I tried to paint brighter and brighter works and purchased many instruction books on how to obtain deepened color using watercolors. But I began to realize that only with oils could I attain the depth of color that was my goal. Over the years though I still yearned for the feel of watercolor and how as it drops onto the paper unique effects could be obtained.
At first with watercolor I was self taught, buying many books. One of my initial inspirations came from Jeanne Carbonetti’s book (see the photos of references at the end of this long post for other watercolor books that have most influenced me during thiis watercolor period and beyond):
Some paintings inspired by Carbonette are:
And later I found Georgia O’Keeffe’s watercolors (yes Georgia used watercolors during certain periods).
Georgia O’Keeffe, Evening Star.
I tried copying this or a similar one several times. Unfortunately as a new watercolorist I didn’t realize how important the paper is. Try as hard as I could I seemed not be be able to get the same effects:
In 2002 I visited Santa Fe and spent time at the museums looking at Georgia’s work as well as other New Mexican artists. One in particular caught my eye: Tom Noble. I love his quirky depictions of New Mexico and his usage of bright colors (I met him in the summer of 2016 at his Taos store and thanked him for his inspiration; he has since died so that I am happy that I met him when I did. Perhaps I will pay homage to him with new paintings of my own now but still capturing his spirit).
Tom Noble, Guadalupe
For practice I at this time I copied several of Tom Noble’s works:
I more and more wanted to paint full time so I began to consider early retirement from a bigh-stress job in the computer industry managing dozens of computer folk designing, developing, reviewing and testing software for the NYSE traders on the floor.
I found a class at the “Chocolate Factory” in Red Hook NY in January of 2002 with Betsy Jacaruso, who still teaches - now in Rhinebeck. Red Hook is just across the river from our vacation home in Woodstock/Red Hook. So every weekend I painted in Woodstock and during the week I painted in the evenings in Manhattan in the Village. Here are a few of the paintings from the days with Betsy:
The following was painted “en plein air” at the famous Olana home of Frederick Edwin Church and sold at an auction (Sept. 2003). I was very excited to see this painting at the top of an article in the Woodstock Times advertising the charity auction:
I still hadn’t retired yet and was trying to paint as much as possible: scenes from the Village as well as from the Woodstock area.
At the first group show of Betsy Jacaruso artists (for me anyway) in Sept. 2013 I sold another painting. I was so excited! I felt I was on the way to becoming a professional fine artist!! Imagine this painting in the same thin gold frame -with a white mat- as the darker lake scene -which I still have- following this..
Spring Lake, Washington State
During this same period I had to paint my place of work in all its fire and brimstone - and glory:
And finally for this pre-retirement period I painted (several times) the apartment houses and night scene from my 9th street apartment facing North toward the Empire State Building. I entered it into a juried show at the Woodstock Art Association in the heart of town and it sold!! I wish I had kept this painting as one of my favorites of all times; it reminds me so much of living on 9th Street. (The recent book about 9th Street Women by Mrs Gabriel which I am reading for the second time - with abstract expressionist artists such as Lee Krasner and Elaine DeKooning- has brought back fond memories of my time in that apartment and my undergraduate and graduate days at NYU at Washington Square, two short blocks away from my last Manhattan apartment.)
This is part I of the watercolor retrospective. Watch this site for the next chapter. Note that in this early part of my career, I was consciously pushing the thought of Mathematics out of my painting experience (or thinking I was).
References: Photos of books I used during my watercolor period, and which I still use as references: