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Botanical Rain: the enduring Endico image



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Updated August 08, 2017 | By Bob Fugett ©2017

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It was such a small, common, and ordinary place, not one in the daily crowd chattering it to life noticed the little bus stop.

No frills: just a three-sided lightly constructed metal and acrylic human terrarium barely offering shelter.

People passing through were always rigidly engaged in some brief and tiny moment of their own typicality, plucked from the pearly thousands of similar moments stringing their lives together, so they rarely noticed the raw structure itself.

Nor did any one person give much of a thought to the wholeness expressed in having a myriad other people stirring close, outside their tiny ad hoc conversational focus group which gathered in the sun, wind, calm, and rain.

Who could imagine, nearly a half century later this scene would appear on the finest magazine covers, and the memory of it would well tears in those who recalled that place in time.

Great things were happening all around it then (and still today), but the corner itself, by the entrance to the New York Botanical Garden?

Largely ignored.

It took the spirit, eye, and skilled hand of an enthused budding artist to quickly pull the threads together and record the fullness of its iconic human intricacy in a single thought.

A time capsulized for future revelation: a watercolor.

While researching the painting's forty year history, I was punched in the stomach by a Google street-view showing its specific location from almost the exactly correct angle, and almost forever later.

A scene unchanged in decades except for slight alterations to clothing and transport fashion.

I remembered how rapidly and off-handedly the likeness had been captured, and in retrospect I was shocked-aware by how precisely that capture was executed.

Add to the mix words like by such a young artist, and my surprise becomes astonishment.

As for the remarkable story of how the painting came about, it happened like this.

Rushing to be on time for a watercolor class taught by Ed Whitney at the New York Botanical Garden in 1979, a twenty-three year old Mary Endico drove hurriedly past the crowded corner but managed to soak up its rainy day essence with a glance.

Unconsciously tucking away its state of perpetual perfection, Mary pressed on to Whitney's class.

It wasn't until hours later (after class) that she prepared her gestalt image to pass down as a sacred preservation for our far and distant future now.

She did it by painting the plein air from memory with an almost effortless quick series of gestures.

Amazingly she did it while in conversation, visiting her mother several miles away at her childhood home in New Rochelle.

She was also privately thinking over plans for creating her watercolor studio in Sugar Loaf, NY.

Though seemingly distracted, Mary adroitly applied pencil and brush to cotton paper, revealing focused truths about the bus stop that are difficult to describe and impossible to photograph.

Make no mistake, such a rare high-level capture was only made possible by the fact drawing and painting had been the overwhelming constant in Mary's life since the age of four.

Plus she had freshly completed a rigorous four year bachelors degree (with extensive studio work) from one of the top fine art programs in the United States at Boston University.

Otherwise, in the same way that few of those at the bus stop were aware of the details surrounding their daily waiting, elsewhere even fewer still took notice of Mary's burgeoning genius — this young artist who was quietly winding her way through whatever crowd, gathering vast stores of imagery to pour back over a lifetime of prolific mastery.

Any lack of forceful recognition early on could not deter her, so today the driest reckoning of Mary Endico's mastery can be summarized by the simple statistic that she has self-sold more than 21,000 original watercolors ... painted by her own hand and sold directly one-on-one to individual collectors visiting her studio in Sugar Loaf, NY.

Understanding the sales of Endico watercolors is the easy part.

Understanding the less accessible but more significant deeper aspects of her work requires a guided study.

Botanical Rain provides the perfect example to help explain priceless ineffable truths that can only be captured by an accomplished artist using pen, pencil, and brush.

In fact this watercolor is beyond perfect.

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