Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Interesting article..The California School

In the midst of doing a bit of research on the Eliot O'Hara and Ed Whitney relationship and the early era of the east coast watercolor scene, I came across this interesting 1988 publication by Susan M. Anderson on Regionalism: The California View, Watercolors 1923-1945


The article is a bit heavy reading at first but eventually gets to the birth of what is commonly referred to as the California School of Watercolor due to the efforts of painters such as Phil Dike, Millard Sheets, Barse Miller, Paul Sample, Lee Blair, Phil Paradise and Hardie Gramatky...and many others. It also mentions the influence of Walt Disney Studios on Phil Dike (an employee). This era of colorful interpretive watercolor landscape seemed to take hold in the early 1930's, a bit prior to the heyday of O'Hara's Goose Rocks Maine School and well before Edgar Whitney's primary watercolor years. One could infer that some of the California School watercolor energy & design focus made its way east to influence both of these fellows to some degree in their east coast painting and teaching? Any thoughts or comments Mr. Webb?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ed Whitney...reflections from Barbara Nechis...

A while back Barbara Nechis (who needs no introduction to most watercolorists!) sent me the info and images below. My sincere apologies to Barbara for taking so long to get it on the blog. Her work has always been inspirational in clearly demonstrating one of Ed Whitney's favorite adages:
Substances obeying their own laws do beautiful things!
To view her beautiful work and find out more about Barbara, visit her website at

Hi Wes,
Frank Webb just told me about the blog. Here are some photos I took in
Whitney workshops in Kennebunkport between 1969 and the mid-70's and also a
painting I bought from Ed. I scanned them some time ago and would have
difficulty finding the originals. I was monitor of his Round Hill CT class
for several years.

Most of my memories of that time (along with those of my colleagues) are in
Ron Ranson's book Learn Watercolor the Edgar Whitney Way

In the one with Doug Walton, I think that is Webb in the upper left.

In the Whitney Lecture, that is me in the lt. blue jeans, long dark hair. I
had taken Ed and some of the class members to the Mamaroneck Artists Guild
juried exhibition at a gorgeous contemporary church in White Plains. This
was a multi-media show and some of the exhibitors were Carl Molno and Mike
Rossi. I was president of the guild at the time. Ed said it was the best
presented exhibition he had ever seen. It truly was - we dragged in pebbles
for a sculpture garden and probably hung each piece at least 3 times in
order to best present it. I lead a caravan of cars from our class in CT to
the exhibition with Ed directly behind me. As we approached the toll booth
on the Hutchinson River Pkwy, Ed speeded up and passed me. As I went through
the toll, the collector told me that the gentleman preceding me had paid my

Feel free to use this info as you wish.

Best regards,
Barbara Nechis

Whitney Demo on the Rocks, Kennebunkport 1979

Whitney Demo on the Rocks, Kennebunkport 1979
photo courtesy Shirley Langraf