Saturday, January 13, 2007

The History of My Art

I first started painting in the 1970s, then life interrupted. I got married, (twice) had three children, worked as a reporter, as the Press Secretary for a US. Congressman, newspaper editor, public relations executive and chief information officer for the City and County of Honolulu.

Over the years, I traveled extensively, to some of the great art museums of the world. I've been to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam on two different trips. It was like going to heaven each time. I love discovering new paintings and painters, it's like finding treasure.

I was born in Coldwater, Michigan, and lived in the state for over 40 years. After living through countless brutal Michigan winters, my wife Anne and I decided it was time for a change. We packed up our daughters, Margaux and Chelsea, and moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, for six years. We discovered after a while, that 84 and sunny is not all it is cracked up to be, and wanted to go back to the, "real world." Leaving Hawaii in the late '90s, we moved to Colorado, in the foot hills, half way between Denver and Boulder. With the beautiful Front Range of the Colorado Rockies looming out the window, my thoughts drifted back again to painting and those first paintings in the 1970s.

I began in 1971, encouraged by my first wife Chris, who is a good artist. I really enjoyed doing it, but by late 1974, I had stopped painting. There was little room in the small house we lived in with our son Bob. I was very busy, first taking graduate school classes, then as the co-owner, with my best friend, Larry, of a weekly newspaper. My days and nights were filled with reporting and editing, and the paint supplies went into the garage. So did almost all of my paintings.

Two years later the local college had a juried art show, which featured paintings from the students and was also open to local artists.

My wife and my sister-in-law, Shirley, were art students, and they were putting pieces in the show, so I thought, what the hell, I might as well take my big painting, Waiting, which was hanging in our house, and I also went out in the garage and dug out another painting I really liked, Seated Nude.

Waiting, 1974,
45 X 55 inches,
oil on canvas

The nude had been tossed up in the top of the garage, and had spent three frigid Michigan winters in the rafters. It was covered in dust and needed some tender, loving, care. After a good cleaning, it was placed in the show.

Seated Nude, 1973
21 X 25 inches
oil on canvas.

The judge, an art professor from Detroit, wasted little time when he saw the painting. Standing in front of it, he turned to the local college art professor and told him, "It is vibrating with energy, and it draws you right in to that face."

He paused and then said, "This painting should be hanging in the Detroit Institute of Arts ."

The nude was named the best in the show and, the large canvas, Waiting, was second.

Well, unfortunately for me, Seated Nude, never has hung in the Detroit Institute of Arts, or any other museum. One can always hold out hope, however. Once again, because of space issues, it went back into the garage for awhile. It now resides on an honored wall in our house, where it should be.

Just recently, I dug out the old paint box (boy was it ever difficult to get the tops off those 25 year old tubes of paint) and started in again. I promise that my paint box will never go into the garage again.

To see some of my other older pieces go to my temporary art page. (I am in the process of building a more complete painting site.)

I will be adding my recent paintings as I get a chance.

No comments: