My first art teacher was my dad, who painted watercolors from the early 1960s to the ’90s. Growing up, when one of us kids said we were bored, Dad would say, “paint me a picture.” I would sit down with him and paint, then complain that my painting was inferior to his. He would say, “No way, you’re better than me.” It’s no joke. He was referring to the creative impulse we all possessed as a child before the inner critic is born. Mine was already on my shoulder, but he brushed it aside for me enough that painting has remained a lifetime love. Maybe the only reason I never tried it as a profession was the fact that it had been with me since childhood. I was hungry for the things I had yet to try.
In primary school and college, various teachers helped improve my painting and drawing skills, including John Mendoza and Orlin Helgoe. I went on to major in ceramics, and then worked full-time in woodworking and jewelry, before reconnecting with painting. I have already posted about the Homages that I painted when we first moved to Santa Fe. The history of art is like a sacred text to me.
There was so much gallery space devoted to painting, in Santa Fe, so many museum walls, so many booths at art fairs dedicated to the medium, one might say it had the effect of calling me off the sidelines and in to the game, so to speak. Still, it did not draw me to it as a potential profession. I viewed my orientation with it, then and now, as a foundation for other 2D, 3D and HD work.
I have already written about my life drawing experience, as well as my experiments with making homages to old masters. In terms of materials and process, they were the prelude to this series of impressionist outdoor scenes on canvas. These early works were the result of coming into contact with a living master who’d been painting the southwest full-time for 30 years.
Rod Hubble is incredibly learned, creative and possessed of the skills that decades of making a living with his art, naturally bestow. He’s a gracious, humorous, big-hearted man, which makes him a splendid art teacher as well as a treasured friend. Rod’s work hangs in almost every room of our house. Rod is an expert at painting outdoors and to look at one of his pictures, transports one to an intimate moment with nature. Working mostly outdoors, Rod tutored both Phoenix and I for two years. It was a rare and rich immersion in the art technique and style that he has honed for a lifetime. This entire gallery is oil-on-linen, which I had never ventured into until then. With one or two exceptions, this was all begun and finished during sessions in which Rod was tutoring.