1948 – I was born and reared in the amber light of northern California.
1968 – At draft age I joined the navy, hoping to avoid Vietnam –– didn't work. I spent 18 months as a "deck ape" on a destroyer in the west pacific, followed by 13 months in Guantanamo (Cuba), and finally a year in Italy.
On the way home through Europe I stumbled upon an exhibition of Van Gogh paintings, which was a religious experience for me at 23.
1972 – My "formal" art education followed at San Francisco Art Institute (BFA) and Sacramento State University (MA). I earned my tuition as one of San Francisco's first licensed street artists (I've got stories).
I skipped many of my studio classes in favor of working outside en pleinair. My painting vocabulary is still strongly influenced by the textures and patterns of the landscape that surrounded me in my youth. California fences, rolling foothills and 200-year old cow paths still show up in my paintings, which move between realism and abstraction.
In 1978 I moved to West Michigan where I taught art (can anyone really teach art?) for six years in local colleges before settling into my full-time vocation as a painter.
Much of my inspiration comes from 19th century European artists, including the Impressionists and Barbizon School painters. In my figurative interiors, it is not hard to see my love for the work of the French "intimist" painter, Pierre Bonnard.
My American influences include Albert P. Ryder, Milton Avery, George Inness and the mystical, tonal California paintings of Gottardo Piazzoni. I am also especially drawn to the California light, compositions and searching, palimpsest painting surfaces of Richard Diebenkorn.
Much of my studio work remains semi-abstract, but I am often pulled away from my studio to paint directly from nature. I have answered this call since I was 15. A local glossy once wrote that I am “rejoicing in the rightness of created things.” I choose to read this from a Pantheistic point of view. I do not believe in a personal, or anthropomorphic god. However, I am in awe of the universe, especially as it is manifest in nature, which I have no problem equating with divinity.
My wife, Victoria Peabody, is an art and early childhood educator and designer of educational tools. Her aesthetic sense is more progressive than my own, and she keeps me a little closer to the "edge" than I am naturally inclined to go. This is a good thing, since my tendency is to find a comfortable spot and not want to move.
She has accompanied me on many of my painting trips, recording in her journals with sketches and notes, describing our excursions through Michigan, northern California, Italy and France as "...pleasant days suspended in quiet nature."
Yeah, that's true.