As a youngster growing up in Nebraska, I remember drawing lots of planes, trains, and automobiles. This limited range of subjects resulted from (1) watching John Wayne, et al, flying fighters and bombers against the Axis in WWII; (2) being the son of a time keeper for the Pacific Fruit Express, a division of the Union Pacific Railroad which we rode across the county on "passes"; and (3) reading Hot Rod and Custom Car magazines daily. I enjoyed mixing colors in high school art class rather than painting. But I always kept busy with art.
My years at West Point included a course in Military Art and Engineering where my drawing skills were really put to the test. My professor in Military Art (a U.S. Air Force officer) bribed me to slow down on the engineering drawings (drawing three or four while classmates did one or two) by giving me European aviation magazine (Interavia) to take back to the barracks to read. My "leap" into serious art started in pilot training after I checked out a book on watercolor from the base library. Painting continued until the birth of two daughters which resulted in eights "dry" years. Sketching a giraffe from their Childcraft books triggered the leap. After ten o’clock nightly I would spend two to three hours sketching and painting. I painted mostly in watercolor since that is where I really started.
In the mid-90’s I broke down and tried oil painting, starting with a great realist teacher in the Atlanta area. I had resisted oil because I thought it took too long to dry and was "messy". I now know that I don’t want oil to dry quickly (I think that’s why acrylics are available), and I am a fairly non-messy painter.
Travels around the world in the U.S. Air Force and travels later as a civilian resulted in tons of photos for painting projects. I even held "soirees" at home to display my paintings and invited friends to share art, Starbucks ice cream, and cake. I started a World’s Great Cathedral Collection in the early years, and a Summers in Europe series after a flurry of trips to the continent. As you might guess, neither project is completed yet, and may never end. However, these projects resulted in "graduation" from pencil, pen and ink, watercolor, and dabbling in oil into new experiences that include colored pencil, acrylic, and pastel (soft and oil). Landscapes, seascapes, and mountains joined the planes, trains, automobiles, birds, animals, and architectural renderings as potential subject matter. These new areas are gradually moving me from a myopic realist to a more artistic experimenter with a more "loose" result. For years I was complimented on being so detailed in my work (I guess I thought I might be an illustrator akin to Parrish and Rockwell) – what a laugh!!
I recently joined the American Society of American Artists because I still have the aviator’s blood streaming through my veins. But like most artists, I begin to understand that there is a wide gap between photography (and digital images) to a drive to represent what my brain and heart see - rather than attempt to recreate the subject matter my eyes see. However, I can still be counted on to paint planes, trains, and automobiles.