I just always assumed that everyone drew things, had a watercolor set and painted on anything available. As a child my favorite part of getting gifts was "what can I make out of the box it came in?"… I would take a cardboard box, paint it white with house paint and then decorate it with watercolors, felt tip pens, crayons or whatever I could find to manufacture my new creation.
During early years in school I became very unpopular with my classmates because I always won first place in any drawing or art contests. My interest in design was further inspired by my mom- she did fantastic watercolors of flowers. She hardly let anyone see them, but I have vivid memories of her art. My dad, in an indirect way also inspired my design obsession. He was one of the founders of the best and largest offset color printing companies in Albuquerque.
After wandering around for a few years exploring the world I returned to Albuquerque and worked for my dad, hung out in the art department thus turning to graphic design/art.
Fast forward: I moved to Santa Fe and became Vice President and Art Director of Sunstone Press. I was responsible for the cover design and book inside design. There were awards for such books as The First Twenty Years of the Santa Fe Opera by Eleanor Scott, Furniture of Spanish New Mexico by Alan Vedder, and the reprint of Lawrence and Brett: a friendship (between Brett and D.H. Lawrence) by Dorothy Brett with new introduction by John Manchester. During the Sunstone days I had the pleasure of meeting Dorothy Brett, Helen Blumenschein, Pedro Ortega, Walter Cooper, Ford Ruthling, Mary Lou Cook and others. The list is too long for this biography.
A change of ownership of Sunstone Press was the impetus to open my own gallery and antique shop on Canyon Road. Having days to create art "I wanted to do" made for a great transition into the art world. My first one man show was at the now closed Ernie's Restaurant… 24 watercolors produced for the show sold within the first hour or so…. a client who purchased one watercolor felt it was time my work was seen in other parts of the world. She lived part time in Paris and took slides of my work and arranged a show of over 50 pieces with a prestigious gallery on Rue Vaneau in Paris. I was hooked! My works are in personal and professional collections in the United States, Canada, Mexico, France, Spain and South Africa.
I then opened a printing company and soon branched out with another location in the city. Fortunate to have lived and worked in Santa Fe for years I counted The Santa Fe Opera, The Orchestra of Santa Fe, The Santa Fe Symphony, Theatre Arts Corporation, The Chamber Music Festival and many others among my favored clients. I have had the pleasure of serving on the boards of The Orchestra of Santa Fe, The Santa Fe Symphony, Theatre Arts Corporation and as Vice President of Santa Fe CARES (a non-profit HIV/Aids organization).
I have over 130 book cover designs, 73 full color note cards, illustrations for Gourmet magazine and other cook book firms to my credit. My most popular design in 1978 was the "Blue Corn," a ristra of blue corn that was painted in watercolor and gouache over the course of 5 months on a custom piece of watercolor board. It was almost the size of a regular residential front door! The piece was printed in a quantity of 10,000 copies in a reduced size of 18" x 26"… it sold out within a month. Over the years it has had 9 more printings of 10,000 copies… I have only 50 left.
As I became involved in my printing business, my painting time became almost nonexistent. The 1978 Blue Corn piece was my last work until 1998.
I hope you enjoy seeing my art as much as I enjoy creating it. Commissions are welcomed. Still-lifes, landscapes, portraits of people and the ever popular pet portraits are always a joy to do. Feel free to discuss your art needs with the staff here at Joe Wade Fine Art, I am usually a phone call or email away and can answer questions.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope it gives you an insight into who I am and how my art evolved. If you would like to know more about my painting techniques ask for a complimentary color brochure… it includes reproductions of more of my paintings and a dialogue about my style and technique.
Douglas J Houston
Santa Fe, NM 2010