Remembering Don Hendricks
by Elaine Rubenstein, editor of The Elephant Ear
Don Hendricks was born in San Diego on June 10th, 1947, and grew up in Orange County. He joined the army and spent time in Korea, then Alaska, where he began his undergraduate work at the University of Alaska. He returned to Southern California and completed both his B.A. and M.A. at California State University, Fullerton. He began teaching and exhibiting his art soon after graduating, and taught at California State University, Fullerton; Rancho Santiago College (then Santa Ana College); and Hollywood Art School. In 1974 he joined the faculty at Fullerton College and served as a chairman of the Art Department from 1983 to 1985. He died on February 8, 1989, after being hit by a car while bicycling to work.
Don Hendricks' death is a poignant loss both to those who knew him well and to those who knew him only indirectly through his art. He was one of the most masterful and magical of contemporary realist painters. His work, from his early graphite drawings to his last watercolor triptychs, gathers the elements of our county-- hot rods, cactus, trains, Mickey Mouse, freeways, bungalows, foothills, canyons-- and projects a place suffused with marvelous light and possessed of great dimension.
Don Hendricks exhibited across America and in Europe, and had one-man shows in Geneva, Switzerland; New York; Washington D.C.; and Los Angeles. His work is represented in collections at the Los Angeles Music Center, the Ahmonson Contemporary Art Collection, Cedar-Sinai Medical Center, Laguna Beach Art Museum, and the Addison Gallery of Contemporary Art, as well as in many private and corporate collections. In the last five years, he was in 40 group exhibitions.
He received numerous honors for his work, including three California Arts Council grants, in 1982, 1983, and 1984. He filled a term as the first vice president of the National Watercolor Society in 1984. In 1981, with a matching grant from the California Arts Council, Don Hendricks became Brea's Artist in residence. As part of his residency, he offered demonstrations in schools, taught free watercolor classes, gave lectures, dedicated studio time, and completed special projects, including "Waterworks," an eight-part video series on basic watercolor techniques, which he wrote and produced. He painted 25 watercolors of Brea during this time, and his was considered a model residency program by the state.
Don Hendricks was a devoted husband and father, an avid sportsman-- climber, surfer, skier, and backpacker-- and an important artist of our time. He will be remembered and missed.
To view more of Don Hendricks' art, visit his son Tim's site HERE