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Monte Toon


Watercolor came into my 27th year of life in the winter of 1969, the year I took my first position as a Secondary Art Teacher in the Junior High School, Emporia, Kansas. Charles Sanderson, a fellow high school art teacher from Wichita, Kansas conducted a solo exhibit of his watercolors at a gallery in Emporia that winter, an astonishing display of high-quality watercolors. I was overwhelmed with what he had created. I took the two four-hour watercolor workshops he offered and absolutely fell in love with the medium. Now in the 51st year anniversary, I am still in love with watercolor. Through these many years, I have participated in many exhibits, sidewalk shows, mall shows and solo shows in the Midwest. My first solo show of a quantity of watercolors was held at the Independence Historical Museum and Art Center in Independence, Kansas, just two years after my introduction to watercolor. Many of my first watercolors were quick, splashy pieces of made-up imagery, almost impressionistic in execution. In the late 1980’s I began to study the works of Andrew Wyeth, Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper. I admired their more controlled approach to painting. My first major solo show of 50 original paintings, was held in 1994 exemplifying a slower, deliberate approach. In 2004 I retired from my major career of 32 years as Art Director/Graphic designer for ABC television in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Now, in addition to conducting watercolor workshops and private lessons, I continue to paint watercolors regularly. Much of my inspiration for paintings comes from our extensive travels in the United States and Canada. The subject matter of many of my paintings is found in quiet, somewhat lonely places. Rural scenes, weathered barn and abandoned houses capture my creative subject matter along with numerous lighthouses and coastal images. Isolation, feelings of being alone are evident in my work. A friend recently used the word “longing” to capture the essence of my images, the substance of my paintings. I agreed; my work does contain that element of longing. I simply can’t imagine what my life would have been like had I not had that memorable experience in the winter of 1969, over 51 years ago.

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