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Jun 10

Tribute to Jo Taylor

Late in the 1950s Jo Taylor from Pittsburg, Texas and Naomi Brotherton, strangers at the time, both knew that they would like to study Watercolor painting in the Gerry Peirce Workshop in Cloudcroft NM, so it was arranged for them to travel together.  By the end or the two-week event a special new friendship was developed and in route home the enthusiastic pair agreed that Dallas should have a Watercolor organization to locally offer watercolor workshops by outstanding teachers.

At Naomi’s invitation Edgar A. Whitney came, and it resulted that he came each spring for many years. Jo Taylor managed to leave her 3 youngsters and attend most of the sessions. And when Reese Kennedy announced an organizational meeting of watercolorists in l963, Jo Taylor was there as chairman of the Professional Standards committee.  She led the writing of the SWS constitution and bylaws. When SWS established the Signature Membership in which, after a member has paintings accepted in five SWS shows, they could sign their paintings with the initials SWS, Jo had already earned that privilege.

Through the years Jo hosted paint-outs at Ferndale Fishing Club and in Pittsburg at her home, including Whitney workshops.

The Taylors invited Ed Whitney and his wife, Opie, to rest at their home as they started back to New York after their spring schedule in the Southwest.

Dr. Faber McMullen, a Houston Heart specialist and watercolorist was enthusiastic about collecting Whitney paintings along with other well-known artists. It included 18 of Jo Taylor’s, 4 of which were American Watercolor prize-winning watercolors.

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Faber and his wife established the McMullen-Connally Faculty Center on the Baylor University campus in Waco, TX, to permanently house his watercolor collection.  The function of the building is for the use of the Faculty with various sized meeting rooms, a library and cafeteria.  The collection furnishes the décor for the walls of the building and special storage for the remainder of the collection.

Through the years Jo had taught many watercolor workshops nationwide and became a professor of Art at Northeast Texas Community College in Mt. Pleasant, Texas, where for 14 years her watercolor class was particularly popular.

Her dream of writing a book about design came true when Watercolor Wisdom was published and sold by North Light Art Book Club nationwide.

In time, family obligations and care of two invalids in the family caused Jo to be less active in SWS. The family migrated to Rockwall, Texas where Jo had a very efficient studio for all her media of interest. SWS Life Membership was awarded to her a few years ago. She had spread the word about the value and permanence of the medium which is also the objective of SWS to educate the public.

Fifty-four years later the wish for a watercolor society in Dallas and the Southwest is firmly established and growing.

Jo’s passing is survived by her two daughters, Mary Akin, and Beth Morgan, son –in-law, Ron Morgan, and 7 grandchildren. Jo outlived her son, Bob, by a couple of years.

The family is planning an Open House at the home at 14 Canyon Ridge Road in Rockwall, Texas, Saturday, August 5 from 2:00 to 4:00, at which time they will show some of the Jo Taylor paintings.