Meet the Artist
Tell us about your most recent piece of work. What is the inspiration behind it?
My most recent work is of an old, deserted house on a misty Tennessee Fall day. I see old buildings and wonder what stories they could tell. This was once a happy home and then again, perhaps not. If only it could speak, hence the title of the work; "Many Are the Tales I Could Tell."
Tell us a bit about the process
I always paint in the sky first as it sets the mood. In this case it is a grey wash that tinted the entire subject area. One might say the grayness reflects the loneliness this once grand house might feel if it had feelings. Also, the mistiness and muted colors might represent time that stretches into the past. Because the house will be the most complicated portion of the work, it will be painted last. Also, by completing everything else the structure can be set into the painting as if it were a jewel being placed in a setting.
What does creativity mean to you & what fuels it in your life and work?
People travel down roads and see something that attracts their eye-- maybe a pretty scene, maybe an old house that piques their curiosity. I am fortunate to be able to capture it in a painting. It is also very meaningful to bring a thought or view to life. That creativity is a keystone in my life. I worked with a fellow who won forty million dollars in the lottery. One day he told me he was purchasing a new home and might purchase some of my works (he never did), and I realized he had all of that money but could only buy the results of the talent I had been given. I wrote a little saying which along with others is mounted on my drawing board. It reads: "I may never become rich or famous because of my talent, nevertheless my life is enriched because of it."
Tell us about a time you felt discouraged or full of self doubt and how you moved past it?
At the moment my wife of 66 years is very ill, but when I am working on a painting the world and its problems disappear. God gave me the talent and my faith in Him and the use of the talent carries me through the rough times. I had painted a series of waterfalls which prompted another saying on the drawing board-- "The river of life never runs smooth, but beauty can be found even in the rough places."
What drew you to work in your medium and what continues to bring you back and sustain your ambition?
Many years ago when I began painting, watercolors were my choice. When acrylics became available, I enjoyed their versatility and use them much like the watercolors. Being waterproof they allow for transparent washes with less chance of lifting the color beneath.
Describe to us the feeling of being in your "flow" as an artist?
When I am painting I can see the work taking shape, the world vanishes, and I am at peace. I confess it also gives me a good feeling.
What was the best piece of advice you were given early on in your career as an artist?
I can not recall any special advice along the way. Perhaps that is why the techniques I use are unique to me and were developed through years of trial and error. No particular artist has influenced me. I just paint! Once for an important miniature show, I was asked to furnish a short artist statement. Mine was very short and is still relevant. "I saw it and liked it, painted it, and I hope you like it, too."
What are you passionate about outside of creating art? How does that passion influence your drive to create?
The passion of precision and accuracy necessary to paint the tiny works carries into many parts of my life. That passion is what fuels the desire to paint very detailed little works as they are far more challenging than larger works. I am grateful that even at 90 years of age I can still do what I love to do.