I consider myself a painter of American history and heritage. This task I have set for my work is fraught with self-imposed restraint. It must be believable and represent a true experience of life during the early development of this country. Therefore, I restrict my use of wild, eye-catching color, off the wall composition or most of those tricks that worked well during my 31 years as a successful commercial illustrator.
My love of drawing and putting scenes together began early, before grade school and it remains strong today. I did not really "paint" until attending the Art Center College of Design, now in Pasadena, CA. I would, as a child, occasionally wash color onto my pencil drawings but that was not painting.
My high school art class, in the small southern town of Oxford, North Carolina was very basic, but it reenforced my abilities and desire. Two years of general college, also in North Carolina, were preparatory education before going on to California. There, four years of training and a BPA set the foundation and course for the rest of my life.
The above-mentioned illustrator tricks were employed, of course, to grab attention, to make you focus instantly, and "get it" quickly. Today, this quick read approach is contrary to my goal. My objective now is that my paintings be studied and scrutinized for the narrative they portray. Still (without tricks) they must follow pleasing composition, color harmony, good drawing and value relations in order to be worthy of admiration. I paint historical scenes, but you may need to know something of early American frontier lifestyle in order to ponder my paintings better. I want you to linger a bit...maybe to experience a small portion of the life of America's forefathers.
My work has been labeled as and is exhibited with the Western Genre Painters, in that I paint the "West" of the 18th century (as America explored further west from the colonies). Because of this label, I enjoy inclusion in two noted invitational museum shows every year. The Autry Museum's Masters of the American West exhibition and the Eiteljorg Museum's Quest for the West. My work is displayed beside that of the best painters of this Western Genre, enabling me to receive an occasional award as well. Magazines have written articles about me and my work. I am blessed and very appreciative!
Because my paintings are extensively researched, they enjoy an additional status. These images are often used in documentary films, in books or articles about history, and in high schools and universities as visual reality to the written word. The original paintings hang in various museums and at historical sites as well as the homes and offices of numerous private collectors.
At this juncture, and after fifty years, my scheduled production has settled into doing 6 or 7 paintings for the museum shows each year with a few smaller pieces for a gallery and one major commissioned painting per year. Luckily there are several commissions already promised and research material being gathered.
I live in western Pennsylvania, the site of many 18th century events that shaped this Nation, with my lovely wife of 46 years, Noralee. We have five fantastic grandchildren from our son Bryan and wife Laura and from our daughter Megan and Michael.