I have always drawn. All kids draw but most stop as they get older. I never stopped.
As a child of the 50s, my first drawings were dramatic pictures of soldiers, bombers and things like that. I spent hours doing coloring books, always neatly and never straying outside the lines. Soon I was drawing proportionally and in perspective.
It was a short jump from coloring books to paint-by-number sets but I always knew I could do better. I started using some of the excess paint-by-number paints to work on my own pictures, which quickly turned into pestering my Dad to buy paints and canvas panels at a local paint store. I found great art books on the bargain tables of every bookstore, committing the great paintings of the Impressionists and Cezanne to memory. I had great art teachers and by high school I thought I was fairly good.
I didn’t paint during college but I picked it up afterwards. I painted some good stuff over the next few years but I found oil painting to be tedious and I could only finish a few successful projects a year. I needed more.
Silk screening seemed like a great idea with the added advantage of being able to produce multiple images. My Dad was a bit of a clever handyman and I inherited his knack for doing things, so the silk screening process had a lot of appeal – it was art plus mechanics. I signed up for a silk screening class (or so the course description said!), only to be told on the first day that “No, no, we only do etching here. Why don’t you give it a try…” So this is how I was reluctantly introduced to etching — certainly a happy accident and certainly a perfect medium for the way I think and do things.
I would like to give special thanks to:
- My third grade friend Marigold, who smiled when I drew pictures and always asked me to do more.
- Mr. Willard and his fabulous paint store in West Chester, with it’s neatly displayed rows of Grumbacher oils and art supplies.
- My high school teachers, Isabel Bly and Betty Wright, and to Ethel Regan, who bought pictures when I didn’t expect it.
- Joan McClure, who refused to let me walk out of my first silk screening, er, etching class.
- Tony Rosati at the Abington Art Center and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, a truly fine and patient teacher.
- Susan Land and Lorraine Reisenbach at the Artists’ House in Philadelphia.
- And especially, my wife Joyce and daughters Christine and Susan, for the unwavering love and support.