|Ann Templeton (1936-2011)|
Over time, I'm sure more artists and students of painting will offer their own memories of Ann Templeton. I thought I'd take a few moments to share my own. Ann was a dear friend and my mentor for many years. I'll never forget working on her first book, Ann Templeton: A Step Beyond, her 30-year retrospective. I stayed in her guest house - what she called her "apple house" - so we could work 24/7. Ann was a night owl and would stay up until the wee hours pulling 35mm slides; I'd get up before dawn and start inventorying them. In the times when we overlapped, I interviewed her and took many, many notes.
She had a great deal of advice to offer me, most of which I took, and some of which I wish I had. You can find a lot of it in my book with her and also her second one, Color: A Step Beyond. Here are a few words of wisdom from her:
- You can't paint rich unless you start rich. It's very difficult to make dull color rich. (Ann loved color, and often started off with the most jarring oranges, yellows and reds you can imagine. But, they were the foundation for many beautiful paintings. Transparent Orange and Manganese Blue were two of her favorite paints.)
- When you first start painting, you get better fast. But then you level off, and progress is very slow. (Ann had a full career as a housewife, raised a family, and only then turned to painting. She studied under Sergei Bongart, Wolf Kahn and William F. Reese. Bill was a particularly good friend of hers.)
- Be careful of what galleries you choose. Once you're in, it's hard to leave. (Ann had galleries coast-to-coast. She used to say that a working artist needed at least seven. Many of her painting friends attended her opening receptions. I remember that Walt Gonske came down one night from Taos to an opening in Ruidoso, New Mexico. That was a big deal for her.)
Ann taught many workshops each year. Two were her favorites. One was an annual workshop she taught out of her studio in Ruidoso. This workshop was more like a bunch of painting buddies hanging out together. I attended one of these sessions, and it was such a positive, energizing week. I remember painting with Don Getz, Ken Hosmer, Dee Wescott and many others.
But probably her most favorite was her annual workshop at Ghost Ranch, in Abiquiu, New Mexico. This was always in October, when the cottonwoods turn a beautiful yellow along the banks of the Rio Chama. She and Bob Rohm, another good friend of ours, taught parallel workshops during the week. One year, when I was a student of Bob's, it seemed like Ann got to all the good painting spots first!
It makes me sad to say that it has been two years since I last saw her. Schedules kept us apart, but phone and e-mail kept us together. The last time, she had just built a brand-new studio at her new home in the Hill Country of Texas. I was putting together a magazine article on studios, and since I was passing through on my way west, I decided to interview her for it. She really beamed proudly as she gave me a tour.
Goodbye for now, Ann, but your paintings and spirit will be forever with us.
|Ann's First Book: Ann Templeton: A Step Beyond|
|Ann's Pastel Studio Setup|
|Ann's Oil Studio Setup|
|Ann's Oil Palette|
|Ann's Oil Palette, After Painting|