I was born in Hastings, Nebraska, raised in Billings, Montana, and currently live in Oregon. I majored in Fine Arts at Eastern Montana College, and have spent the past 25 years in the antiques and auction business.
While in college, I really enjoyed creating hand-pulled lithographs, both on stones and zinc plates. That process is time consuming, technical, and requires a good deal of equipment. To me, ball point pen on paper feels very similar to drawing an image with a lithographic pencil. Today’s digital scanning and inkjet printing produces prints that, to me, are very similar to what a hand-pulled lithograph can do. So by using this contemporary media, it feels like I have a full lithography workshop that I can take anywhere.
I try to draw from life 30 minutes each day— whatever happens to be in front of me.
When I have an idea for a finished composition, I nearly always work from photographs. It takes me from 8 to 50 hours to complete a finished drawing in ball point pen. A good deal of what’s interesting to me is some specific moment —- that specific light, place, and time. I find the best way for me to understand a moment, in depth, is by working from photographs.
My current series of drawings are ball point pen and paper. Specifically, Papermate blue pens and good 100% rag paper. I really like the simplicity of this media. I appreciate the finality of the ink lines — that once a line is down, it’s not going away. So, I get to carefully consider each line with my end vision in line. And, I must absolutely forget about it at the same time, accepting that the finished drawing will, of necessity, be different from my initial idea. I find it challenging and rewarding.
Basically, I love the simplicity of sitting down with a pen and a sheet of paper, a photograph, and a block of time, and seeing what happens.
I like the idea of being able to scan the work, and print an edition of twenty or fifty of exactly the same image. To a great extent, I consider the prints the completed works, and the drawings closer to the images drawn on the stone.
To say a bit more about the Red Lodge images in particular, well I get back to Montana several times a year, and we always try to spend some time around Red Lodge. These images can’t help but bring the past with me as well. In choosing these, I recall all the ski trips in high school and college, going hiking and fishing south of town, cross country skiing and building snow caves back in Civil Air Patrol by lake fork, going over to Cooke City and the Park, and all the other things that a kid from Billings grew up doing down there. So there are many good memories of Natali’s, the Red Lodge Café, and the City Bakery. A guy just didn’t go through there without stopping in at least one of those.