I was born on October 28th, 1950, and raised in a dairy-farm community in Wisconsin. All our relatives were farmers and my father a country preacher. I loved the farms of my childhood, the fields, the taste of fresh milk, the fragrance of the cheese sheds and haylofts, all the animals with light in their eyes, maple trees and their syrup, winter sleigh rides wrapped in warm blankets next to grandpa.
I was six years old when my father joined the US Army as a chaplain and we moved to France. Our family traveled throughout many parts of Europe during this time, visiting the great museums and cathedrals. I was able to experience the art and customs of many different cultures. To go from the cow barns of Wisconsin to the gold and marble of the Vatican—to see the chiseled veins of Michelangelo’s sculpture of Moses was a mind-opening experience for a child and one I still see clearly in my mind today.
We returned to the United States when I was around ten years old and lived in North Carolina until the beginning of high school. We then moved to the Monterey area in California. I didn’t have much interest in art during these early formative years, for when I would paint, the results would always fall short of what I envisioned and I would put down the brushes once again dissatisfied. But all that would change in college.
I went to Clemson University in 1969 for engineering. Looking at a large-scale model of a bridge one day in the Engineering Department, I came to a long list of formulas used to build the bridge. The list stretched from near the ceiling almost to the floor. My heart sunk. Everything was so predetermined, so “logical.” My spirit ached for something else, a career with fire—for action arising out of a more heartfelt inspiration and vision. That day I changed my major to Architecture, where Art Studio was a required course.
When I walked into my first art class I felt this amazing sense of freedom. I felt it in what people were doing and I could hear it in their conversations. Whatever one envisioned one could pursue. There were no clients to satisfy; no deadlines to meet. I changed my major once again, this time to Art Studio. This sense of freedom and the creative spirit would be my guiding star for the rest of my life. While at Clemson University I married my first wife, Maria.
My grade point average, though rising since my first semester in engineering, did not rise fast enough to keep me out of the draft and in 1971 I was drafted into the US Army. While I was in basic training at Fort Ord, California, my son, Justin was born.
I painted an abstract mural in the Sergeants’ Day Room, and the commander also wanted my paintings up in the barracks for the Congressmen to see as they toured the post. When it came time for the Army to send me off to Advanced Infantry Training for Vietnam, the military decided they could use my skills better another way. I became an illustrator on the General’s Staff at Fort Sill, Oklahoma until my discharge in 1973.
A month before my discharge I met Richard Goetz, a nationally known artist, who was an incredible colorist and painter. Amazingly, he was teaching a class at the local Community Center where I signed up for the painting class. He asked if I would like to become an apprentice for him and his wife, Edith. They were going to have their summer workshop again in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
It was a glorious time in Santa Fe. People came from all over the country to paint the colorful landscapes and light of New Mexico with Richard and to draw the human figure under Edith in the afternoon, inside when the monsoon rains would come. To be a young artist, painting in the high desert of New Mexico felt so exhilarating and romantic.
After the summer workshop, we returned to Oklahoma and Richard said to me that he would make me a nationally known artist within five years (he had a lot of connections and influence in the art world). I held in my hands financial success, something so many artists long for, yet a feeling was gnawing at me that I had much to learn and experience about life yet. I knew that I would have to leave Richard and Edith and find my own way—to find my own unique visual “voice.”
I returned to Monterey, California and eventually Santa Barbara and enrolled in the City College there and then the University of California, taking art studio and art history classes, painting sometimes twelve or more hours a day.
In 1982 I moved to the foothills of the Sierra Mountains and thru 1985 I continued my art education at Chico State University, Chico, California. Over the years my work was displayed in a few galleries and a couple of museums.
I was becoming increasingly aware that there were levels of perception influencing what I was painting and how I was painting it. In 1995, now married to my second wife, Diana, we moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I made the important decision in 1996 to pull away from the commercial art scene altogether to pursue an exploration into creativity and its intimate, dynamic relationship to consciousness and perception. This journey I was about to embark on became the foundation of my art and life. Little did I suspect this journey would eventually extend over the next two decades.
It was during this time that I found employment doing late afternoon to midnight work as a security officer at the Federal Sites and later at Los Alamos National Laboratory where basically one is getting paid to be alert and observant. This aligned perfectly with my aim to study and experience aspects of perception. I would go to very profound levels during the eight-hour shifts, taking notes on what I was experiencing and I would paint my experiences in the morning and early afternoon before I would have to go to work.
As I went deeper into the study of perception, four main levels of perception started to stand out and began to have the greatest effect on my art. These I labeled, “The Emanations of Objects,” “The Force of Objects,” “Objects in a Dimension”, and “Objects in the Unified Field.” I started writing out what I discovered about these four levels of perception and started developing this educational website, combining my paintings with the words that described my experiences. I was taken over by a new enthusiasm to create a body of paintings which would express these profound levels of perception.
I felt my art website becoming a linchpin—a center from which my creative expressions radiate out. This marriage of the concepts in the website coupled with my art felt like a Rubik’s cube turning, revealing a pattern of one perfect integrated whole.
I started showing the website to others and I soon realized some people needed a more entertaining/emotional approach to experiencing what I was trying to pass on. Then the idea came to take the same principles in the website and put them into an illustrated fairytale book, so the reader could experience these aspects of perception through the eyes of the protagonist. The book, Tobe and the River Is was published in 2016, and it has already won The Nautilus Book Award, The Ben Franklin Award, The Global Ebook Award, and The New Apple Book Award. (See my book website www.4riveris.com). The Nautilus Award is particularly significant because it is in the Memoir Category, which meant they understand that my book is based on actual experience; It is not just a made-up fairytale.
I retired from the Lab in 2015, and in 2016 I went on a road trip through eight western states, doing painting studies to bring back to my new studio that was soon to open up in Santa Fe. The trip extended over weeks, visiting many of the state and national parks. Working my way down the coast from Puget Sound, Washington, I arrived at the coastal area near Mendocino, California and I received a text that my new studio was no longer available. Remarkably, within a matter of hours, a studio place presented itself and Mendocino became my new home.
In September of 2017, I started to exhibit my work publicly for the first time since 1996. It started with the Sausalito Art Festival, then the HarmonyUs Festival followed eventually in 2018 by the Edgewater Gallery. Now my focus is solely on displaying my body of paintings in a traveling museum exhibit with the same purpose it shares with my website, my book, as well as my public speaking engagements—to inspire people to explore the life-enhancing nature of deeper levels of perception. This is such an enjoyable project because there is a focus on others. I also state in my proposal that I will give a talk at a few of the local high schools during the exhibit. Hopefully, my art will come near where you live and you will be able to experience my art directly.
Thank you for your interest,
With Grandpa Outside the Barn
ABOUT the ARTIST/AUTHOR
June 2019 HarmonyUs Caspar, California
June 2018 HarmonyUs, Caspar, California
June 2018 Edgewater Gallery, Fort Bragg, California
Sept 2017 HarmonyUs, Caspar, California
Oct 1996 - Sept 2017 I left the commercial art scene to concentrate on creating a large body of paintings
for my art website, wwwperception4u.com.
Aug 1995 - Sept 1996 Gallery Americas, Carrboro, North Carolina
Feb 1993 - Feb 1995 Helen Jones Gallery, Sacramento, California
May 1995 - Jan 1996 Paragon Gallery, Los Angeles, California
Nov 1991 - Jun 1992 Gallery Audacious, Nevada City, California
Mar 1991 Micro Gallery, Nevada City, California
Oct 1990 NIAD Gallery, Richmond, California
Feb - Mar 1990 Barbara McDonald Gallery, Sacramento, California
Apr 1988 Durovich Gallery, Sacramento, California
Jun 1987 Landell Gallery, Carmel, California
Sept 2017 Sausalito Art Festival Sausalito, California
Oct - Nov 1995 Associated Artists, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
May - Aug 1995 Artspace, Raleigh, North Carolina
Jan 1993 - Oct 1996 Eastwick Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
Mar - Apr 1993 International Artist Group, Ibaraki, Japan
Jul 1992 - Jan 1995 Wilde Meyer Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona
Apr 1991 Open Arts Circle, Oakland, California
Apr - May 1991 Crocker Kingsley Annual, Sacramento, California
Sept 1990 Sausalito Art Festival Sausalito, California
May 1989 “Landscape of the Spirit” Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connetticut
Mar 1986 Victoria Monroe Gallery, New York, New York
TALKS ON MY ART
Coming up in Sept 2018 ”Quantum Physics and the New Perception Center for Spiritual Living Fort Bragg, California
June 30, 2018 “The Expression of Spirit In Art“ HarmonyUs, Caspar, California
May 2, 2018 “Awakening Through Art” Spirit House, Fort Bragg, California
SELECTED PRIVATE AND PUBLIC COLLECTIONS
Menahem Presler, Bloomington, Indiana
E. F. Hutton, New York, New York
SAS Institute Raleigh, North Carolina
1981 to Present Group and Private Instruction, beginning to advanced:
Painting the Figure, Awakening the Artist’s Eye, Depicting Landscape and Levels of Perception,
Figure Drawing and Anatomy.
Feb – May 1997 Fine Art Painting Instructor, Wake Tech Community College, Raleigh, North Carolina
Mar - Apr 1990 Art Therapy Workshop, Family Services, Chico, California
Aug 1969 – May 1971 Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina
Major: Art Studio and Architecture
May - Sept 1973 Apprenticed under nationally known artist, Richard Goetz, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Aug 1979 – June 1980 Santa Barbara City College Santa Barbara, California
Major: Art Studio
Aug 1980 – May 1981 University of California at Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, California
Major: Art Studio
June 1982 - May 1983 California State University, Chico Chico, California
Major: Art Studio