Here’s the scoop–I have been painting for several decades. Although I created my first gallery ready paintings around 1985, I made small oil paintings for years prior to that. And I’ve been writing almost as long—overseeing several small presses in the 1990’s as well. I’ve often combined my visual work with my written work. And sometimes I paint fictional characters…or scenes from my stories.
I worked full time for many years, spending nights and weekends writing and making art. I experimented with poetry, nonfiction, photography and a host of other creative ventures.
As the years passed, I accumulated a huge body of visual work, and my written work slowly began to grow, too.
My father became ill in February, 2011, and I retired from my day job to care for him. He died in July of that same year. After that, I once again began to exhibit my paintings. It was fun meeting other artists and mingling with them at galleries. I loved their energy and appreciated the time that they spent preparing for art shows. I networked with many talented painters, and have remained friends with them. I respect what they do immensely. I am thankful that my paintings have been shown at prestigious galleries in the area.
However, after spending several years doing local shows, I realized that I didn’t enjoy getting ready for exhibits, dropping off my work, and then later taking time to pick it up. And, while local galleries are important venues for artists, my over-sized symbolic work—lovers, nudes, sensual women–and figures that go hand-in-hand with the horror genre–are out of place most times. I am influenced by painters like Max Beckmann, Klimdt and a host of German Expressionists. I’ve been told on numerous occasions, “We’d like to show your landscape paintings…if you have any. Your figures are a bit too suggestive.” I have painted landscapes, making most of them in recent years–specifically to fit into area galleries. But I’m happiest rendering the human form. I’m pointing this out with no disrespect. We’re all on different paths and tastes vary.
However, as an artist, I can’t compromise my message and my expression, despite the kindness and friendship many local galleries and artists have offered me. In addition, I recognize more than ever that my visual and written work go together. And I’m most comfortable in the publishing world. I also love working and marketing my work from home.
I’ve been fortunate to have had novels, novellas, poetry collections and art collections published. I haven’t gotten rich from any of it, but my life has been richer. I am thankful for mentors who have helped me along the way, and for those who have supported me.
Painting is hard work, and so is writing. Visual work comes easy to me. But if I abandon writing for too long, it haunts me. Sometimes I throw up my hands and swear that I’ll never write again. Friends who know me well have learned to ignore me when I tell them that I just want to paint. But I have to do both. Many times, the pieces I conjure when working on my fiction get published as magazine cover art, or they accompany a poet’s words. And sometimes people buy the original paintings. My first poetry collection, Burial Plot in Sagittarius, was accompanied by my black and white mixed media pieces. Through the years my drawings or paintings have occasionally been paired with my writing. Recently, more of my paintings have been interior illustrations for my fiction—Lupo Mannaro (Night to Dawn Books), City at the Edge of the Earth (Midnight Town Media) and the soon to come novelette Journey from Talazia (Alban Lake). AND Alban Lake will be publishing a book of my art this year. And presently, my writing is taking a new direction. So that’s the scoop.
Painting—“The Devil’s Kiss”—1987