I was born and raised on the plains of central Montana, in the small city of Great Falls. I went to college at age 16 (after dropping out of high school) and ultimately got a BS degree in political science and psychology from the University of Oregon. After knocking about a bit I decided to become a lawyer. I received a law degree from Lewis and Clark Law School and became a trial lawyer for 31 years. I loved practicing trial craft and mastering the skills of rhetoric and persuasion, but always continued to be involved with the visual arts.
At age 55, my wife Sheila (to whom I’ve been married for over 30 years) indulged my passion and agreed to move to Florence, Italy. There, I attended the Florence Academy of Art for three years and completed it’s advanced drawing and painting programs. It is one of the premier schools in the world for the classical training of professional painters. It’s intense regimen was a boot camp of sorts, for those who wanted to master the crafts of the realist tradition. I owe a debt to it’s fine teachers who held my feet to the fire those many long hours in the studio. I’m doing my best to continue to refine my craft. I have a sign up in my studio that says “Get to Work & Have Fun”.
Although my training has almost all been from teachers from the realist tradition, I do not hold a fundamentalist view about it’s necessity to produce compelling art. I do however, think that all artists who make images, are obliged to learn their craft well. Like the fine arts of music and writing, the mastery of the traditions of the “craft” significantly enhances an artist’s ability to express herself and the perhaps the depth she can communicate to her audience.
Any of the “10,000 joys or 10,000 sorrows” of life are legitimate themes for an artist if approached with honesty and compassion. In my figurative work I’m drawn to images that depict those instances where dignity and resilience of the human spirit can be seen despite the fact that it can be at times, difficult to be a human being. In urban or natural landscapes, I am attracted to images which are beautiful but also imply a mystery or second story. Growing up in the West I have always been aware that the beauty of nature has an echo of brutal power.
Education and Training:
University of Oregon: B.S. Political Science and Psychology 1976
Lewis and Clark Law School: Juris Doctorate 1980
Florence Academy of Art: 2011-14. Certificate for advanced drawing and painting.
Daneila Astone, Per Elof Nisson Ricklund and Zack Kramer; Plein air workshop: 2012
John Rawlings; Master figure drawing workshops and classes:
Michael Grimaldi: Figure drawing workshop: Santa Fe 2008
Ted Seth Jacobs: Figure drawing intensive: 2007
Mark Kang- O’Higgins: Expressive figure drawing workshop 2006 Joe Paquet: Plein air painting workshop 2015