For the next thirty years I was too busy holding a job, raising a family, and volunteering in the community to get back to art. Then, in 1999, I met the artist George Tarr of West Orange, New Jersey. George invited me to accompany him to the weekly Essex County sponsored life-drawing sessions. George was the inspiration that got me back into art.
After retiring from Montclair State University, New Jersey, in 2003, my wife and I lived in Victoria, British Columbia where I began drawing classes with Bill Porteous. In 2007 we moved to Portland, Oregon, and I enrolled in studio painting courses at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA). This is where I met artist/instructor Jef Gunn and began studying privately with him. Jef continues to be my art mentor.
In June 2010, I had my first solo exhibit of oil paintings. Preparing for this show depleted my energies. I was back in the studio not knowing what to do next. I had been reading biographies of painters and learned that many of them also did watercoloring to complement their regular painting. Some reverted to watercoloring when they were stumped and felt the need to move in another direction. An example is Pissarro’s suggestion to Signac, when Signac’s close friend Seurat died, “I recommend watercolour to you; it is delicate and very practical. In a few minutes you can take notes you could get in no other way, the fluidity of the sky, certain transparencies, a whole lot of little pieces of information that hours of work would never give you” (Francoise Cachin, Paul Signac, 1971, p. 77). Imagine Pissarro’s experiences with watercolor if he was able to give Signac such cogent advice ! This advice became an “aha” experience for me. I became obsessed with watercoloring. One of my watercolors was juried into the Northwest Watercolor Society (Seattle) for the Waterworks 2011 Exhibition. There were several more shows and the last, December 2013-January 2014, was a solo exhibit at the Hillsboro Cultural Arts Center, Oregon.
In late 2013, I returned to oils. My studio is in the Falcon Art Community in North Portland. Alexander Rokoff’s studio is in the same facility. Alexander teaches oil painting portraiture, and I am back at the easel again, learning from Alexander the nuances of mixing pigments and training the eye to observe exactness.
I draw and paint because these activities are expressions of my experiences in the world. It is the doing of these drawings and paintings that excites my imagination to explore the uncharted. Thus, I discover the capacities of an ever-evolving self.
Mrs. Stewart, my fourth grade teacher, noticed my drawing ability. That was the first time I became aware that I was good at it.
After graduating from Indiana University, I decided to take some drawing and painting studio courses at Evansville College. These courses tapped my soul. However, these studies were interrupted by a tour of duty in South Vietnam with the American Red Cross.
When I returned to the States in 1969 and started graduate studies at New York University, I knew I was in the midst of the art capital of the world and every day was Christmas–the gift-giving kind. Unfortunately, I had little time to practice art except for drawing and illustrating for special occasions.