I was born November 18, 1953 and lived briefly in Oquawka, IL before we moved to College Park Maryland, where my father taught and received his masters and doctorate in human development, part of the education department at the University of Maryland. My mother was (and still is) a pianist and teacher. I started painting when I was in Junior High school. I was no child prodigy that's for sure. One of my early works was my baseball glove and bat (Ball and Bat) painted on a piece of wooden panel with oil paint. I figured it would look better with a frame so I painted a frame using the wood panel. My first work was an accidental Trompe L'Oeil.
Ball and Bat (Oil on paneling)
Although I did take art in Junior High and High school, I wasn't a particularly good student. I did several class projects and generally got good grades. The main problem was I was unmotivated and in general rejected education as a game the adult culture foisted upon unassuming youth that really had little or no bearing on our future. To put it simply: I conformed to non-conformity.
My parents were supportive of artist and musical endeavors and perhaps they thought I had a glimmer of talent. I honestly didn't know. I remember my first acrylic was a copy of a Frederic Remington and I could tell that at least I could copy a painting and the result wasn't horrible.
I did an oil painting of a mountain goat (later I titled Aries) while still living in College Park then went to school at St. Mary's College in southern Maryland. Still lacking direction and motivation I excelled somewhat at sports, billiards (pocket pool), chess and table tennis (ping pong). I studied what I wanted academically which usually wasn't what I was supposed to study. I took art in college and was generally a poor student producing little or no significant work. Only my oil painting of shoes (Shoes- 1973) was of any seeming interest (it's still hanging at my parents house) and to my amazement was accepted into a National Gallery show in Easton, MD. Most of my college work is gone (given away or missing). I painted one or two interesting pieces including Battle of the Centaurs, a painting depicting me getting killed and pushed off a cliff.
After graduating from college I began working at Classic Products, a waterbed manufacturer, in Beltsville, MD. Although I did set a record for making 365 waterbeds in one day, I was eventually fired after organizing a union after being elected president of a Nationally Certified Union named SPEC (my own creation, we were not affiliated with the Garment Makers Union or anyone else for that matter!). At the time I was fired I was negotiating a multi-million dollar labor agreement with the company. Fortunately for the workers the agreement was never signed! My artwork, sporadic as always, produced little work of interest, I sold my only good work (who knows where it is now; probably used for a canvas awning) and except for Gran's Gull, a painting for my grandmother Swann, I accomplished nothing.
Then I made my first bold move in life- I decided was going to be a guitarist. I suddenly moved to South Carolina to escape the urban jungle and play guitar. I lived with and took care of my grandmother Matteson for my family (she had a stoke and was not all there at this point). I studied flamenco guitar and did some artwork. Convinced I could make money selling art I struggled doing horrific studies of ducks and lowcountry scenery. I got a couple of commissions and after floundering I decided to just play the guitar- something I was making money doing.
Eventually I decided if I was going to be a good guitarist I need to study with the best teacher in the world. So I moved to Winston-Salem NC to study classical guitar at North Carolina School of the Arts with Aaron Shearer. I helped Aaron write his last series of books (eventually published by Mel Bay) and was so immersed in classical guitar that I nearly drowned.
When I came up for air I realized I couldn't really compete with many of the talented students from across the glode that flocked to study with Shearer. I stopped studying at School of the Arts after one summer session and soon stopped studying with Aaron. At that point I was a successful teacher, married and President of the Piedmont Classical Guitar Society (PCGS). Somehow I developed the PCGS into one of the leading societies in the country. My artwork was severly lacking except for my grandious attempt to paint to large murals of Heaven and Hell both which remain unfinished but still show that my mind exceeded my ability.
To make a short story long, I decided to start painting again around 2006, suffered a midlife crisis (from which I hope I never recover), quit teaching guitar and left Winston-Salem, heading for the Mississippi River and my childhood stomping ground. To my amazement my paintings of Heaven and Hell were promptly displayed in the Oquawka Methodist Church. In Oquawka I continued my Bluegrass Series and started my Driftwood Series.
So now I've remarried, moved to Louisville, KY and in the midst of a terrible recession am determined to make a career as a musician, artist and writer. Yes, I am crazy! Or at least a stubborn dreamer. If I'm not successful... well at least I tried.