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     Although I drew incessantly as a child, I did not learn to paint until I attended St. Michael's college, and learned oil painting from my old friend and mentor, Lance Richbourg.   My very first painting (right, circa 1978) was, predictably, rather academic.  During those early years I searched for a painting style that best suited me.  I tried, then abandoned in quick succession, German Expressionism, Surrealism, Dada, and Pop Art.        Unlike my sleepy classmates in my 8:30am Art History classes, I paid close attention to all those slides of art through the ages.  I was searching for a style that could best express what I, as a young artist, had to say to the world.  After reading stacks of Art History books, and looking at hundreds of slides in those "art in the dark" classes, I found my "Art Heroes"..
       Being from a working class background myself, I could relate to Pieter Bruegel's droll paintings of peasants, and I enjoyed his subtle sense of humor.

   Because I was also hearing impaired, and suffer a variety of health problems, I was encouraged by Francisco Goya's struggles against adversity, and I shared his rather grim view of the human condition.   

    Honore Daumier showed me that I could be both a painter and a cartoonist, and that there was a place for caricature in "serious" art.

    I taught myself how to draw with pen and ink by carefully studying the drawings of the great illustrator Charles Dana Gibson. 

     The work of Edward Gorey appealed to both my love of the macabre and my fascination with the Victorian and Edwardian eras.  I also liked the fact that he would spend countless hours inking a drawing of an empty room.  One of my prized possessions is an autographed poster of his Gashleycrumb Tinies.

 

   I have been fascinated by the work of Robert Crumb ever since I caught a glimpse of his art on the famous Janice Joplin album when I was a lad.  I admire his diversity, and I can relate to his love of vintage Americana (I also collect old 78rpm records). It was from him that I got the idea to make myself the star of my own comic strip.

  
   But, as many reviewers of my work have pointed out over the years, the artist who has had the greatest influence on my art is the great Edward Hopper.  It was this painting by Hopper that made me want to be a painter.  Hopper and I are "kindred spirits".  Like him, I also want to learn, as he wrote, how to "paint sunshine on the side of a house". 
 

      I am interested in old houses, the remains of the Victorian world in our modern era, the passage of time, American "vernacular" architecture, blue collar life, county fairgrounds, daguerreotypes, antique books, colorful hot rod cars, the misery of the lonesome child, and the effects of light on various surfaces.  I like rich and saturated colors.   I am a "genre" painter, and a story teller, and I stubbornly cling to the 19th century notion that art should be narrative.   However, I leave it to the viewer to fill in the details of the stories behind my paintings.

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