I was very interested in painting when I was in art school back in the 80's. But after graduation the need to make a living meant, if I wanted to at least stay in a related field, more graphic design than illustration and fine art. I had no idea how to go about making a living at that, and it wasn't something they taught you in school.
So for 15 years or so I focused on my career and family. Always wanting to pick up a brush, but always finding reasons not to. In 2002 I decided the best way to make myself paint was to maybe take a class at the local community college. I thought if I painted in calss, and someone was giving me assignments I would force my self to get back into it.
After six weeks of producing a lot of crap, I painted this picture of my twin children:
The Twins - Oil on canvas - 24" x 20"
They were about five years old here. Occasionaly they would still get out of their bed
s and want to sleep the way thay did when they were babies. At any rate, I thought it was an OK painting. Just OK. I was dissapointed that I had to do this from a photograph. To do the kind of painting I want to do, I need to work from life. I'll go into the reasons later.
Back to the timeline. A year or so went by and I let things slide. Always finding something else to do besides paint. So it was time for another class. I wanted to get better at drawing the figure from life so back to the community college I went. I actually had a pretty good teacher and I got a lot out of the class. Here are a couple of drawings that I produced at the time:
Female Nude - Pencil - 18" x 24"
Male Figure - Pencil - 18" x 24"
My Daughter Caitlin - Pencil - 9" x 12"
And then a big thing happened that changed the way I was looking at life. My mother died.
I had never had someone that close to me die before. When you lose someone in your immediate family circle it makes you realize how short our time on this earth is. And then it makes you question how you spend that time. So you would think that I would have gotten up every moring and started painting before I left for the office, huh? Or each night before going to bed?
Didn't happen. I dabbled here and there but nothing of any consequense magically came out of my brushes and landed on my canvases.
Two years went by and then it happened again. My wife's sister died at the very young age of 56 from cancer.
So now it's time to get serious. I have to make a living and raise my kids and try to get them through school and all that stuff. But I have to start devoting some time to this or before I know it, it will be too late.
My sister-in-law's funeral was on a Friday. The next day I woke up and started this painting:
Edisto Clouds - Oil on board 30" x 10" click to enlarge
I worked on it all day Saturday and all day Sunday. I had a few minor sessions with it in the following week, but the foundation was laid on those two days. The house was very quiet. We were all in a somber mood and I was left alone in the basement where I work. We had all retreated to different parts of the house to reflect or just try to absord what had happened.
I think my sister-in-law may have been with me helping out with this painting. I think it's the best thing I have done so far.