I just learned that Nita Engle has passed away. She was to the watercolor medium, what Babe Ruth was to baseball—a true game-changer. I stumbled upon her work, flipping through artist magazines back in the 1980s. So taken aback by her painting style, I searched for and found her Michigan phone number. This was in the days before the internet and smartphones.
Not knowing she was rarely home, I naively dialed her number. By dumb luck she answered—and my career, and arguably my life, took an abrupt turn. No more talk of law school. I was going to be an artist.
After a drive to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, I had the honor of meeting her and visiting her modest Lake Superior shoreline home. It was a cabin, really, surrounded by the majestic wilderness that she so expertly captured in her paintings.
Lessons ensued and her influence has since been instilled in my artwork.
I do not believe she ever had a website. She was “old school”—not “techy”—yet she was incredibly innovative in her art. If you do not know her work, I suggest that you Google “Nita Engle” and tap “Images.” You will soon agree that she was among watercolor’s best.
Nita Engle will be greatly missed, but her light and vision will live on through her paintings.