My life as an artist goes back many years. When I was just a boy, I knew I had a God-given gift of creativity. My father was a musician and singer and had an undeveloped visual art gift. My mother loved music and dance and had a flare for art in many ways. So many of my creative gifts were genetically and culturally instilled. I was also endowed with a very competitive nature which seemed to drive me to want to be the best I could be in whatever I was pursuing, especially in my creative ventures.
So with this almost lop-sided right brain, I began to discover all I could think about visual arts as a youth. I read books and articles on how to become a great artist. I learned somewhat intuitively about composition and negative space and the fundamentals of light and shadows at an early age. I studied the works of great artists such as Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Vermeer, and Wm Bouguereau. It opened my eyes to the world of these great Masters of technique, style, and design. The basics of drawing, layout, and color were hidden in these studies.
With this limited knowledge and passion, I began to draw horses, people, trucks, cars, and motorcycles. I saw that perspective and hues also brought dynamics to my work and that there was much more to becoming a great artist than just pencil lines on paper. I started exploring color as a young teenage kid. I remember having a bicycle that I must have painted at least twenty times with different colors and designs. One of my early mentors was a local sign painter in our little town. I rode my bike downtown to watch him work on windows and signs. He was also a very good muralist. He didn't know until many years later that I watched him work and how he influenced my art career.
My wife and I began raising a family during my twenties and a few years after college. I opened a sign and exhibit business and was also pursuing a music career at the time and traveled extensively throughout the United States, singing and recording in Nashville. It became more difficult to justify being on the road for long periods, so I curtailed my music career to spend more time with my family. This new change gave me more time to now pursue my visual art. I still divide my time between my music and art careers, two passions always battling for equal space.
Our children grew up with great careers and wonderful families. It was time to show the world the art I had been creating all these years. For about fifteen years, we did juried art shows throughout the US. I won my share of awards during this time which opened the opportunity to show my works in various galleries.
Today most of my work is done in my home studio. On occasion, I will do on-location murals on walls and vehicles. My main medium is oil on canvas or board. I also do watercolors and pencil sketches. The vehicle art I produce is usually done using an airbrush. My canvas paintings consist of various subject matter, including landscapes, waterscapes, wildlife, portraits, people, still life, architectural renderings, and inspirational art. My most recent project was compiling fifty of my watercolor paintings of the old Victorian homes in our area into a coffee table book. Along with photos of the homes is a brief history of each home.
Soon, I have plans to do more location Plein air paintings. I do my share of commissioned paintings which is an exciting part of my art career. I never know what lies ahead, but I always look forward to new challenges. Maybe that next canvas will be for your home or office.
The first time I saw and heard a guitar, I was about 5 years old. My father owned a restaurant, and he owned two flat-top guitars, a brown one and a blonde one. I was too young to remember what kind they were, but I do remember my dad playing them and singing while he played. It was like someone was molding the guitars and music around me, so memorable that I've never forgotten it. I knew I would play music someday, but I was unsure how and where. Most of my uncles and a lot of my friends were athletes and played a lot of baseballs, football, and a few other sports, including competitive weightlifting. I loved athletics and played with a very competitive spirit. In high school, I injured my knee, which required several surgeries. That was the end of my sports career. I look back now and believe it may have been God's providence.
I had taken a couple of years of guitar, and a few voice lessons and now thought more about my passion for music. I also had another passion burning within me at this time, and that was to be the best visual artist I could be. I drew constantly and learned color and composition as much as possible. Was I making my life more complicated by trying to balance these two God-given gifts? I still don't know the answer to that one. When I was 19 years old, I married my high school sweetheart and the love of my life. A couple of years later, our first daughter was born. Children are a life-changing experience, and my priorities have changed from being a career-seeking musician and artist to a husband and family man. We were blessed with two more children, a son and daughter, and now, 8 grandchildren. Life was good.
I've always believed you should live your passion in work and play if possible. To fulfill my passion for art and make a living for my family, I started a sign and exhibit company that allowed me to use my artistic abilities in various ways. What about the music? I didn't want to play in smoke-filled clubs, and singing at weddings took up my family time on weekends. During this same period, my wife and I became Christians and devoted more time to our church and community. God also inspired me to write some gospel songs that were well-received in Christian circles in the area. Let the music begin! That first year touring the country singing gospel music was such great fun. Our children could travel with us to many of the places I sang, almost a hundred gigs that year.
I learned so much about the music business and a bit about recording as well. My first recording in Nashville was selling well, and the offers kept coming in to sing and play my songs. A few years passed and a couple more albums, but it was getting more difficult being away from my family and all the activities my children were involved in. So I should get off the road so much. Hindsight is twenty-twenty, they say. I limited my singing gigs to spending more time with my wife and kids. Yeah, I look back and wonder what could have been, but I wouldn't trade those years with my family for any record deal or all the fame and money in the world.
My art developed into a full-time fine arts business with a few successes. Now I was writing more songs and learning about how to record. It was frustrating, and I wondered why I was even doing this after all these years. I know because I love it, and I was born to do it. So now I'm recording my tunes, doing fine arts, and fulfilling a passion that started when I was 5 years old, back in my father's restaurant many years ago.