My back pages


My back pages


I grew up in Skaneateles, NY where I was influenced by the beauty of the Finger Lakes and the surrounding country side. My first exposure to art was from seeing the landscape paintings of John Barrow in the Skaneatles Library at a very young age. While in first grade, my elementary principal noticed my talent for drawing and suggested to my parents that I be enrolled in the nearby Auburn Museum of Art's Saturday art classes for children. I attended these classes for about 4 years.After high school, I briefly attended the Art Institute of Pittsburg. I soon discovered that I enjoyed figure drawing, painting and art history but the rest of the courses were geared toward commercial art. Fearing that I would end up as a corporate drudge like the school administrators, I left after one semester. I enrolled at Syracuse University part time. I then became involved in the Vietnam anti-war movement , eventually doing campaign work for Gene McCarthy's 1968 presidential bid. Soon after that, my draft board, realizing that I was no longer in college, drafted me into the army. I served in Vietnam in a combat helicopter aviation group for one seemingly endless year. After leaving the army, I went on to complete my undergraduate degree at S.U. where I studied under Jerome Witkin and Gary Trento and received a Ford Foundation Grant for painting. After graduation, I worked as a free lance artist until I was offered a job as a staff artist with the Syracuse Newspapers. I worked there for over 14 years but I found that I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the limits of being an illustrator.Completing my Master's degree, I left the newspaper and taught art for over 12 years in area local schools.


B.F.A. in Studio Arts in Painting - Syracuse University

M.S. in Art Education - Syracuse University

Artist's statement

I believe that by embracing a realist or figurative approach to my art that I’m carrying on a great historical tradition of creating art to inform, narrate and express one’s own feelings and reactions of their own time and place in a specific cultural milieu.. Art isn’t created in a vacuum and often it’s a reaction to sociological, political and cultural events that an artist lives through at any given time. The problem that contemporary artists face is all the history of the various art movements that one has at their disposal. With so many “isms” at their disposal, today’s artists must possibly question even more profoundly their own personal vision and the means to express it. I’m mainly a “plein air” painter, painting on the spot rather than working from photographs. I find it challenging to work from nature with the changing light and weather conditions. I'm laoth to subsribe to any specific art movement as I enjoy not only figurative art but abstract as well. I respect Jackson Pollock and William Dekooning's works. Yet, I have great admiration for Edgar Degas who explored all sorts of media in his quest to express his creative vision. Some other favorite artists include Kathe Kollwitz, Lucian Freud, Lovis Corinth, John Singer Sargent and Camille Corot. Even though I've been painting for a number of years now, I feel that my "style" is still evolving from an earlier linear style to a more painterly style.I firmly believe that the "bones" of any art is sound draftmanship and  that I try to practice on a daily basis. Besides oils and drawing, I enjoy watercolors and other media such as pastels and mixed media. I also enjoy printmaking, especially etching, dry point and monotypes. Each media has it's own unique charms and challenges.


Primarily, my art is autobiographical. I have no interest in attempting to create a “pretty” sofa size picture for another person. The range of peoples’ aesthetic perceptions is too great in our culture and is something I have no inclination to fathom. It’s sometimes a stretch to understand one’s own feelings and to be true to my own goals. I try to be honest in showing what I feel is important so that others may pause and consider what I choose to paint. There is a bit of a “Zen” moment in much of what I paint that might ordinarily be thought of as trivial or not worthy of note or a second glance. Having lived through some of the true horrors of the late 20th century (assassinations and rumors of war, etc...) I wish to challenge what is deemed important by our media obsessed age and to still show wonderment and awe at what we may overlook in the mad rush of our daily lives.


As a Vietnam veteran, I hope to record my own search and come to terms with my experiences through the act of creating and seeking out places that give me a sense of peace and security in an increasingly insecure world. I painted a still life homage to veterans a few years ago on Veterans Day using my own uniform that I wore in Vietnam. I called this painting “Good Bye to All That” after Robert Graves World War 1 anti-war autobiography. At that time I held out the hope that I had “safely” put my own war experiences behind me. Unfortunately, recent events have proved otherwise. Many of the emotions that I experienced in Vietnam had suddenly come home to roost as a result of September 11th. Wishing to find some peace of mind, I painted a small landscape down by Otisco Lake in Central New York. This was my way of finding solace and trying to come to terms with that event by seeking out a place of peace and beauty. I plan on continuing to explore this theme in future paintings. I hope that others may enjoy my art and also find that same sense of peace that my painting affords me.

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