I was fortunate to meet yet another interesting Door County resident this time after introducing a featured speaker, Tom Nachreiner, to the Door County Art League.
Roberta L. Raymond (or “Bobbie”) has authored two children’s books and is an accomplished illustrator, watercolorist, traveler and sociologist. Her latest book, Three Sea Tales, is available from The Book Table online at BookTable.net. The book is also available at The Paint Box Gallery in Ephraim, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Ephraim, and in the Al Johnson’s gift shop in Sister Bay. Some of her watercolor illustrations from her latest book are on display until the end of August at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Ephraim.
Randy Rasmussen (RR): Will you describe to our readers how you became interested in art?
Bobbie Raymond (BR): I know most artists would say their pursuit of art was life long. To me art was always one of my main interests. In high school I was fortunate to win a National Scholastic Award for a pen and ink drawing and the piece was sent to Washington, D.C. I took classes in high school that prepared me for college and this did not allow me to take as many art classes as I would have liked.
RR: What was the first medium you remember working in?
BR: The first medium was crayons. I then started working in pen and ink. Growing up in Chicago we, as a family, went many times to the Art Institute and I marveled at the beautiful paintings. I always sketched growing up and as my career moved forward I began taking classes. Coming to Door County I have taken over 50 classes at the Peninsula Art School. At home I became interested in watercolor after watching the Tom Lynch watercolor instruction on television.
RR: Reading your book, Three Sea Tales, I noticed the beautiful colors and transparency of your illustrations. What colors are on your current palette?
BR: For blues I use the old standard, Ultramarine Blue, along with Cobalt Blue and Manganese. Yellows are primarily Aureolin, Lemon and Cadmium. My go-to reds are Vermillion, Cadmium Red and sometimes Opera.
RR: What about paper?
BR: I think people have to understand how important paper is in watercolor painting. I love Fabriano paper; currently I use the 300-pound weight. I occasionally use Winsor & Newton or Waterford.
RR: What do you think is essential to a good watercolor painting or any painting?
BR: In our conversation we discussed drawing. I think one has to have a good composition and then it is, as we discussed, a good solid drawing. In my opinion drawing is the basis for all good art.
RR: For the readers, name your three favorite watercolorists.
BR: I can only name three?
RR: Only three.
BR: The first would be the great Winslow Homer and then, of course, John Singer Sargent. And then Eugène Delacroix. [She also mentioned favoring the work of Beatrix Potter because of her work illustrating nature.]
RR: All great artists. How often do you paint?
BR: I draw every day. I paint everyday in the summer but in the winter it is not as frequent. In the summer I do many miniatures sometimes using them as note cards.
RR: Is there another children’s book coming?
BR: I don’t think so. It was my plan in my 75th year to complete several things and they were completed. I am now working on new projects. I was happy with the way both books [the other being Amy and the Amaryllis] turned out and enjoyed doing the illustrations.
RR: This is one question I enjoy asking artists – in our increasingly technological world, do you think fine art has a place?
BR: I think there will always be people, maybe all of mankind, that have a need to express themselves and create. The cave drawings in Lascaux show the exquisite need man has to put feelings and emotion in a viewable form. History is art and art is history.
RR: Thank you.