It is unusual for a quality assurance chemist or an MBA to also be a portrait painter. Chemists and businessmen are often considered left-brained groups and not artistic. I try to achieve a balance in my approach to art. I've found that I'm happiest when I'm involved in artistic and creative activities.
I have greatly admired the work of the old masters since I was a boy on Long Island. The drama of the lighting, the scholarly attention to detail, the purity of the colors and the creativity fascinated me. This fascination later lead me to take a psychology elective class on creativity, where I discovered I could draw accurate likenesses of friends and family. A few years later I found portrait painting to be the most satisfying artistic activity I've attempted. Based on those experiences, I have made a life-long commitment to improve my skills and understanding of realistic painting and drawing.
Good painting depends on good drawing. Developing a finished drawing separates the problems of color from line and light. A finished drawing is organized so that there is perfect agreement between line and light. All the shaded forms agree with the contour. Two ways to understand the forms of a human figure are through study of artistic anatomy and through the study of the interaction of three-dimensional form with light. I think both approaches are essential to an artist's education. The books and video taped lessons of Robert Beverly Hale have proved to be most valuable. I've also found Tony Ryder's work to be very inspiring and educational.
Richard Wood introduced me to photo-realism and the fundamentals of oil painting. He taught me the use of photographic materials, palette, medium, and many other elements of painting technique. I continuously search for and experiment with materials and approaches to improve my portrait work.
Bob Senhauser taught me the fundamentals of black and white photography. Good lighting is crucial to obtaining the good photographs I need as reference materials. I prefer to use ambient light when possible to produce accurate color and traditional effects. When daylight is not available, I have learned to use studio lighting to obtain the desired effects.