Born: Kansas City, Missouri
Style: Representational. Contemporary Fauve Expressionist. Landscape Painter. Colorist.
When did you first begin Painting: At ten my mother gave me a little kit of oil paints and I painted my first landscape, a beach scene replete with palm tree.
Art Education: Studied at the University of Kansas and the Kansas City Art Institute
Palette: Oil on Canvas. My palette has evolved over the last several years as I have experimented with brand names and various colors. I’m continually learning about painting and studying color relationships.
Painting Subject: Most of my paintings are painted on-site during various travels. Upon arriving in a new place, I spend a day or two seeing the sights, looking for the perfect painting spot. My preference is to portray a building or buildings, something man-made, set amidst the beauty of nature. I’m looking at color, light, composition, and the movement within the picture. I like a composition that draws you into the scene and that may have one or two secondary focal points which add depth and interest. In a way, I think maybe it gives you the feeling that nature is more approachable or accessible in a painting when man-made objects or figures are included in the landscape. I like painting on-site because of the personal connection to the setting and environment.
Painting Process: My paintings start with a cadmium red light base instead of a white canvas. Using a paint brush and ultramarine blue, I do a quick sketch of the scene that serves as a guide for the painting. In the final painting, if you look you can see some of the red background and early drawing lines still visible. I like how the red contrasts and makes all the colors more vibrant. As I paint, I stay pretty close to what I’m seeing and simply respond to the scene in front of me. As time allows, sometimes I’ll paint for a single day on-site, sometimes several days. I then finish my paintings from my photographs in the studio. Before I leave a site, I’ll take several photos with a zoom lens to get details, and shots of people who walk through the scene who I may add later. I particularly try to capture the sky, the water, the quality of the light while on site they lose something in a photograph.
Traveling with Paints: My oil paints and easel are in my checked luggage and my canvas has a special 4” wide hard case and is also checked. The largest canvas you can check is 24”x30”, and I’ve been traveling with four 22”x28”. Oil paints can take about five days to dry, so I’ve developed a couple techniques for traveling with wet canvas. I put the wet canvas face to face with another canvas with 2 headed pin spacers between and then bungee cord them together and I carry the canvas in a plastic bag rather than the case when I’m hiking to a painting spot or riding on a bus. On my last trip to St. John, I hiked 2 miles through the forest with paints and canvas to paint at an overlook of Cruz Bay. Another difficulty is that you are unable to fly with turpentine, which is a combustible, and so I have to find an art store upon arriving which is occasionally a challenge. In Playa del Carmen, Mexico, I’m still not sure what I was painting with my Spanish isn’t very good. The painting from that trip is called "Quinta Avenida".
Favorite Travel Locales: It’s hard to choose. For instance, I love every place I’ve ever painted a painting. Venice, Varenna, Capri, Amalfi, Cinque Terre, Rome in Italy. Villefranche, Paris in France. Monaco. Lausanne in Switzerland. Kauai. Playa del Carmen in Mexico. Laguna, San Diego, Santa Barbara in California. St. John and Tortola in the Virgin Islands. Rio de Janero, Ilhabela in Brazil. Capri and the Amalifi Coast. And many other places I have yet to visit.
Travel Stories: In Kauai, which is one of the most naturally beautiful places I have ever seen, I had some difficulty. I drove the entire island and though its unbelievably gorgeous, the buildings weren’t. I ended up painting “Anahola, Kauai” which is a little pink shack set against a beautiful hillside. I’d love to go back, search for my next painting, and hike more of the 11-mile trail on the north end of the island. In contrast, Varenna, Italy on Lake Como was a tiny little town packed with scene after scene I wanted to set up my easel to paint. I plan to go back and paint and paint. How about a painting workshop in Varenna? I was just there two days and chose to paint a scene right from my hotel balcony which I named “Varenna View”. Problems can arise while painting on site and not just from bugs and the wind blowing sand on your canvas. In the Tuileries in Paris, the police told my friend and I we weren’t allowed to paint in the park, that we needed a permit. Fortunately, we were just about finished for the day. I’m going back to the Gardens and this time I’m getting a permit.
Artistic Influences: In every city, I visit their Art Museums and Galleries. I love to see the paintings of the Impressionists and the Fauves. The Fauves, a group of French artists in the early 1900s, painted with brilliant, luminous colors expressing a joyful passion for life. My favorite artists from the Fauve movement include Andre Derain, Maurice Vlaminck, and Henri Matisse. When I was in the Mediterranean in 1999, I specifically took a train and boat to Saint Tropez to see the Musee de l'Annociade which has a large collection of Fauve paintings. It was wonderful to see. Of the Impressionists, I admire Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin, each having a unique use of color and expressive style. Lately, I've been studying the Expressionists and have enjoyed the paintings of Gabrielle Munter, Ernst Kirchner, August Macke and the early Wassily Kandinsky paintings. In 2008, I visited the Lenbachhaus in Munich to see their paintings.
Favorite Artwork by another Artist: Maurice De Vlaminck’s “Restaurant de la Machine”. George Braque’s “La Calenque, Overcast”. Paul Gauguin’s “Tahitian Landscape, 1893” and Vincent Van Gogh’s “Wheat Field with Cypresses”. Andre Derain’s “Three Trees at L’Estaque” and “Bend in the Road, L’Estaque”.
Contemporary Artist you admire: There are many I admire here are a few of the more colorful - Russ Vogt, Barbara Gurwitz, and Don Tiller
Artist you would like an hour of advice from: Van Gogh. Actually, I’d like to see his reaction when he understands the effect that his artwork has had on the world.
Art Books recommended: The Fauves by Jean Louis Ferrier; Art Marketing 101 by Constance Smith
Favorite Studio Music: There are 2600 songs in my iPod which I set to shuffle (a marvelous invention!). Artists including but not limited to Esthero, Enigma, Moby, Morcheeba, Alina Simone, Eleni Mandell, Massive Attack, 8mm, Quixotic, Jakalope, Dri, Brazilian Girls, Expassionates, Bob Marley, Nina Simone, In the Pines, Lights & Sirens, Lloyd Cole, the do. When painting on site, I listen to music by headphones it helps me concentrate and not hear people’s comments around me. It’s particularly helpful in a busy tourist spot like in Venice painting “Bridge of Sighs”. I started early in the morning when there were few people around, but there was a steady flow of people going by as the day progressed. It’s pretty amazing painting in Venice with the gondolas floating by in front of you. As the painting progresses, I become absorbed and don’t notice the people, the music, or anything else but the painting and the scene before me.
Pet Peeve: Pigeons overhead. Especially in Venice.
Favorite Authors: Janny Wurts, Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, Ayn Rand. I love the Fantasy genre (heros, characters w/ integrity; Good vs. Evil and Good always wins).
Creative Spark: A scene before me and a paint brush in hand. That’s all it takes.
Best Advice Received: “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”
Other Passions: Traveling. Friends & Family. Live Music. Reading Fantasy & other Fiction. Objectivism. Parks & Trails. Hiking. Writing a Book.
Question heard most often: How long does it take? The answer is I don’t really know, but each painting takes several days.
Mantra or Motto: Living each Moment. Remembering to be Thankful.
Career before Painting: Immediately after college, I trained with a Homebuilding Contractor; eventually, having my own Homebuilding and Design company. I enjoyed the challenge of designing a home to fit the needs of a particular site and family. But I never stopped painting and when I was able to in June 1999, I pursued painting full-time. I had made a promise to myself that at some point in time, I would paint full-time for a year and see what would happen with my Art. I’ve always thought of painting as a creatively cumulative process and I wanted to see how my artwork would progress.
First Art Sale: Figure study for $50. Declined to sell any other paintings until the March 2000 Art Opening.
Painting Price Range: $750 to $10,000
First Show: March 2000 - after a lot of thought about the business side of Art including presentation, frames, lighting, prints, business cards, etc, I had a show of the work I had been creating - 30 paintings on display at Shiraz. The response amazed me, and the sales were very encouraging. My year of painting extended to another year and then another and 70+ shows later I’m still painting and hope to do so forever.
Publications and Associations: "Kaleidoscope dreams", Kansas City Star, April 2000; Member, KANSAS CITY ARTIST COALITION; Member, FRIENDS OF ART-NELSON GALLERY; "Open Studios", KCAC Forum, January 2001; “Celebrating Color”, Kansas City Star, July 2002; “New Ashby-Hodge Show”, The Talon, Spring 2005; “CMU Exhibit to feature Kansas City Artist”, The Fayette Advertiser, May 2005; “Exhibit Opens Tuesday”, The Democrat Leader, May 2005; “Exhibition at Mango Tango”, St. Thomas Source, December, 2005; “The Scenic Route”, Present Magazine, September 2006; "Art Walk..", The Pitch, April 2007; "Tour to feature...", Sun Gazette, November 2007; "Have paintbrush, will travel", Urban Times, July 2008; "Celebrate Caribbean Color...", Virgin Island Daily News, December 2008; Painting "King's Wharf" on cover, St. Thomas This Week magazine, February 2009; "Colorful Paintings....", Sun Tribune, November 2009; Painting "St. Thomas Street Scene" on cover, St. Thomas This Week magazine, February 2010; "Fireside Committee" - The Independent Magazine, November 2010; Painting "Aphrodite Painting" on cover, St. Thomas This Week magazine, February 2011; "Paintbrush", The Pitch, July 2012; "Art from every Angle", Kansas City Star, December 2012
Art Workshops & Classes: Since the Spring of 2008, I've been teaching continuing education classes at the Kansas City Art Institute including Painting classes: "Painting: Color and Expressionism", "Figure Painting" and "Plein-Air Oil Painting" classes. I have also been teaching a Business class entitled "Selling your Artwork". In June 2014, I will be teaching a "Plein-Air Oil Painting" classe offered at KCAI.
Galleries and Shows: My paintings have been featured in art shows in a variety of venues including the Albrecht-Kemper Museum, the Ashby-Hodge Gallery, the Huntsman Gallery in Aspen, Colorado, the Wicker Wood Gallery on St. John, Gallery St. Thomas and the Mango Tango Gallery on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Anguilla International Art Festival.
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