A few days earlier, I had been greatly intrigued by a painting of a soaring bald eagle. I immediately set myself to express my interpretation of that great inspirational image which had been strongly etched into my mind. With copy paper and a set of three dollar watercolor paints from the craft section at Wal-Mart, my first masterpiece was more like a near disaster.
Somehow though, that gave me the desire to keep trying and work harder. Little did I know that just a mere two years later, I would be awarded with top honors in the very first contest I entered – the prestigious 2008 Illinois State Duck Stamp competition. That shocking achievement gave me the confidence boost, focus and passion I needed to pursue a career in art.
By the age of fourteen, I had set my sights on my career. While most kids my age dreamed of being NFL quarterbacks, rock stars and Hollywood actors, my dream was to capture the beauty and joy I found in God’s creation and let the whole world share in my experiences through my paintings. Still today, even after the awards and recognition, those experiences remain my focus and passion. I wake up each morning and count my many blessings for the tremendous opportunity to be able to do what I do and bring joy to all of my wonderful collectors.
I am completely self-taught, which was difficult since no one in my family had experience with painting and there were no professional artists to learn from in my small corner of the world. I spent years studying nature first hand and gathering hundreds of reference photos that I poured over, day and night, straining my eyes for even the tiniest details.
I work mostly in acrylic and oil but have also dabbled in watercolor and charcoal to keep my work fun. My style is extremely photo realistic but occasionally I enjoy taking the impressionistic approach. Most of the time, however, I love incorporating all of the tiny details. I believe it’s those details that pay proper tribute to the bountiful beauty and complexity of our natural world.
I also love creating custom works. Some of my best pieces have been commissioned works of art. Collectors of my work have often said they feel very blessed when they can own an original that I’ve painted just for them. It’s a very rewarding experience.
When I’m not creating custom work, I busily paint from imagination or memories of past experiences in the outdoors. Some of my paintings are a somewhat “utopia” scene. For instance, a scene in which all my favorite animals appear around the ideal lakeside cabin retreat to enjoy a perfect sunset. I find those works to be so fulfilling. They give us a chance to stop the hectic, busy lifestyle that we get caught up in and just sit down and soak in the many blessings God has given us.
While my journey as an artist has only just begun, I know that I wouldn’t have gotten this far if it hadn’t been for an amazing circle of family and many wonderful, supportive friends that have encouraged me and gave me confidence to keep on going. I attribute my success to a lot of very hard work and dedication, my family and friends, and to God for giving me the talent and strength to do what I do.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story. I hope you continue to come back and view my new works.
Thank you for your support and interest.