-71
Don Millett* - 1971-72
Warren McAllister* - 1972-73
Jerry Stitt - 1973-74
Victoria Savage* - 1974-77
Michael Maher - 1977-78
Ken Dowd - 1978-79
Jack Dorsey - 1979-80
Carl Christophersen* - 1980-82
John Ebner - 1983-85
Jackie Brooks* - 1985-87
Priscilla Maynard* - 1987-89
Richard Singer - 1989-91
Richard Baker - 1991-92
Donna Watson - 1992-93
Jeannie Grisham - 1993-95
Nancy Axell - 1995-96
Beverly Taylor - 1996-97
Cathy Woo - 1997-98
Gretchen Griep* - 1998-99
Betty Jo Fitzgerald* - 1999-2000
Jeanne Davis - 2000-01
Dianna Shyne - 2001-02
Kristi Galindo - 2002-04
LeSan Riedmann - 2004-06
Jerry Baldwin - 2006-07
Sheila Mattick - 2007-09
Linda P Dunn - 2009-10
Lola K Deaton - 2010-11
Cricket Crockett - 2011-12
Jeff Waters - 2012-13
Molly Murrah - 2013-14
Shirley Jordan - 2014-15
Charlette Haugen - 2015-16
Theresa Goesling - 2016-17
Che Lopez - 2017-18
Deborah Roskopf - 2018-20



Be Involved
NWWS thrives because of member participation. The contribution of an hour or a few hours each month by our members sustains our energy and maintains NWWS as a leading arts organization. Along the way, you’ll help us with decisions that help steer the organization and be rewarded with lasting friendships.
The attached form can be used or you may email us with any questions about how your talents and availability might be best used, and thank you!

We ask you to consider a contribution to either the Northwest Watercolor Society (NWWS) or the Northwest Watercolor Foundation (NWWF).
Always honoring our mission statements, you may choose to contribute “In Memoriam” or “In Honor” of someone, request specific intent for your donation, or include NWWS as a beneficiary in your will.
  • NWWF (Northwest Watercolor Foundation) is a 501c(3) and contributions are tax-deductable.
  • NWWS (Northwest Watercolor Society) is a 501c(4) and contributions are not tax-deductable.
To promote and elevate the art of watercolor as a medium, to encourage the growth and creativity of our artist members as we remain a prime artistic resource of the Northwest.
To assist, encourage, promote and advance the visual arts in the Pacific Northwest with particular emphasis on watercolor media and to provide scholarships to students to further the study of art and to conduct educational activities.
The Gold Grant Award & Scholarship and the Northwest Watercolor Foundation accept monetary contributions, gifts, devices, and bequests that are administered and used in accordance to the purpose and mission of the NWWF. You may find additional, more detailed information on this website under “Foundation” on the menu bar.

Our History
The Beginning
It was the turn of the 20th century and many local Seattle artists were painting the times in watercolor. Watercolor, considered to be mostly a woman’s media, was a perfect medium for the Pacific NW with its gray and rainy days. Men and women took up their brushes to paint the landscapes, seascapes and stories that were happening around them like the Great Depression.
In 1939 three co-founders, Vara Grube, Dorothy Milne Rising and Florence Harrison Nesbit, along with members Paul Immel, Al Dunn, James Huston, Dale Goss and Z. Vanessa Helder formed the Northwest Watercolor Society. These eight were dedicated to celebrating watercolor and its magical wonder.
One of their first exhibits, as noted in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on November 3, 1940, was at the Seattle Art Museum during National Art Week, November 25 to December 1. The Society’s goal:
To promote and elevate the art of watercolor as a medium and to encourage the growth and creativity of our artist members as we remain a prime artistic resource of the Northwest.
Throughout the decades many noteworthy and talented watercolor artists joined the society. Some were nationally known like Irwin Caplan and Mark Tobey. To learn more about the fascinating history of NWWS, by all means treat yourself to a copy of the beautifully illustrated book by David F. Martin, A Fluid Tradition: Northwest Watercolor Society…the First 75 Years.
In the first 75 years, the original mission to promote and celebrate watercolor has remained. NWWS has grown from a regional society to an international one hosting two exhibitions each year:
The International Open Exhibition, which has drawn members from around the world including Canada, China, Australia, India, and Singapore, gains in stature each year. This exhibit also draws international jurors who often find it difficult in selecting paintings for the shows because of the high number of quality entries submitted.
Waterworks is exclusively for NWWS members and showcases some of the best of the Society’s talented artists in quality and diversity.
Evolving into the 21st Century
NWWS has grown into the internationally recognized, historically rich organization of today with over 800 Signature, Lifetime and Associate members. It has also been recognized by Artists Magazine as one of the ten most prominent regional watercolor societies in North America. Like any organization NWWS must change with the times and still maintain the founders’ original goals. How is NWWS moving into the 21st century to draw in younger and more members?
Social Media
NWWS is active on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter – creating a community that celebrates the beauty and challenge of watermedia.
The September through May (except December) meetings that feature exciting, stimulating programs and demonstrations are now on Facebook Live. Members in Canada, North Carolina or even Hong Kong can “attend” without leaving home. Or view the recording later at their leisure.
More Than a Meeting
The November Splash meeting is a wonderful festive Membership Drive. Four artists are stationed around the room each painting the same subject but in their own style. Vendors sell brushes and paints. Members and potential members stroll the area, watch artists paint and explore techniques. It’s a celebration with prizes and surprises.
An Unlimited Future
The membership only exhibition, Waterworks, is now Waterworks Unlimited. Beginning with the 2018 show accepted paintings are not required to be exhibited under glass allowing for a more personal connection with viewers. Artists can submit with the formal matting and framing under glass or ‘unplug’ and use a different method with an equally professional, gallery ready presentation. This is to encourage more members with diverse presentations of watermedia.
The original 20th century members were innovative and wanted to celebrate watercolor, which they did with the media available then. Now in the 21st century NWWS continues the tradition of connecting with artists and promoting watercolor throughout the world electronically. NWWS is flexible and ready to embrace the technology of our times, to move forward and invite diverse and creative artists to join the celebration. To find out how to become a member and more about the benefits, click here.