Adolf Konrad and Betty Stroppel were my two living mentors. Konrad introduced me to oil painting en plein air in the early 70’s. I began painting in watercolor en plein air with Betty in the late 70’s. A strong friendship developed with both teachers in spite of my moving away from New Jersey for many years.
My current residence is only fifteen minutes from where Konrad lived in Asbury, New Jersey. After moving to Lebanon Township in 1995 I began spending time with Konrad again. He no longer painted, having lost his vision. I continued to learn from him, from his sketchbooks, his stories, his playfulness. During one of my last visits with him he gave me one of his black enamel Winsor Newton watercolor field box. He had two, and felt I should have one of them.
Tuesday evening, during my last visit with Betty before she left with her son and daughter for Ohio, she asked me to take one last look through her studio to make sure I hadn’t missed anything precious. I was sure I hadn’t, but returned to the studio one last time. In a closet, on a tiny shelf in the back, lay a black enamel field box just like the one Konrad had given me. My last gift from Betty.