In the beginning – always a good place to start – before the
notion of pursuing art professionally had occurred to me, I began drawing
everything and anything, including people.Photographs in magazines and the ads in medical journals
served as models for my pencil, and occasional pen and ink drawings.It would be several years before
my fascination with architecture and the built environment developed.Once that took hold I abandoned all
other subjects, with the exception ofon the spot drawings during my emergency room years.Serious interest in barns and the rural
landscape came years later.
I would like to share with you some of those early drawings
from the 1970s.
The Violinist pencil
Hair pen and ink
I don't know why I completely abandoned people for places. Maybe this says something about a latent psychological temperament of mine.
First Snow is the 6th painting in this series dominated by the earth colors. It is the smallest in the series, measuring 12x24". The primary colors are Raw Umber and Titanium White, with touches of Red Oxide and Ultramarine Blue.
acrylic 12x24 on gallery wrapped canvas
The top of my head does not extend far above the
ground.At one time it towered
65.5 inches above the bottom of my feet, but that was before age began taking
its toll on my spinal column.I
was always small, and if it weren’t for Raffie Donato I would have been the
shortest kid in my class throughout elementary school.I still remember friends and relatives
telling my parents that I would soon “shoot up” during my pre-adolescent
years.Obviously that did not
happen and I accepted my height – or lack thereof - for what it was.
front row seated from right to left Raffie, Billy....
I don’t think of my self as a short person, (except when I’m
standing too close to a very tall person - then my tendency is to move away and
create some distance between us.) and with the rare exception of having a crush
on a girl who was much taller than me, it has not been an issue.In fact I have found some comfort in
the belief that shorter people tend to be healthier, and live longer than
taller people.I have no idea if
this is true, but I prefer my belief to remain uncontaminated by evidence.
Then we moved to Paducah. Oh the excitement of moving into
our new home.The large open rooms
with 12-foot ceilings and 2 ½ baths were pure delight after living in a small
bungalow with 7 ½ foot ceilings and one small bath - off the kitchen.Our new house was bright and airy and
filled with promises and dreams, and I loved it.I loved it a whole lot…until the first smoke detector began
its incessant beep, telling us the batteries need changing.“Ok”, I thought, I can do this;
unmindful of how my advancing age was affecting my relationship to heights,
which have never been a problem for me.I dragged out our six-foot stepladder. Set it up under the obnoxious
alarm, and began the ascent.Well
you would not believe my surprise when I reached the top, clinging on for dear
life, and discovered that the builders made a mistake.This ceiling was at least 18 feet high,
if not higher, and I was sure that gravity was just a heartbeat away from
pulling me down to that tiled floor below.A lesser man than me would have given up, but being the
tiger that I am, I persevered and actually managed to dismantle the alarm,
change the batteries, and replace it.Needless to say, my unequivocal love for our house became somewhat equivocal
and the first seeds of discontent with my stature were sowed.
I will spare you of my efforts to replace the bulbs in our
can lights recessed in the 18 foot ceiling