Hello and thank you for stopping by! I am a self-taught portrait artist with no formal art schooling. Born and raised in East Atlanta, Georgia, I learned by trying, doing, and trying some more.
The story of how I became a portrait artist is kind of funny and slightly embarrassing, so sit back and enjoy a good chuckle.
In 1976 - when I was a 10-year-old, newly-converted Monkees fanatic - I was dismayed to discover that I couldn't find any pictures of the Pre-Fab Four anywhere. I watched the shows religiously on the then-WTCG (now WTBS) Channel 17 in Atlanta and wished I could find a poster or something. That tall, cool Texan Michael Nesmith was the world to me, and golly gee, if only I could find a picture of him! More than that, I wanted records. LOTS of records.
Well, during that crazy summer my Mom was so patient and did what she could to find me some Monkees albums. Through the help of a local librarian (!) she was able to track down some used record stores and we ordered some albums from one. I believe that shop was somewhere in Pennsylvania. (Not sure how I remember that...)
Keep in mind, this was in the Dark Ages when you had to send a check or money order via snail mail and wait for your purchase to arrive. It could take up to a month. Needless to say, I was totally impatient.
One of the records we got was the 1967 album "Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, LTD" and man oh man did it have all the songs I loved from the show. It also had a cute cute CUTE picture of Nez on the back.
So, being that I was a creative child with a bit of artistic ability (I drew horses and dolphins for fun) I sat down with a piece of paper, an old pencil, and tried my hand at drawing my first celebrity crush. It took me a long time, probably most of an afternoon, but when I was finished I had a picture of Michael Nesmith. It wasn't all that great, but for a first time, I was kind of surprised.
I realized, even at age 10, that I was onto something.
In the late 80s, I drew a portrait of jazz sax player David Sanborn and sent it to him in care of his then TV show, "Night Music." In return, and totally by surprise, I received an autographed photo, a letter, and an envelope full of swag. It was the first time anyone had acknowledged my talent and, coming from someone like Sanborn, well, I got validation that this is something I was probably born to do.
Over the years, making portraits quickly became the one thing that to this day continues to bring me an incredible amount of joy.
My medium of choice for drawing is the graphite pencil. I use Derwent, Faber Castell, Mars Lumograph, and Blick Studio pencils the most. For colored pencil work, I use both Prismacolor and Faber Castell Polychromos. All artwork is created on smooth Strathmore Bristol board. I find that the smooth Bristol, rather than the vellum finish, works best with my method of drawing.
In 2021, I followed a new Muse and took up painting in acrylics. I'd messed around with painting for years, but never took the artform seriously. Also, I never in my wildest dreams believed I'd ever be able to paint portraits. Paint is nothing at all like graphite! Yet, I was soon addicted to this medium. When my first attempt at portraiture ended up being sold to an enthusiastic buyer, I decided that this was what I was destined to do.
I was, and still am, hooked.
My palette stays wet with GOLDEN Open acrylics. I love the buttery consistency of these paints and adore their blendability. The Open paints stay wetter longer, which is a huge benefit, and the vibrancy of the hues takes my breath away.
Thanks for reading my story. Please check out my CV here to see what I've been up to since I got back to my passion of creating art. I hope to hear from you soon!