I have been applying myself as an artist ever since I was six years old. I always knew what I wanted to do in life…and that was to draw and paint. I was born on a farm in Barclay Township about 9 miles southwest of Osage City, Osage County, Kansas on July 28, 1935. In my earliest years I lived in rural Kansas until my mother married again for the second time in 1945. She married an Army officer and that event changed my life forever. I became an “Army brat” and a whole new life opened-up. We traveled a lot and lived on various military installations. All the while, I drew and painted things that were important to my life at the time.
My art education and training has been a combination of self-taught art, high school, college, correspondence schools, and actual experience: Formal Art Training: Colorado Springs High School Art Classes; University of Colorado at Boulder; Colorado College, Colorado Springs, Colorado; Sacramento City College, Sacramento, California; Famous Artists School in Commercial Art, Illustration and Design, Westport, Connecticut On-the-Job Experience: Exhibits Specialist, Public Affairs Office, Sacramento Army Depot, Sacramento, California; Army National Guard Operating Activity Center, Edgewood, Maryland; Art Director/Vice President, Golden Graphics, Inc., Churchville, Maryland.
Following my retirement from Civil Service (Department of the Army) in October of 1990, I went through a period where I concentrated on doing watercolors exclusively, working from out of my home in Havre de Grace, Maryland. The themes were local points of interest. Among my most notable works of art are: A 2ft x 4ft acrylics painting on stretched canvas depicting the history of Sacramento, entitled Sacramento Perspective. This was a work commissioned by the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce in 1977, and offered as a gift from the people of Sacramento to President Jimmy Carter in March of 1977. It is now in the President Carter Presidential Library. A postcard was reproduced of this painting and was circulated in the Sacramento area for many years.
A series of 3 murals painted for the Sacramento Army Depot from 1976 to 1979. One was about the U.S. Army’s March Through History. The second one was about the Story of the Sacramento Army Depot. And the third, and final, one was about Sacramento Army Depot Missions. The depot closed down in March of 1995. When I returned to Sacramento from Maryland in December of 1995, I attempted to check the status of these murals, and unfortunately learned that they were missing…no one knew what happened to them. Indeed, they are still missing as of this date.
I was recently honored by the Sacramento Army Depot Reunions Association, at its annual Christmas Luncheon (December 2010), and recognized for my artistic contributions to the depot and also to the California military museums indicated below. A 4ft x 5ft painting/mural about California Military History, began in June of 2004 and completed January 15, 2008. This began at the request of a docent, Ron Starbuck, at the California State Military Museum, located in Old Sacramento, California. This painting was unveiled and dedicated June 5, 2009. I donated the “mural” to the museum as a gift, both for patriotic reasons and for personal exposure/recognition of my talents.
In 2005, I submitted a design idea to the California State Military Museum Director/Curator for a memorial to be dedicated to all military members from California who have given and continue to sacrifice their lives in the Global War on Terrorism since Sept 11, 2001. The idea was accepted and adopted, and the memorial of gray granite and black marble (with individual names etched in gold letters) is now a permanent fixture in the main lobby of the Military Museum, located in Old Sacramento. It was dedicated Sept 11, 2006.
And, finally, my most recent work of art is a commissioned portrait of Corporal Harold William Roberts, the namesake for Camp Roberts, Paso Robles, California. Corporal Roberts was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for saving his tank commander’s life at the expense of his own in October 1918 in the Argonne Offensive in France. This was done at the request of Gary McMaster, the Director/Curator of the Camp Roberts Historical Museum. Research began in August 2007, actual painting began in January 2008, and it was unveiled/dedicated August 23, 2008.
Currently, I am an artist without a studio, a situation I hope to rectify as soon as present personal circumstances change. Because of lack of adequate workspace for painting, I create much of my art right now on my iMac computer in the form of digital art, which is oftentimes a mix of freehand drawings scanned into my computer and then tweaked in one or more art applications such as Adobe Photoshop, ZeusDraw, and/or Broderbund PrintShop 2.
I have been blessed in marriage now for over 50 years to a beautiful California lady of Mexican descent, and because of our collective experience, I have become fondly and deeply immersed in Mexican culture. Indeed, Spanish has become my second language. I am often inspired by Mexican themes. Diego Rivera, the renowned Mexican muralist, is one of my heroes.
I do not subscribe to any particular school of art, per se, nor am intellectually constrained in any way. I enjoy painting an eclectic mix of subject matter in a variety of styles and techniques–whatever attracts my fancy, mood, and interest at any given moment. I have a background in fine art and commercial art, using both traditional and digital media.
Most of my life, I’ve been blessed with a day job, so I have never been forced to starve for my art–I enjoy eating too much, I guess. I attempt to capture subject matter from anywhere on the vast banquet table of life–moods, things, ideas, happenings, human conditions–interpreted either as abstractions or representational art. I feel I am a very passionate artist, but not an ideologue.
Other great artists I admire are: Norman Rockwell (the illustrator), Vincent van Gogh, and Pablo Picasso. At age 75, I hope I am fortunate enough to continue working as an artist for many more years yet to come. After all, Grandma Moses did not become famous until she was 80 years old. Picasso painted till he was 92 years of age. Well, I can be charged for many vices, but not for dreaming.