Ted Rose (1940-2002) Biography
Ted Rose had a passion for railroads, which started when he took his first train ride in 1949 to a railroad fair in Chicago. Then, in the mid-1950s, a teenaged Rose traveled throughout the United States and Canada, photographing and sketching in watercolor what he sensed was the twilight of the steam locomotive.
After receiving a B.F.A. from the University of Illinois in 1962, Rose served in Vietnam, and upon his return settled in Chama, New Mexico. In 1966 he moved to Santa Fe, where he opened a graphic design business. In 1983 he started to paint watercolors full time, with a nostalgic focus on the days when steam ruled the railroads.
Rose is a signature member of the New Mexico Watercolor Society and a member of the American Watercolor Society. Recently New Mexico Magazine honored him as their Distinguished Artist for 1997.
Rose found watercolor to offer a greater number of options than oil, and to be more malleable. “Watercolor is direct; there is almost no complexity in the preparation of the painting aspects of it,” Rose said. First he visualized a prospective painting, and then sketched reference points to understand if what he imagined would work on paper.
His camera was the sketchbook, but he rarely created one of his almost photographic watercolors from a single image. Often, he searched for illustrations by Depression-era photographers Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans for background material, and even consulted old timetables to ensure he was accurate about the exact time of a train’s departure from a depot.