Don Getz (1934-2018)

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Don Getz

The Ohio Watercolor Society is pleased to honor Don Getz, born April 2, 1934 in Salem, Ohio. His parents were Donald & Dorothy Getz. His father was a steel fabricator, and his mother a dedicated home maker. Don has two sisters, Bonnie and Lois, a musician and artist.  

Don was always tinkering in his father’s shop, and tore apart and rebuilt his first auto engine (a Model A) when he was ten years old. He also enjoyed welding and sketching cars and trucks at the shop. Don never enjoyed studying. He did however, take time to draw everything. He especially enjoyed drawing vehicles. This was one of the first signs that indicated he was destined to be a “car guy.”  

He had an soon to be retired art teacher who would give the class an assignment by stating, “Don will find a building and lead you to sketch it.”  Later in life, he appreciated those early teaching opportunities. During his senior year of high school, his father took him to Akron and Cleveland to visit art schools. During one of the visits, they came upon the Goodyear Aircraft Corporation. His father stated, “Any company that large must have an art department. Let's see if they think you should go to art school.” Well, they hired him. That was the beginning of twenty-three years in commercial art.

Don studies two years at Ohio State University. He states, “Unfortunately, that was during the time they taught you to throw paint at a canvas.” He also spent time at North American Aviation in Columbus and ten years with an Akron ad agency. During that time, Don got married to Judie Krupp in 1960.  They have four children, ten grandchildren, and now three great grandchildren.

Don started the Boston Mills ArtFest in 1972 and directed the show for twenty-five years.

On July 3, 1978, he assembled eighteen artists at his Peninsula home to organize the Ohio Watercolor Society. Don felt that too many good Ohio watercolor artists were not getting the attention they deserved! He served as Ohio Watercolor Society’s first president, a position he held for ten years. Don was elected to OWS active membership in 1984. Besides serving as president, he also supervised the production of the annual exhibition catalog for many years.

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In 1980, Don started the Boston Mills Artist Workshops which he ran for ten years.
In 1988, Don and Judie took on management of the Hotel Pemaquid in Maine. For next three years, Don maintained a studio there from May thru October and returned to Ohio's Cuyahoga Valley for the winter months.

Shortly after managing the hotel, Don and Judie moved to Louisville, Kentucky because Don was offered the senior art director's position at Automobile Quarterly. Don described the position as ”a perfect job for a car guy.” After three years the magazine started having financial difficulties. Don and Judie soon moved back to the Cuyahoga Valley. Meanwhile, Don was teaching watercolor workshops across the country. 

In 1990, Don organized weekend art shows at M.D. Garage, a 1940s era gas station, owned and recently restored by the National Park Service. The shows are still going strong, Saturdays & Sundays from April thru October. A typical weekend sees over 300 visitors to the gallery.

In 2011, Judie passed away after two years of battling COPD. Don needed to keep busy, to put this great loss behind him, so he went to their bucket list, which included a cross-country trip to visit family and artist friends.

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ODYSSEY was the event, with Don departing Ohio, September 20th, to the Adirondack mountains, to Maine, Key West, FL, and around the Gulf of Mexico to the southwest, then up the west coast to Washington state and across the Northwest to Michigan, arriving back in Ohio in October, 2013. The trip amounted to 18,000 miles, eleven journals, over 300 ink and watercolor sketches and 43 two & three day journaling workshops.  

Currently, Don is selecting one or two sketches from each stop, to create an Odyssey Journal, due before year's end. A blog on the entire trip can be found on his website,

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