About the Artist
I have many influences in my life that have been inspiration for my paintings and for the creative process. My early exposure to the arts can be attributed, for the most part to my mother, who took me to art museums at an early age, both in Cincinnati, near where we lived and also in New Orleans, where she was born. She also encouraged me to draw and paint from the age of 5, once she saw that I had a genuine interest in art. She was constantly sketching caricatures of family members and other people she knew and she often painted landscapes and rural scenes in oil as well.
I was influenced by her work, even though her style of painting and technique were dramatically and completely different from mine. I would draw and paint off and on during my childhood and teenage years, but the next real period of my development as an artist came when I pursued a career of Fine Arts in college. I took as many studio courses as possible, ranging from drawing and graphic design to oil painting and sculpture, and ceramics and silversmithing. I worked closely with my professors as well as graduate students, who were themselves, accomplished artists and who provided inspiration, insight and perspective as to what I might expect if I choose to live the life of an artist. In conjunction with the studio course I took, I also studied many course in Art History, ranging from the Ancient to the Renaissance and Baroque and continuing through the 19th Century. This also included the masters of the Impressionist and Post Impressionist period as well as the masters of the Modern era.
My favorite artists include Gaugin and Rousseau, Gustav Klimt, Vermeer, Magritte, Carravaggio, Georgia O'Keefe, Matisse, Rodin, Georges Seurat, Edward Hopper, Winslow Homer, Hokusai and the Japanese woodblock prints of the 19th Century. I was greatly influenced by so many different artists and I seemed to asssimilate whatever caracteristics about each artist I liked and would incorporate it into my own work in such a way that I developed my own distinctive style at a very early stage of my artistic development. Many of my professors at college and the graduate student artists, whom I came to know, commented on what a strong sense of style my work had and that same sense of my own specific and personal style continues in my current work as well.
When I lived in California, I was trying to find my way and my direction in my work, experimenting with landscapes in watercolor, pen and ink drawings on stretched canvas, trying alot of different approaches and different subject matter and really exploring and expanding my use of color. It was there in California where I first became a self-taught watercolorist, as I had only taken oil painting classes in college because the watercolor classes were always full and overbooked. It was also in California where I began using liquid watercolor as a medium, which I had never used before and because of the liquid nature of the medium as well as the technique of watercolor also being liquid by definition, it was a great way to break into the medium and a great way to explore many possibilities, as I continued to struggle to find my direction.
When I moved to Maui in 1986, everything changed and I began a new period of development in my work that let me know I was truly on the right track and that I just needed to put in the time and energy of producing a significant body of work. I became a very prolific artist, painting every day, working on as many as a dozen paintings at a time, which has since become my trademark or standard for working. Because of the nature of watercolor and how certain areas of the painting have to dry before continuing the work, paintings have to be set aside to dry. And while those paintings are drying, you can continue the creative impulses and process by painting additional pieces. As a result, I can start 10 or 12 new paintings on any given day and as they continue to progress and develop, it becomes very exciting to reach the point where I am about to complete 10 or 12 paintings at once. It might take several days or even a week to reach that point from the beginning, but when it happens it is quite rewarding. And of course as those paintings are approaching the point where they will soon reach completion, I begin a whole new set of paintings to continue the process all over again. This is why it is so easy to want to paint every day, because there is always something exciting in progress that needs my attention.
My early paintings on Maui were ocean scenes, waves, flowers, palm trees, jungle settings, sunsets, rainbows, sea life(whales, dolphins and turtles)
Then at some point many years later I was inspired to paint mermaids as a theme of most of my paintings at that time. Even though I had sold a number of my paintings during my time on Maui, it was when I started painting mermaids that my sales began to be much more consistent and often. The images of the mermaids were somewhat erotic and sensual by nature, so that could have been the appeal, because as I continued to make them more sensual and more erotic, the sales increased even more.
Mermaids are something I will always enjoy painting, evn though I am not currently painting them here in Southeast Asia. I am still painting sensual and erotic images but now I have simply replaced the images of mermaids with the images of Asian women instead. I am also fascinated with old decaying architecture so I am continually working on paintings of the old decaying Colonial French buildings all over Southeast Asia, as well as deacaying temples and ruins and old Chinese architecture.
My work will continue to develop and to evolve and I am always looking forward to the next exciting adventure of where my work will lead.