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I am an artist specializing in portraits of people and wildlife in oil.
I am humbled and honored to be associated with two of the most prestigious organizations in my field:
As a signature member of Artists for Conservation (AFC) ,
and as a member of A Stroke of Genius (SOG) .
The Artists For Conservation is a non-profit, international organization dedicated to the celebration and preservation of the natural world. The foundation represents the world's leading collective of artists focused on nature and wildlife, with a membership limited to 500 artists and spanning five continents and twenty-seven countries. I donate 5% of any wildlife originals or limited prints to support The Missouri Prairie Foundation. Original and signed and numbered prints are available through my AFC site at www.natureartist.com.
A Stroke of Genius is a juried site and is the indisputed premier gallery on the web for portrait painters, representing only the finest professional portrait artists in America. I am honored to be included as a member of this very extraordinarily accomplished group.
A lifelong artist, I began painting professionally in 1994. While I have formally studied art, taking figure drawing and related courses at St. Louis University, the New School of Design in New York, and in various workshops through the years, my three degrees are in social work, urban studies and law. I began as a muralist. Not necessarily by choice, but because those that knew me and my artwork, kept asking me, and I enjoyed doing them on the side. What started innocently enough, began the commissions for well over a hundred murals in private residences, government buildings and churches. It was an excellent training ground for a guy who thought of himself more as a sculptor than a painter. Murals forced me to work quickly, in large freehand scale and become very inventive with color and technique. For the next 10 years or so, I did just that, drawing everything with sweeping free hand drawing and developed my paintings with layers of color, building depth and dimension with each pass. I have always been a representational artist, and focused always on depicting my scenes and subjects with a high degree of accuracy, regardless of the constraints of time or budget I was put under.
The final result was the development of a number of painting techniques and skills which caused me to wonder how they would translate to a smaller canvas with the added flexibility and luminousity of oils, and the grand luxury of the studio.
I started doing portraits for the sheer challenge of it. Properly capturing and relaying both the likeness and inherent nature of an inividual or animal is quite difficult to do well. Other than for skill development, I don't often do landscapes or still lifes. I prefer 'animate' lifes. Portraits of living, breathing and uniquely created people and animals is challenging, difficult, and when done correctly, immensely rewarding.
I approach my portraiture with a singular focus on the subject. My studies of the bluecrab and oyster in the gallery are focused on a stark portrayal of simple beauty, realized by the focus of truly studyng a thing in detail. Unlike some artistic approaches, I am rarely interested in dramatically changing, with color or otherwise, the beauty in the subject - I am interested in capturing and relaying the qualities already inherent in the subject. I see myself as a conduit not a filter, striving to identify what is important and communicating it - without twisting it in a way that suits only my preferences along the way.
I also strive to make each painting inherently beautiful in and of itself. I believe that the pure craftsmanship inherent in a hand-done oil painting should be a thing of beauty in and of itself. The 'art' is every bit as much in the physical creation, as it is in the handling of the subject matter. When technique and medium come together under the hand of an artisan, the painting itself should be like a fine piece of furniture.
I am happily married to a wonderful woman and have three delightful children. I am quite comfortable both in the personal and the corporate or professional portrait sector and have painted distinguished individuals in law, business, government, sports, education and the ministry.