Like a lot of artists, I started young. I remember drawing profiles of a friend and classmate when we were in kindergarten. And, when I was in first or second grade, my large color drawing of a palomino was displayed in the school hallway.
When I got to high school, I was thrilled to have many different media to work with and an excellent art teacher. (She had Vermeer’s The Milkmaid on the wall behind her.) I even got to learn airbrush, and won an award for a poster done in airbrush.
But, senior year, when I told my guidance counselor that I was thinking of going to art school after graduation, she said, “You look like you like to eat. Don’t go to art school.”
Being an easily influenced teenager, I enrolled in a local business college instead and majored in advertising. Then, after getting my degree and a trainee job at a New York ad agency, I decided to work as a copywriter, first a menswear catalog copywriter at Montgomery Ward, and after that, a writer for several different ad agencies in New York/New Jersey, and later, in Phoenix, Arizona. For most of those 35 years, I didn’t do any fine art and at work suppressed my ability to draw because it made the art directors nervous. However, I did continue to design and make things—a Wright-style desert home, furniture, lighting fixtures, and closer to retirement, sculptures based on Buckminster Fuller’s geometry.
Then, after retiring to Brookings in 1999, I also started painting again, mostly scenes from my favorite outdoor and hiking spots, rendered in a style that I like to call “graphic realism,” a style which I think results from my advertising background. But, occasionally, I paint something geometric or totally abstract.
And lately, due to a growing sensitivity to acrylic paints, I’ve been experimenting with casein paints, the ancient medium that’s made from milk protein. These newer casein paintings tend to be much smaller but still based on outdoor scenes.
I also still like to make sculptures based on Fuller’s geometry. Most are table-top size, but I also sometimes make bigger outdoor pieces. It’s taken me most of my life to figure this out: I just like to make things.