IN THE BEGINNING
A few years ago I asked my wife for a DNA analysis for Christmas. It’s one of those kits that you buy and send in a cheek swap and a few weeks later they write back and tell you which type of tree you climbed out of. Here is a quote from the results “the likely migration pathways of your ancient ancestors, The Artisans (haplogroup R1b). Your ancestors may have been responsible for the first cave paintings” I was amused but I pretty much have known my whole life that I would end up in some form of artistic career. As far back as I can remember I loved to draw and the more I drew the the better I became and the more attention I received, the more attention I received, the more I drew. My first oil painting started when I was about eight. My grandmother and my father liked to do paint by numbers, and when they would finish a piece they would give me the left over paint which I would mix together and do my own compositions. Later I explored other media.
Throughout grade school and high school, art was the fuel that powered my engine. I remember drawing a staff on my music folder in kindergarten, the teacher was so impressed she had me travel around the school to other classroom teachers to show them. It’s kind of embarrassing now that I think about it. At the beginning of each month, I was excused from classwork to draw and decorate the calendar on the blackboard, probably explains why I’m such a bad speller. I also had a keen interest in astronomy in my early teens, I would often set my alarm and get up in the middle of a freezing winter night and drag my telescope out to witness some double star or the moons of Jupiter. Maybe that’s why I like doing nocturnal paintings so much. My interest in astronomy led to and interest in photography which in turn influenced my art. When I was fourteen I sold my stamp collection to buy an enlarger to use in the darkroom my brother and I built in the attic. In eleventh grade my mother enrolled me in the Famous Artist School correspondence course that was started by twelve well known illustrators including Norman Rockwell. It took me about three years to complete the course. It provided an excellent foundation for the understanding of all the principles of drawing, color, design and composition. I believe it is still available today although the name may have changed.