|Taos Mountain Rain|
I met Tom Nobel, a famous Taos artist, when we shared judging duties at an Eagle Nest Arts and Crafts fair. It was both the best of times and the worst of times. He smokes and drinks to excess, and is often rude, crude and socially unacceptable, but boy, can he paint. In fact, it was watching him paint in watercolors on mat board with inks that was an ah ha moment for me. I had been trained to paint in the classical style of watercolor and his "disregard" for the medium at first put me on edge. But I could not argue with his results.
"I set out to see if I could make a major art out of what some call a minor medium," confides Tom Nobel, "I also use ink-drawing tools in my works. I like the combination because watercolor is so amorphous and ink is so precise."
|Sheep are in the Meadow|
The more I disliked the man the more I liked the the artist. And the more watching him paint freed me to experiment with color and medium and platform. In that regard, I guess he could be labeled as a mentor even though I would be hard pressed to call that three days a mentoring relationship.
Tom Noble studied art and architecture at the University on New Mexico where his primary teacher, Sam Smith, steered him towards watercolor. Sam Smith was also my teacher and one that taught me all the rules for classical watercolor painting. And I, like Tom, fell in love with the medium. Nobel and I were even at UNM the same years. I wonder if we were in the same classes? If so he and his art were infinitely forgettable at that time. But his art isn't now. I suppose I wouldn't have liked Picasso either had I met him.