I started painting in 2009.
Before that, I had no notion of being any sort of graphic artist. I always wanted to write. Over the years, though, I discovered I was a lot better at straightforward exposition than I was at literature. Which stood me in good stead when I started doing technical writing in the 80s. And then I started playing with drawing software and discovered that being able to illustrate technical manuals as well as write them was a big selling point with my clients. And that was pretty much the extent of my graphic arts endeavors before 2009.
Early in that year, I found myself cooling my heels in an Aaron Brothers store while the staff corrected a mistake they had made mounting some posters my wife and I had purchased a couple of weeks earlier. I wandered up and down the aisles looking at (and, in some cases, smelling) all the paints and pastels and pencils and canvases and what not. It was a lot like being in the power-tool enclosure at OSH—I didn’t NEED any of this stuff. But I WANTED it.
Not long after that, I prevailed upon my long-time friend and even longer-time friend’s wife, life-long East Bay artist, Ramona Kennon, to give me an oil painting lesson. I looked forward to it eagerly. I expected to be an apt pupil.
I was terrible. I completely botched an attempt to paint some of the koi in our backyard pond. I found it incredibly frustrating.
And I spent an hour or two a day, over the next few weeks, trying to make a passable painting of a fish. And when I’d done a fish I could stand, I did a more or less unrecognizable portrait of a friend from one of her facebook photos. Then I did a self portrait. And it was a little better. And after a while, I gradually had to admit that what had started out as an exercise in spite, and then become kind of a joke, was becoming a serious undertaking.
I won a couple of prizes at the county fair. I got accepted into a couple of shows. I became one of the artists in a local co-op gallery. I sold a few paintings to friends both real and virtual. I was hooked.
And then a “For Lease” sign went up on this little building that I walk by every day on my way to the Spreckels post office. So what was I supposed to do, NOT open a gallery in it?
I invite you to look through the sample paintings I’ve included below. (They include a couple of fairly recognizable koi.) If you like them, stop by and see me at the gallery. I’m there most afternoons. Call ahead, if you want to be sure.