Joe Wetherbee (Uncle Toadee)
Uncle Toadee
and his favorite cat Freddie

Joe Wetherbee, Uncle Toadee, realized that most artists are lucky to break even if they are pursuing income from their art, if they create art for sale at all. Joe’s passion was to create for the sake of expression alone. It was his mantra to boldly display a feeling such as a spoken poem or a song phrase, or hearing a musical chime or song. There may not be any words in a symphony but there is all manner of emotion. Art is art and is to be enjoyed.

Joe understood that art was never a measure of a person’s intelligence or sophistication. Joe doodled in sketchbooks, on scraps of paper and later on envelopes expressing Joe’s sentiments for various occasions. Often with a stroke of a pen or brush for no particular reason an image would form and develop into a scene or a shape or blend of shapes. That was Joe’s way of capturing ideas in a moment in time.

As Joe said, art is “giving expression to human experience”. Like music, sculpture, or painting, art is a glimpse of time in a person’s life experience. Joe’s doodles are expressions of Joe’s life, his experiences, and provide insight into his personality.  Joe would want you to smile, chuckle, frown, or love when you see his doodles.   He would want you to enjoy them first and use them as you would want. 

A few of his "doodles"...  

 Cross of Light

Get the big picture, from the apex to the outer extensions of a concentration of life or functions. Details of shapes and colors illustrate the feeling of tension and release. Sense the mass in the middle but then appreciate the balance throughout the piece.

Cross of Light -- Joe Wetherbee (Uncle Toadee)

 Bones Clowning Around

Action and reaction, we never know what can occur between people and animals or in any given circumstance. There is surprise enough for all—this is an excellent sample of being able to fill in the message blanks with multiple exclamations and moods. Notice how the black background gives more emphasis on the actual lines and generates the feeling of seeing skeletal images where black lines on a white background would not create the same sort of whiteness or thinness. Even the pet on the leash appears thinner, and petite.
Bone Clowning Around  -- Joe Wetherbee (Uncle Toadee)

 Imagination Rules the World

Is it smoke or fire? Is it a being from another dimension?  The drama is in the shapes and the colors. The art allows the audience to capture an emotion and put their own feeling into thought. Perhaps perplexing but always interesting, Joe Wetherbee’s art evokes sensations that everyone can share.

Imagination Rules the World  -- Joe Wetherbee (Uncle Toadee)

Abby -- Soft Pencil Sketch

Given to Betty July 27, 1940 - probably done at the Waupaca Library. 

Soft Pencil Sketch

 Ace -- Soft Pencil Sketch

Sent to Betty from Esler Field, Louisiana, where Joe was stationed for gunnery training during WWII – June 28, 1942.

Soft Pencil Sketch



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