I have lived on Lookout Mountain for most of my life and still reside there.
61 years old. Married to Gail 45 years in December.
3 sons, 3 daughters-in-law, 7 wonderful grandchildren
Have loved realistic art as long as I can remember, as long as I've been able to hold a pencil.
Loved drawing especially after I started to school. Received my first oil paint set for Christmas at about age twelve. Learned foundational skills from Art Instruction Schools.
At two of my places of employment I maintained somewhat of a mini gallery of pencil caricatures of fellow employees on the indoor walls of the building we worked in.
Have in recent years taught myself to paint with acrylics and have learned to love them for their versatility and ease of clean-up.
I have experimented with various mediums since I became disabled. I've painted oil landscapes and still lifes, watercolors of diverse subjects, oil scenes on Christmas ornaments, pastel portraits and lanscapes (usually covered with portrait work around the holidays), and even have 6 or 7 murals in churches that I've done in oils. One of the murals is in the church that we used to attend on the mountain. It is a scene developed from photos that my wife made of Lula Lake Falls which is also on Lookout Mountain. It is 6' x 12' , and it's done in 24” x 36” sections.
My wife and I, along with my sister and brother-in-law attended the 2008 reenactment at Chickamauga. I had asked them to take me there for the sole purpose of making photos of the reenactors for reference material. I have long been fascinated with the history of the Civil War, the sufferings incurred, and the very fact that one of the largest battles of the war was fought here at our doorsteps.
We came away with a wide array of photos. I studied them for a few months and finally made my first painting of a group of charging Federal cavalrymen from these. I kept that on hand until the Christmas holiday season(2009) and then decided to give it to this brother-in-law who had taken me to the reenactment. My wife and I gave it to him at a restaurant in Chattanooga while we were all four (my sister and her husband and my wife and I) were waiting to be served. He set the unframed painting down on the bench beside himself to rest there while we ate. And, I was so pleasantly surprised to see all the patrons who came over to take a closer look that I came away inspired to do more Civil War related art.
Thus, I went back through and composed two pieces from my photo collection-"The Rock of Chickamauga" and "OL' Glory at Chickamauga".
In the Rock of Chickamauga piece, I also found public domain photos of the two key figures on the internet and reworked the faces of my models to resemble them (or that was at least my intention.)
I hope to sell my work on its own merit, and I am a little reluctant to mention my disablities.
However, if anyone sees me they will obviously note that I do have a few challenges. Therefore, for what its worth these are a few of those: I had to quit work in 1985 due to the arthritis which has slowed me down, and I have not walked since the summer of that year. My wife dresses me and puts me into bed and gets me up into my chair,bathes me, combs my hair, and almost every thing I need she has to put in front of me at close range for me to be able to deal with it. I have very little range of motion in my arms; that's the reason that these two pieces were painted on unstretched canvas---so that I could reach them handily for detail work.
My head is bowed over in a fixed position. I am legally blind in one eye due to a BB accident when I was a nine. I am, to a degree, color blind. Gail sets things out for me in the morning for me to work with during the day while she heads off for her full-time job,but she has to assist me so much that at one time I started signing her name to the pieces I had done. She quickly balked at that.
In regards to the BB accident, there is a bit of irony concerning that. First of all, as I've mentioned, Gail and I have been married for almost 45 years, and we were childhood “sweethearts”. We 've been in love for as long as I can remember, but especially since about five years of age.
When I was nine, my brother and I received BB guns for Christmas as did three of our very close boyhood friends. Well, boys being boys, during the holiday break from school that year the five of us all had our guns with us and all were visiting at our house with a few other friends, when “Civil War” broke out and soon we were all taking sides and firing heavily at one another. I had taken up a post just inside Dad's garage/storage building and was sending a barrage of bullets toward my sister's outdoor playhouse when, as fate would have it, I was struck in my left eye. That ended our little war as the majority of the boys scattered like wild animals, and the grown ups appeared to attend to my injury.
I never went to the doctor, but I did milk the situation for all it was worth. I've always been accused of being petted by my parents, but this is also where the irony concerning Gail ensues. She, being handily a close friend of my sister, and openly my girlfriend was there very much as I can remember her tending to and caring for me as we incorporated my recovery from my “Civil War” injury into our customary episodes of playing “house”.
And now in our real “house” she is the most loving and faithful caregiver that can be imagined
in seeing to my very real needs. God bless her for her diligence and humility in accepting her
role. She does so many things for me while I am trying to peddle “Civil War” prints,
and we are still playing “house” for real.
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