Portrait painting started everything for me. Early in my creative life, I loved to draw people. As a young adult, choosing a preferred medium from practices I had tried or been exposed to came to a grinding halt after seeing the paintings of Attila Richard Lukacs
. I chose painting and barely looked back. Coupled with Lukacs arresting figure paintings, it was exposure to Freida Kahlo, Francis Bacon, and others in a list longer than I’ll write, that drove me to figurative art. My friend Dave, also an artist, introduced me to the work of Willem De Kooning
whom he described as (I’m paraphrasing here) the ‘only figure painter worth looking at’. I was hooked. I took my first studio in Vancouver in the late 1990’s and had the opportunity to discuss art wth other artists – particularly painters. After moving to Toronto in 1999 I continued to explore figure paintings. I failed and learned and succeeded and adjusted and failed again and re-adjusted and learned. Eventually I moved away from figure painting as a sole subject matter, but continued with portraiture as an exercise in staying flexible. I started the Friends & Total Strangers as a means to record individuals in my life who have had some influence or meaning to me. Friends & Total Strangers is meant to be a lifetime commitment. A not-for-sale series. It’s truly an artist studio clutter collection for my self as I grow older and realize there is so much more to learn in life.