“Drawing and painting have been constants in my life. There is a mysterious bond of learning and understanding between me and the subjects I’ve painted, and I’ve always felt compelled to respond to that connection.
My work is a distillation of many, many hours of observation. Looking at subjects deeply enough for painting them creates a bridge between me and what is out there, happening around me. Painting combines looking with thinking and feeling, and blends intuition with invention. It is work that allows me to completely focus on the things I care about. My paintings are stories of the things that draw me in.
Contact with two unique people gave me an early push toward the understanding of myself as an artist. I took formal instruction in oil painting as a 12-year-old with Ms. Grace Tinker, a woman of great earthiness and glamour who lived in my small hometown. The exotic clutter of materials and artifacts in her studio, the smells and colors, the dozens of landscape and still life paintings hung floor to ceiling; all spoke to me of a powerful and mysterious world of making art. This was a revelation. Another figure of inspiration was the great artist and curmudgeon, Thomas Hart Benton, who grew up in the small town where I was born. In his later years he often went fishing at a river near my school with one of my art professors, and would occasionally drop in on a class and tell simply amazing stories about Art & Life. He spoke about learning to make work that matters to you, and about how it can define the structure of the world you see.
My training was initially in illustration and design, and I began my career at Hallmark Cards then Brushcreek Creative Company in Kansas City. After relocating to a wild country place on a creek in the Missouri Ozarks, I began to work on my art alone.the work of my heart. Why do I paint? Because it is hopeful and because it is something I can do about the world. It is a way of savoring life.”