Art has been a part of my life, in varying degrees, for as long as I can remember. Mental images are still very clear of doing homework, then practicing the current music lesson, then, at last, having time to paint. In fact, there are pieces of music that to this day make me smell linseed oil – really – connections in my brain that have lasted these many decades.
My first art teacher was John Gnagy, a television artist with a pointy beard who taught the drawing of shape and form using shading. I remember using only charcoal back then. The interest he sparked made me keenly aware of postcards when the family travelled and I painted bears from Banff and old barns from the prairies – all on the very rough side of cheap Masonite since the smooth side had grooves.
Well, as for many, life happened and the pre-teen years morphed into college, family and career – painting was set aside for the ‘more important’ things of life; but the interest and desire never waned. For years I talked about picking up the brush again. My wife bought me supplies which languished. My grown children gifted me with oil sets which sat unopened. At retirement I dug through boxes to find those supplies and started painting again. With the help of YouTube I steadily regained both interest (quickly morphing into passion) and technique. Artists like Wilson Bickford, Marion Dutton, Kevin Hill, Jessica Henry and Andrew Tischler helped hone my skills and broaden my interests.
Then I discovered Mark Carder and was impressed by his interpretation of realism inspired by John Singer Sargent and others – it seemed I’d found my niche. I began looking at everything as a portrait, whether a landscape, a flower, the human form or a still life. My launch into realism had begun.
I began paying attention to the moods of nature and the colors radiating from a late evening sun, a full moon or early morning mists. Flowers and the beauty of individual elements of nature caught my attention and called out to be rendered in all their natural splendor. The human face beckoned me to paint it; to faithfully capture its full expression. All portraits; each with unique beauty.