I began my adult life out of high school working any job I could get: store clerk, factory worker, quality control in a boat factory. It was always an art in one way or another, whether it was the care in assembling parts or polishing fiberglass to just the right sheen.
Like most young people at that age, I had no idea what I wanted or where I was going, I just knew there was something bigger and better in store for me. Or told myself so anyway.
In the early 80’s I decided to go to college and based on S.A.T. scores managed to secure several grants and scholarships to attend S.O.S.C. (now S.O.U., Southern Oregon University) for a B.F.A. degree in Art with a concentration in Lithography.
Life being what it is, and lofty dreams being what they are, I wound up in the print industry. I can say more but I won’t, it would be boring and verbose and all that needs to be said is that life swept me away, swept me away for 35 years to be exact, away to a life of responsibility and baby diapers and all the things one has to do to live the American Dream. You know, the one you have to be asleep to believe. My muses stopped visiting me.
One day in 2012 I looked down at my old watercolor tackle box on the second shelf next to my computer. It occurred to me I had always kept it handy, always within an arm’s reach, but hadn’t touched it in 35 years.
Even for me, that is a stupidly long time.
I dusted the top off, opened it, and with fond nostalgia picked up the tubes of Windsor and Cotman, most still soft after 35 years, the sable brushes stroked my fingers like a long lost lover, an adult child and life of logical decisions between us. I pulled out the mix trays, and it hit me, what happened to us? How did we part ways? Why did we part ways?
When you get older, you tend to see through your own bullshit. The answer was clear. When I was younger, I wanted to be an artist for all the wrong reasons, the same reasons I wanted to be a rock star or rich or a drug kingpin or whatever. It was all ego.
The day I opened that tackle box, a revelation came to me. This time, you get to do it for all the right reasons. Because it calls you. Because it wants you, not because you want something from it. Because there has always been that itch inside you you can’t scratch, that feeling that you need to be in other worlds than these,* that all your scurrying across this planet in the name of responsibility is not what you’re supposed to be doing. Because there is no one to impress, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about your art, because it is what you need to do and don’t expect anything from it other than what you put in.
So I began, and other than the painful exercise of building this site, haven’t stopped, and don’t plan to.
Those of you that have bothered to read this, I hope you find something here that touches you.
I paint because I need to.