Biography of an OBHF

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Biography of an OBHF

'Fine Artist' sounds awfully fancy. I'm much more comfortable with 'OBHF'. But I like to think of myself as a watercolorist who travels, sketches, takes way too many photographs, and spends a lot of time writing and paints compulsively. I started painting when I was a kid in Cleveland, OH. My parents would drop my sister and me off at the Cleveland Museum of Art to sketch in the galleries. I started painting oils in the late 1960s but the messiness would wear me out. In 1992 I got serious about watercolors. It wasn't an intentional thing, I simply experienced a 'wetness epiphany' and, ever since, I even paint in my dreams.

To be a watercolorist is to develop an emotional involvement with a piece of paper. Each composition begins in the glorious moment when there is a picture in my mind and a blank sheet of watercolor paper in front of me in my studio or on a large rock or campsite picnic table on the road. Then there follows glorious moment after moment when pigments are insinuated in the fabric of the watercolor paper while impressions are confirmed, rejected or rearranged and finally, or at least for that moment, settled in my mind. In the end, my physical relationship with the paper is no longer necessary -- at least for the painting. At that point I sign off. The painting doesn't need me any more. Joy and sadness. But, in my head there is an ever-growing list of images that I hope to capture...

Paper is eighty percent water, our bodies are over sixty percent water. And, how fluid are our thoughts? Itís all about managing wetness. I love my watercolors! They've taught me much about seeing, thinking, and when to stop thinking and just pick up a brush. I hope you will like them too.

My wife and I are both retirees and we travel as much and as far as we can. Weíve just returned from a four and a half month camping trip that included a month in Death Valley, following spring up the west coast and thru British Columbia, more camping in Alaska and the Yukon and the best Fourth of July ever at Great Basin National Park. I want to meander across North America until the EPA makes pleasure driving a criminal offense! So, who knows how much time I'll have? Youíll know if youíve gotten behind me, weíre into quality travel, not fast miles. Iím busy adding to my list of things to paint. But, I digress...

I hope you enjoy my watercolors and photographs and sketches. I may throw up some postcards from the road. If we donít see you out there, thanks for coming here.

Joel Deutsch

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