Two things have always dominated my life – a passion to create, and a love of the outdoors.
I grew up in rural Long Island, New York, exploring the surrounding woodlands and developing a curiosity for the natural world. That curiosity stuck with me as I grew older and eventually led to college degrees in biology and marine science.
Also from a very early age, I loved to create, and drawing became a regular part of my life. I probably inherited that trait from my dad, who was a skilled craftsman and artist. I remember watching him often as he took a blank canvas and transformed it into a beautiful landscape in oils, or sketch figures onto a sheet of watercolor paper, developing it into a social gathering of eighteenth century aristocrats. The holidays were often particularly exciting because he’d build elaborate displays that we hung on the side of our home for all the neighbors to see. I was thrilled to get the opportunity to help him by painting the carolers that eventually stood in the floodlights on a snowy Christmas Eve.
It was during those days that, after watching my dad create beautiful images from apparently nothing, I began to take up the pencil myself. It was deeply satisfying to create something that was visually appealing. My fascination with nature greatly influenced the type of drawings I produced. Although the subject matter ranged widely, many tended toward the technical. In high school I loved biology and made elaborate and detailed drawings of many of the critters we studied. College biology was no different, for it offered me the opportunity to study animal anatomy and make detailed anatomical drawings. While studying for my own Bachelor’s Degree in biology, I was hired by others to illustrate their scientific papers.
After college I spent a brief time as a technical illustrator, producing block diagrams and flow charts. Needless to say, the work took little imagination and I found the work exceedingly restrictive. I still longed for the outdoors and for more freedom to create. As so often happens, fate intervened and, after being drafted into the armed services, I spent three years in the navy on a naval air station in New Orleans. While there, however, the creative spirit within stirred, and I found myself taking up brush and pencil again, this time to paint portraits of local residents.
At the end of my tour of active duty I was faced with a tough decision. Did I want to pursue a career in art or go back to science? Although my heart said art, my analytical side convinced me to build on my science background, and I went back to college and earned a degree in marine science. Fate, however, was to step once again.
After moving to Florida in search of employment in the marine sciences, a chance and very serendipitous meeting provided me with the opportunity of a lifetime. I was offered a position as Head Gardener of a large country estate in north central Florida. There, I was to fortunate enough to be able to combine my love of nature with my passion for creativity, and I began to design, install and maintain gardens, and did so for the next thirty two years.
My work allowed me to travel frequently and it was through those travels that I discovered the wealth of beautiful gardens and incredible natural beauty in the Southeast United States. I took countless photos and committed to memory as much of that beauty as I could, hoping to use those images and the emotions they created to improve the gardens I loved and worked in.
Many years later, as I neared retirement, the passion to create was still everpresent and I contemplated satisfying that passion by painting scenes of both natural and man made beauty. I resolved to paint natural landscapes and gardens – attempting to put as much realism into my work as possible while retaining a painted quality.
So, I’ve done just that.
Although my range of subjects is varied, I specialize in landscapes, portraits and botanicals. My medium of choice is colored pencil. It is a meticulous medium, requiring large expenditures of time, but I find that colored pencil draws me into the world I am creating, exploring every detail and nuance, appreciating every aspect. I’ve recently begun to work with watercolor. It’s a medium I’ve always loved, for its flow and looseness and transparency. It complements colored pencil seamlessly.
My landscapes are of both man made and natural subjects. The man made landscapes – homes and the gardens associated with them – are meant to be personal. In my Architectural and Home Portrait Art I endeavor to capture the relationship of the site to its designer, builder, owner and caretaker.
My natural landscapes are of the undeveloped areas we often go to for solitude and reflection, recreation and excitement. The paintings often include wildlife, for they are an integral part of the natural world. I try to capture the feeling as well as the visual nature of the scene.
The botanicals that I create depict plants in their natural environments as well as cultivated plants in a garden settings.