H. Joe Waldrum was born in Savoy, Texas, on the 23rd day of August, 1934, three months to the day, after the infamous Bonnie and Clyde were killed in Louisiana
by the Texas Rangers. This is mentioned only because he grew up in a milieu that respected that loathsome duo. He attended grade school in Savoy and Bells, Texas, and then split his high school
years between Bells and Sherman, Texas. Waldrum's first college degree was in music from Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado, and his second from Fort Hayes State College where he graduated
summa cum laude with a master's degree in studio painting.
Waldrum taught music and art in the public schools of Kansas for sixteen years before acquiring his master's
degree in 1970. Discovering that he hated teaching at the college level, he nominated himself "artist" (an Otto Rank concept), and in 1971, he moved to Tesuque, New Mexico, just outside of
In 1974, Waldrum moved to Worm, New Mexico, where in 1976, he killed a man in a gunfight. Three months later, he moved to New York City to escape the friends and brothers of the
deceased. In 1979, he returned to New Mexico and took up residence in the Joseph Henry Sharp studio in Taos.
In 1980, Waldrum began to paint the adobe churches of Northern New Mexico. In 1990,
he moved to a ranch on the east face of Ladron Mountain, sixteen miles from a neighbor. There, at Mountain Ranch, he produced some of his finest work. In 1996, he moved to Truth or Consequences,
Waldrum's method of multiple layers of paint began after he purchased paint in New York that was devoid of the aluminum filler in most acrylic paints. He had not expected the
thinness of the paint and set about solving a problem rather than continuing his normal process of putting down paint. He's been quoted as saying, "My best methods have always come about because
of the accommodations I've made with problems; my accidents have unremittingly pointed me to concepts I might never have considered. I am grateful to each and every one of them."