I have been painting portraits since 1996. This all began when my neighbors invited my wife, Faye, and me to go on a trip to New York City in April 1995. I had just commissioned a local artist to paint a portrait of my wife and two daughters. While in New York my wife and I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was at this museum, after viewing countless masterpieces that I decided that I would like to try painting a portrait when I returned home to Lafayette. The first painting I did was a portrait of my youngest daughter, Claire, holding our pet cat “CC”. The painting came out fairly nice. I knew I could do better with a little practice, so I painted a portrait of my wife Faye as my next project. I was very pleased with this painting and so were the neighbors (the ones who took us to New York)! They immediately asked me to paint a portrait of their daughter. Well, like the saying goes, “the rest is history”
I am basically a self-taught artist. I have had no formal art training prior to 1995 but I always loved doing things with my hands. (That is why I chose Dentistry as my Profession). I taught myself how to do Taxidermy during my junior high days and have mounted over 250 animals. My next hobby (obsession is more like it) began in the early 1980’s when I became interested in antique muzzle loading guns. I began studying books on building these guns and looked at photos of numerous antique guns. My interest was guns of the period of 1690 to 1770 including the Revolutionary War period. After building 16 guns I got busy with the job of “self contracting” our new home. During construction of our home I had no time for any of my hobbies. When the home was completed in 1992, I was too busy with my family and dental practice to continue with the gun building. It takes as many as 250 hours to complete one gun project! I began looking for a hobby that would allow more “instant” gratification and painting nicely filled that niche for me.
I have since taken portrait workshops at the renowned Art Students League of New York. I try to go to New York at least once or twice a year for a 3-5 day workshop on portrait painting. I have taken work shops with world renowned portrait artists Nelson Shanks and Everett Raymond Kinstler. I am also a “student” fan of John Howard Sanden who has written 6 books on portrait painting. John Singer Sargent (perhaps the greatest portrait artist of all time) has had the greatest influence on my direction in painting.
Dentistry has afforded me a wealth of knowledge of human anatomy that has been a great asset to my portrait painting. Spending most of my work day at my dental office about 14 inches from a patient’s face for the last 42 years now, has given me invaluable insight into facial anatomy. Not only do I look at teeth and gums, but I look at the lips, eyes, nose, and facial features of my patients. My dental practice focuses on cosmetic dental procedures. When designing a “smile makeover” for a dental patient I have to take the whole patient’s facial features into account. Dentistry and Portrait Painting complement each other very well and I hope to continue doing both for many years to come.
I am a charter member of “The Portrait Institute of New York” founded by John Howard Sanden. I am also a member of the “American Society of Portrait Artists” and the “Art Student’s League of New York”.