As I mentioned in my first post, from time to time I would like to profile some of the talented artists who come to The Naturalist’s Studio on Friday mornings. This first profile is a memorial to a sensitive and talented artist who added much to our classes with his knowledge, experience and interest in everything going on around him. His name was Ted Dove and, although he died almost two years ago, his name comes up often on Friday mornings in our conversations and his absence is mitigated by fond memories
Ted began painting seriously while studying with Edward DeVoe, a classical oil painter, at Washington Art Association in Washington, CT. He began with classes en plein air then continued studying with DeVoe in the studio. Ted also studied watercolor and portrait painting. He had creditable success in all these mediums due to his keen eye for color and composition. However, according to his wife Diane, “When Ted discovered egg tempera he found his medium of choice". This was a class I taught and the beginning of my relationship with Ted as he became a regular attendee of The naturalist’s Studio from that point on.
Egg tempera requires a carefully conceived composition and slow building of multiple layers of paint for success. In his working life Ted was an electronic and mechanical designer. With this kind of meticulous and detail oriented background it is no surprise he responded to the process and precision of egg tempera painting.
One day in class we had a discussion about why we paint. It is a subject with as many answers as artists. When the question was posed to Ted he answered without hesitation “When I see something that touches me I want to try to capture it to share with family and friends in a more personal way than a photograph.
Obviously paramount in Ted’s life was his love for his wife, Diane and his daughter Meghan. Meghan is also an artist, a RISD graduate, having been encouraged from early childhood by supportive parents. Diane, a public school English teacher, admits to artistic attempts largely to please Ted who wanted to share his love of painting with her.
His painting of the Clydesdales was a commission that he first refused. Principally a landscape painter Ted modestly felt figures and horses were outside his skill range. On his own he worked on the painting without any commitment because it was for a very special occasion. When he found himself satisfied with it he ultimately agreed to present it, much to the joy of the family of the man who owned the horses and originally commissioned the painting.
This is how Diane describes the origins of the painting above. “The painting of the river going through the village was originally a cover for the publication English Journal. I loved the picture and posted it near my computer at school. After it began to fade I brought it home to ask Ted if he could ‘revive’ it somehow using his skills in Photoshop and he made a new photo for me. What he did not tell me was that he painted the scene for me in watercolor as a gift. It was truly a surprise. I still have the scene as the screen art on my computer.”
At the time of Ted’s death The Naturalist’s Studio had a group show at the Gunn Memorial Library Stairwell Gallery in Washington, CT. Ted lived to know, and enjoy knowing, his work was widely featured in local media promoting the show. He continues to be missed by all who knew him.
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