Ralph Fontenot

The short of it is “I am an art teacher, and I like to paint pictures.” The long version may be boring. I am still an art teacher. Children help me see that like anything else, art is developmental. The older I get and the more I paint, the more I learn, and the more I need to learn.

I am a traditional painter, and watercolorist by choice. I believe there is truth in a well-executed rendering of a subject. And what could be more pure than water and pigment.

I grew to love watercolors while studying with Oscar Larmer at Kansas State University. He would take his classes on location, and we would try to capture a moment. Although I still draw on those lessons, much of my work today is done from memory and reference photographs. I will paint pictures of anything, but landscapes have always been predominant. The sky and prairie speak for themselves. It seems sometimes I am able to listen in on one of their secrets.

I have found that there is also a need to “document” if you will, structures, and buildings that interest me. I believe people overlook some of the most interesting aspects of their world. It has become all too familiar to them. I try to give them a fresh look using a different vantage point, or a time of day that has colors, light, and shade with which they are not so familiar.