Then What Are We Fighting For?

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I fell in love with oils the first time I tried them. I might have fallen in love with any medium at the time, I was 12 and had never worked with anything other than crayons. Oils made me feel like an adult, making my art more important in my mind. Mike Spencer, my barber, gave me a set of oils, brushes, canvas, easel and a paint box. He liked my drawings of cowboys and thought I might like to be an artist.

My love of oils has grown and my understanding of them has developed over the years. I experiment with them continuously. My style changes from time to time because of how I want the paint to appear on my canvas. My style even changes as I work on a single painting. The figure or figures may be in one style while what is around them is more a mosaic of colorful short brush strokes. It is a challenge to make such works appear harmonious. For me, it is a matter of creating something beautiful, something that can bring peace to those who take the time to look at my work. The brushwork adds to the interest of each piece, as do the colors I choose for things I place with my figures. I love hearing from people who appreciate my work; they usually comment on the different aspects of a piece.

There are no messages hidden in my work other than there are still beautiful places and people in the world. I am quite aware there are terrible things going on all over the world these days – at 70 I remember there have been terrible things going on all the time. I see my job as reminding people there is still good out there, every paint stroke is for me helping people see the world is not all bad. I appreciate my fellow artists who carry messages in their work that the world needs help. I want to help those who deal with the problems of the world with my reminders of why they are doing what they do. Winston Churchill said, when asked if art should be put on hold during the war, said “then what are we fighting for? “

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