Watercolors by Kari Naglestad (1950-2013).

These watercolors are way for people to enjoy my late wife’s watercolor paintings. These were as much a part of her as anything she did. Kari had always thought it was her destiny to be a writer, and she did write three books, because to her it was more important to have done them than to have other people see them.

She always had an affinity for color, and was very specific about anything she bought or did that involved color in any way. She even went into graphic design as a grad student to change her career so she could work with colors, but I don’t think she knew it was color that appealed to her then. Even when it came to picking a car, her favorite choice was the vapor blue special edition VW beetle and she spent days searching for a model available in a dealer showroom.

Her manual dexterity and ability to work in detail was always remarkable and she used these skills for years in sewing, making costumes for her children, fabric gifts for her friends and family, and items for the house. She applied her love of color and detail to quilting and found her niche in appliqué. She filled our house with a palette of fabrics for every possible detail, finding colors that her friends were amazed even existed.

She always had a palette of paint and had talked about taking watercolor, and I think it was the subtlety and challenge of the medium that appealed to her. When she started taking classes later in life at Long Beach City College, it was because a friend, Fujiko Miller, helped her navigate the inner workings of the admissions system.

Once in, she was in her element and quickly started to master her detail skills, seen in some of the architectural paintings, with only a year of painting.

As an advanced student, she was required to come up with a goal for each semester. These themes came from Kari's life. Growing up as a young girl on a farm in Iowa which resulted in paintings of storms and lightning, her Norwegian heritage which produced scenes from Norway, her favorite dog, Daphne, and her love of flowers of all kinds.

You can see her sense of humor in some of the paintings, like the goose, where we view the butt sticking up out of the water.

Many of her pieces were the result of her wanting to take on a challenge and master it. In many cases, the paintings would start, then be on hold for weeks, then start up again with complaints from Kari about how poor they looked. Then with a rush of effort she would turn out something like the wave, the beach, or a mushroom in a forest.

Kari started her watercolor painting in the Fall semester of 2010. The watercolors are shown in chronological order, from her first class, through the intermediate classes, then the advanced classes.

It took me several years of encouragement before she was willing to show her friends her work. I was finally able to do it by putting pictures on my smartphone and when we would go out on errands, and people would ask her what she was up to, I would show her paintings to people. Everyone was enthusiastic and gradually she began to build up her confidence. One day she finally came home and told me she wanted the pictures on her smartphone so she could show them to her friends.

Enjoy each one, turn each page slowly, drink in the color and images, and it will be just like she would show them to you herself.

"bobology" is the publishing company that was formed for my teaching and is known officially as Cohen-Naglestad Enterprises, LLC

Bob Cohen

Watercolors by Kari Naglestad