Like so many artists I have known, my career path has not been a straight line. My undergraduate degree from William and Mary is in Commercial Art. After two years at the McCoy Advertising Agency in Washington DC I decided I wanted to teach art in public schools and after some fancy maneuvering I convinced a high school principal to take a gamble on me even though I had no credits in art education or fine arts. I loved my new career as a teacher. My next goal was to teach in college which meant going back to school in the summers at Catholic University to acquire an MFA degree. Although my main focus was then in printmaking, I became facinated with watercolor and began studying with Skip Lawrence and Edgar Whitney.
Composition, my major area of interest, led me to a teaching position in design at Prince George’s Community College where, in my second year, I became chairman of the Fine Arts Department. I continued my pursuit of watercolor by attending workshops as well as studying the books and paintings of watercolor artists whom I admired. In 1980 I began teaching private classes in watercolor which, for the next thirty years, has allowed me to conduct workshops across the United States as well as in Mexico and Europe. My continuing curiosity with composition led me to painting in oils and acrylics as I moved increasingly towards non objective painting which I have come to refer to as “music without lyrics.”
I recently moved from Santa Fe, NM to Shepherdstown West Virginia where I am concentrating on my portrait and landscape art in the Washington DC and Philadelphia areas. My background includes an art degree from the University of Maryland, former director of the Talbot County Visual Art Center and former owner of the Studio Gallery in Easton Maryland. I moved to Santa Fe after visiting many times and finding a plethora of inspiration among so much beautiful art, so many friendly people and such magnificent views.
I paint to learn. That makes each painting I do a challenge. Whether I am creating a landscape, portrait or still life the confrontation is never easy but always exciting. Taking into account the endless number of two-dimensional images on our computers, printed media, televisions, and cell phones, simply reporting visual facts isn’t enough for me. Instead, I focus on composition, expressiveness, translation and metaphor. Less is more so every stroke becomes important.
The first thing, I as the artist, must do is learn to see. Not the casual recognition of things but a step beyond that. It is a totally consuming task to really see what is “out there” and then to translate the experience into paint. Each painting I do brings me closer to my goals. Each painting teaches me something new. Each painting helps me grow as an artist. Like many artists, I am seldom satisfied with my work. I try to stay with the goals I have set for myself…to make the relationships of the shapes and colors, not just the reporting of facts, the focus of my work. And, for me, there is nothing more rewarding than looking at my finished painting and knowing that it is another step forward. Each day that I spend in my studio teaches me to take greater risks. The journey is endless. The rewards are many.