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Botanical Rain: the enduring Endico image



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Updated August 08, 2017 | By Bob Fugett ©2017

No Accident

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Those who believe art is not a science do not know art.

But those who do know art will not be surprised hearing that the success of Mary Endico is no accident.

Through rigorous study, engagement with materials and practice, one can acquire the intellectual plus physical skills needed to reliably repeat with great regularity the highest level artistic work ... quick, clean, clear, and certain.

By following best practices study and process, Mary has enjoyed a self sustaining career as a watercolorist for more than 40 years.

A mainstay of Mary's professional life has been her ability to pass through an environment only once but absorb enough information to paint it from memory much later.

Often visitors in her studio will ask, "Beautiful lighthouse. Looks familiar. Where is that?"

"Out of my head. Painted it right here at this desk."

The number and variety of themes which receive the same query and response are countless.

Botanical Rain is an early example of Mary painting "from her head".

A major benefit of that skill is the capacity to mix, match, and reshuffle old recollected imagery into new and unique themes on a whim.

Botanical Rain was a flamboyant and immediate compilation of those capacities, but there are more pedestrian uses.

I have witnessed Mary take a tour of somebody's house while the owner happily chattered about all the interesting and significant little flourishes; then months later Mary matched the furniture and wall colors from memory.

The skill set that enables Mary to do such work was hard won.

Soon after I met Mary, she showed me some of her life drawings from studio classes at college.

After carefully paging through a hundred or more impressive drawings (and noting a large pile still to go), I took a breath and chirped, "This is an amazing amount of work for only four years at college."

Mary said, "These are just the best I kept from the last semester."

I did not fully understand the import of that statement until many years later when I saw Mary's college transcripts and realized the quality of the drawings actually did confirm they were from the final semester.

The records revealed Mary had indeed received an "A+" for her second semester figure drawing class in her senior year.

However, as a freshman she had begun with a low "C" and struggled to bring her grade up little-by-little each semester.

Near the time that I first saw Mary's portfolio, she painted Botanical Rain from memory even though she had seen the bus stop only briefly.

If not for her previous four years studio work (under the watchful eyes of strong educators), Mary would never have been able to bring to life the essence of that bus stop in a watercolor which superficially appears to be so loosely free-form, but on closer examination reveals its underlayment of solid tight sophisticated artistry.

Plus don't forget, she had arrived at college already primed with 14 years of experience in drawing, painting, and observation guided by her own extravagant temperament as an impassioned young creative.

And yes, same as you, she hates the overused non-descriptive use of the word "creative" as a noun because even as a youngster Mary didn't talk about painting: Mary painted.

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A KEYTAP Publication