I grew up in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, a small river town about an hour southeast of St. Louis. Since there were no art supply stores nearby, my father, who worked as a grocery clerk, brought brown paper bags home for me to use as drawing paper. Using No. 2 pencils and ball-point pens, I worked obsessively without instruction to master representational drawing skills.
In high school, I created a wide variety of commissioned works, ranging from portraits and landscapes to lettering for campaign signs and car decorations. One of the murals I assisted with in downtown Ste. Genevieve still exists today. It has faded, but shows that I had promise as a representational painter from an early age.
After becoming valedictorian of Ste. Genevieve High School, I began my formal art education at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. I started as an architecture student, but my obsession with painting was so strong that I changed my major at the beginning of the second semester of my sophomore year. I received my undergraduate degree in drawing and painting in 1990 from Washington University on a full academic scholarship.
At the University of Georgia, I met my future wife, Michaela Oberlaender, in a Northern Renaissance art class. That course had an extensive impact on my life because it also introduced me to the narrative symbolism and the meticulous techniques of the Flemish masters that influence my work today. In my studio classes, I was encouraged to paint loosely and use oil paint, neither of which felt right to me, but it was an important stage in earning my Masters of Fine Art degree.
The fall after receiving my graduate degree, I began teaching art full-time at Gordon College in Barnesville, Georgia. In addition to teaching, I pursued corporate art commissions, regional juried shows, and had my first solo museum exhibition. While teaching was new and exciting, it was always a means for me to be able to paint.
In August 1997, while my wife was expecting our son, I moved my family to the Tampa Bay region to accept a teaching post at St. Petersburg College in Florida. I still teach full-time as an Associate Professor of Art on the Clearwater campus.
Late in 2019, I decided to work on using my art to make people smile and the Lame Ducks series was born. You can find out more here about Where Did the Ducks Come From?
If you have any questions, please email me at fineartfan @ hotmail.com or call my studio directly at (727) 942-9020 between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Take a look at the most recent Lame Ducks paintings here.
This video tells you why I started the Lame Ducks painting series:
Here I am with the person who commissioned my Biker Chick painting: