Hometown: Ely, MN
Residence: Duluth, MN
Born: November 12, 1947
Marital Status: Married to Amy since 1977
Occupation: Full time marine / wildlife artist, retired from teaching high school art at Superior High School in Superior, WI in June, 2002 after 32 years
Education: Graduated from Ely Memorial High School in June 1966, Graduated from Ely Junior College in June 1968, Graduated from University of Minnesota-Duluth in June 1970 majoring in art education, minoring in art history, Graduate work at University of Wisconsin-Superior.
Preferred Mediums: Watercolor is my strength and all time favorite, but I also work in acrylics, pencil, pen & ink and scratchboard.
Preferred Subject Matter: Prior to the late 1960s, preferred subject matter was wildlife, and to some degree it still is. As of late, however, more and of my subjects are marine, capturing the maritime vessel traffic of the Duluth-Superior Harbor. Due to the abundance of waterfowl in the area, I've begun to include them in the marine paintings. Other subjects have been trains, lake cabins and pure landscape.
Hobbies and Interests (other than art) : Hunting, fishing, camping, walking, reading, and traveling.
All of my artwork, be it paintings or drawings, are creations of actual experiences I have been fortunate to witness. I consider it a real tribute to my work to have viewers comment that "I've been there!" or "I wish I could've been there!" My art is a representation of the marine and wildlife art of the Great Lakes region and to be recognized as a regional artist has always been one of my dreams.
Of paramount importance to young artists (experienced artists as well) is encouragement. People have encouraged me throughout my career, from my parents supplying me with art materials to my high school art teacher, Mr. Keith Morehouse, inspiring me to do something with my artistic talent.
During my years as an art teacher, I've tried to pass on those acquired skills and encouragement that Mr. Morehouse instilled in me onto my own students. Teaching high school students for 32 years made me aware that almost everyone has some degree of artistic talent, some just possessing greater doses of it than others. Only a very small percentage have no talent at all. I often recall telling my students that to have this talent, this gift, and not develop it should be punishable by no less than 5 years of being forced to watch oil paint dry.
While in college, I learned to use acrylics and oils to the fullest degree, later passing these skills onto my own high school students. But something more was needed. Mr. Morehouse, years before, introduced me to the wonders of watercolors, encouraging me to explore them further. The teaching of watercolors in colleges at that time was almost non-existent. So, when I began my own teaching career, I taught and learned watercolors along with my students, trial and error method. I'm not greedy person, any "secrets" or tricks I've come across through the years I've been willing to pass on to anyone that will listen. I always hoped that my students would then pass those art secrets, hints and shortcuts onto someone else. Most students, I found, were very eager to learn, while others did it grudgingly. Throughout those years we taught and learned together, what a great experience it was.
It was during those years while attending the University of Minnesota-Duluth that I met Ed Ruisi, a Duluth shipping agent. Well, Ed got me interested in the shipping industry, and I ended up doing paintings of a "saltie" (ocean-going vessel) and a "laker" (Great Lakes vessel) for him. I found that I had not only a deep interest in the maritime shipping industry but also had a deep desire to paint from it.
On the other hand, my interest to create from wildlife has always been with me. Growing up in northeastern Minnesota exposed me to numerous hunting and fishing experiences as it does to this day. So, encounters with wildlife were inevitable and to paint from those encounters was also inevitable. As influential as Ed Ruisi was in getting me interested in painting from the marine industry, Dave Larson of Olde Towne Galleries in Duluth pointed me in the direction of prints. As a gallery owner and master framer, Dave was familiar with my work when I was doing only originals. By getting into the print business, I have been able to supply artwork to those that can ill afford originals, adding a new dimension to my work.
Creating through the artistic process has it's immeasurable benefits and "highs" as any artist will attest to. On that somewhat same line of thought, I strongly feel that one of the greatest compliments any artist can receive from a patron is to have their art work displayed by that patron. Anytime I sell my artwork I am humbled, from that day that I sold my very first painting to the present day, feeling a sense of honor to have my work hanging on the walls of someone's home or office. Of particular pride is knowing that I have my marine paintings in the corporate boardrooms of 3 Great Lakes shipping companies out east.