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I didn't always want to be an artist. I wanted to be a park ranger or a stamp collector, or a world traveller. One day, I was sitting in a study hall and drawing a nine-panelled portrait in ball point pen. My balding old substitute teacher waltzed over and handed me a few pages of math problems to solve. "Art is worthless," he said.
That small phrase stuck with me, and it was that ordinary day that I decided to prove him wrong and create. I haven't looked back since.
Painting is many things. It is problem solving. It is peace, and a bit of chaos. It's staring at a blank canvas for hours before the first momentous stroke and it is showing the world that there is no right answer to every question. Art is a beautiful conundrum. But if there is one small word to describe what art means to me, that word is truth.
I paint because I must, and I really do enjoy it.
I've always loved making things with my hands - my grandfather and father taught me to use table saws and drill presses at a young age.
Some days I waste thinking about painting instead of actually working but generally a nice long walk around town or through the woods really resets my creative juices.
Music is a must while I work though, I can't work with podcasts or movies and silence just won't do either! I'll listen to anything from classical to blues to rock to random cds I buy from buskers I meet on my travels.
Almost every piece I paint starts with a fresh layer of French Ultramarine and I like to think that this is the soul of the painting - you can't see it in the end but it is the most important part of the painting.
After that, it is just about adding thin layers of high quality Williamsburg oil paint on top.
For the big block and grid portraits, I use gridded reference photos and play a sort of battleship to figure out what color or shape goes where on the canvas.
The highlight of my career so far has got to be unveiling my painting of Gil Seltzer (American architect) at the Utica AUD. Our local professional hockey team asked me to do a huge portrait for the opening of the newly created executive suites and the black curtain falling down from the piece was beautiful to watch.
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