I’ve been able to draw likenesses of people or things since grade school, but art was never anything I enjoyed doing for any length of time and nothing I ever allowed myself to take seriously. In high school, it always meant assignments, year book, posters, etc., always with deadlines, and I constantly seemed to be in trouble for some unfinished work on my drawing board. Yet, it was something I wrestled with throughout my life, the fact I was “given this gift,” and not using it. “Good old Irish Catholic guilt” some people call it.
I went to college to become a priest but left that and got married, and into a career, 27 years in law enforcement. Twenty two of them as an FBI Agent, moving around the country. I’ve always been drawn to art – other’s art. Every city I’ve ever visited I’ve been in their art museum. I’ve gone through art books, even had a subscription to American Artist once.
I took a summer class, using mostly pastels when I was in college, then a few years later a watercolor class. I took a couple other single classes throughout the years. I never had a real place to work, it was impossible when raising kids.
Then two years ago, while house and animal setting for a friend in Eureka, IL, I began to see a strange beauty in the mostly flat Midwestern countryside, with our full range of seasons, and how different way things look at different times of the day. I was especially impressed by the stark contrast of the enormous grain elevator I would pass to and from my home in Peoria. Throw in the boredom of this solitary retreat, I decided to draw, then draw again, then paint this monster, emphasizing its contrast to the flat surroundings. Plus, it’s hard to make a grain elevator uglier than it already is. From there I rented a studio at the Contemporary Art Center, and even had a business card printed.