Why I Paint:

Back in the early 90’s, I was at the tail end of a dream on fire; a dream that was crashing and burning.  The rock’n’roll dream where many a young person has been thrashed.  The band I was in was on our final tour though we were unaware at the time.  We thought a tour up the east coast would be an excellent idea, but we were imploding.  Blaming each other for our lack of success.  

We were on day five of an unbelievably long two week tour and had arrived in DC.  It was late January, cold, and snowing.  We had some time to kill and thought we’d head to the Smithsonian for some sights and some warmth.  I was in no mood for the snowball fight that broke out and quickly ducked into the National Gallery.  Wasn’t really looking for anything in particular, just started wandering through the galleries trying to find something to take my mind off the unpleasant trip I was on.  And it was there that I first laid eyes on one of the huge canvasses by Albert Bierstadt.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  I had never taken the time to study a painting before.  It was massive (or so I remember), and I couldn’t get over the light coming from the canvas.  I didn’t know paint could sparkle like that.   And there were others as well.  (I assume I had stumbled into a show of the Hudson River School, but at the time had no idea what that was.)  I wandered through the galleries totally absorbed in what I was seeing.  Do you know what it’s like to stand before a painting and lose yourself in it?  It’s magical.  You can lose track of time, forget your feet hurt; even forget who you are with.  Of course I’d seen lots of paintings before, but this was the first time I think I chose to embrace what was before me and just be with it. 

It took a few years before I picked up any paint brushes, but I’ll never forget that feeling of seeing those paintings.  I hope that my work can touch others in the way I was touched that day.  I needed those paintings at that time in my life.  The trip was miserable; the art was fantastic!   Those paintings restored my faith in the creative spirit.  I have stepped away from the music a good bit.  I still love it.  I’ve just found another way to express my artistry.