Blogs > Fresh Ink

Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Joan Watkin: a quiet person and expressive artist

Ray Watkin next to a self-portrait of his late wife Joan,
whose work was on display Sept. 12-14 at the
Universal Preservation Hall.
The times I would run into Joan Watkin, she was pretty quiet. I learned that she was a shy person, the perfect foil for her husband, Raymond.

But she most definitely expressed herself: through her art.

Joan was a talented artist, and I was glad to get to see some of her work on display this past weekend at the Universal Preservation Hall, the renovated former church at 25 Washington St.

You may recognize some of the portraits by the
late wife Joan Watkin, whose 
work was on display
Sept. 12-14 at the 
Universal Preservation Hall.
Joan passed away Aug. 19, 2013, a couple of months after her and Ray’s 50th wedding anniversary. She was a trained artist and worked as commercial artist for various places, including The Saratogian. Her passions were art and animal welfare.

Although I never really got to know Joan, I’ve had a special connection to her husband almost since moving to Saratoga Springs to become a newspaper reporter in June 1977. But it wasn’t because Raymond Watkin was mayor when I was covering the city beat. It’s because one year later he performed my marriage ceremony, a story for another day. He and Joan were guests at the wedding.

So it was a pleasure to see Joan’s work on display – a variety of media and a mix of self-portraits, portraits of many local people, landscapes, animals and more. My husband and I bought a couple of packs of notecards of her work to benefit the UPH. I think I’ll use some and save a few, just to enjoy. Her lovely artwork is a reminder that a quiet person may have quite a lot to say.