Becoming an Abstract Expressionist Painter
It is not enough to say that I was born in Texas, U.S.A. and to continue to recite details of my life’s journey. While you would know some facts, you would hardly have an understanding of me as an abstract expressionist. So, I have decided to share some facts that are important. From the beginning I was taught to appreciate life and to always treat it with care and respect. As a very young child I was taught how to sit, be still, be silent, to listen, and to observe with all my senses. I was taught to be acutely aware of my surroundings at all times, to pay attention to every detail, and to notice even the slightest change in temperature, movement, smell, or sound.
Work was valued, and adversity or setbacks were never cause to quit or to give up on attaining a goal. Assigned tasks were to be efficiently and accurately completed, even if I did not want to do them. Self discipline, honesty, and integrity were instilled. There was a time to work and a time to play.
Some of my first words were, “Why?” and “How does it work?” This quest for knowledge was cultivated. I was always encouraged to question, research, analyze, and to never be afraid to repeat the sequence. There were times when I would ask “What would it be like to be________? The blank would be filled in with anything from a tree, leaf, insect, rock etc. My questions were endless.
Color always captivated me. I was born with the ability to see values and intensities of colors, without knowing the proper nomenclature. While an undergraduate at Texas Tech University, I took a course in color and design that was rigorous and very instructive.
Music stirred something deep within me. At age 7 piano lessons began at my request, and continued for a few years. Participation in highly competitive team sports and other youth activities were helpful.
Much later in my life, I decided to learn the basics of oil painting and participated in weekly oil painting classes for a few months. In the mid 1990's I started to paint full time and began to sell my paintings in the local area. The focus for the next few years was on learning how to execute highly detailed oil paintings, both with brushes and with palette knives.
From time to time I painted abstracts. Having no specific training in painting abstracts, I simply did what came natural to me and made no effort to sell them. By early 2012 the desire to paint abstracts dominated. A fire that had started small had spread and burned brightly inside me. I became aware that I will paint abstracts until the day I die. The decision was made to submit abstracts for an upcoming international show in Las Vegas. My work was juried into the show, and the paintings were well received by both art critics and collectors. In retrospect, the international show in Las Vegas in December, 2012, marked the beginning of my career as an abstract expressionist painter.
Shortly after the Las Vegas show I received an invitation to submit a portfolio for a show at a gallery in New York City. I flew to New York for the opening of the show. While I was there, the gallery owner visited with me about my work. She said she had had some additional experts look my paintings, and that they all agreed that my work was superior quality abstract expressionism. Prior to that moment, I had never referred to my abstracts as abstract expressionism.
Sometime later, I came to the realization that I was born an abstract expressionist painter; I am an abstract expressionist; and I will always be an abstract expressionist painter. My paintings celebrate colors of the earth and natural rhythms. They reflect the poetic, the awareness of experience felt in spirit, and the unknowable in physical reality.