When I was a child, my parents didn’t approve of me being an artist, so I painted secretly on anything I could get my hands on—shopping bags, cardboard—anything.
My aunt bought me a paint-by -number set for my seventh birthday. It was my favorite present. When I finished the painting, I didn’t like the way it looked so I created my own painting and ignored the numbered areas. Later, I attended the Art Students’ League in NY and then majored in business administration in college. I ended up working in the financial field as a stockbroker for some 25 years. I painted whenever I could, but my passion for art often ended up on the back-burner while I supported my family. Still, I kept my love for painting safe in a treasured spot in my heart. Now, I guess you could say that I’m coming out of the closet as an artist! I’m painting again—this time with undivided attention—and it feels amazing. It feels right.
Landscape painting has always been my great love. I could stand in front of a Bierstadt or an Inness for 45 minutes without moving a muscle. (My wife can attest to that). I’m in awe of painters like Bierstadt, Inness, Cole, Thomas Hill, or Durand. These artists were masters at capturing Nature’s glorious moods. When I walk into my studio I’m always uplifted by the smell of linseed oil and linen canvas. Creating art springs from someplace deep inside you. Many times my inspirations will come from completing an oil sketch outside, where I might catch a glimpse of a moving cloud, or a flash of fall foliage near a pond that takes my breath away. Back in the studio I’m usually working on many paintings concurrently. I have found that trying to finish one painting at a time doesn’t work for me. I need to check in every few days with a fresh eye for my work, so sometimes it takes a long time before I’m satisfied with a painting.
I always start painting before dawn. When I’m painting outside I try to be prepared for any changing weather condition. I have found my most valued items are a mini umbrella attached to my French easel and a water bottle. Plein air painting is very challenging and quite a different and sensual event that all artists should experience.
Painting is at once experiential and tangible. This duality fascinates me. That I can feel something so viscerally and then translate it into something for others to see: a moment in time as I experienced it, caught, solidified in color and form. This amazes and delights me.
The subject of my landscapes is always simple, elemental: a mountain, a lake, a few trees. What appears to be unchanging, solid, and tangible is not. A blast of sunlight, a passing cloud, morning dew—all changes the scene in the breath of a moment. My artistic challenge has been to capture that moment on canvas. For me, painting becomes a silent prayer to the splendor of Nature in its myriad moments.