How I Became an Artist
Ever since I was a young child I have loved to draw pictures. Few things pleased me more than to draw an impressive picture. I had no plans of becoming an artist. As far as I knew “artist” was an extinct occupation that only existed in history books. After all, no one in my family was an artist. No one I knew of, or their friends, or their parents was an artist. I only considered it to be a fun thing to do as a hobby while I became a lawyer.
As I went through school I always loved art class the most. Art class always looked great on my report card. My senior year in high school, the only award I received other than for football was for art. Even then I had no idea that ‘professional artist’ was a viable career option for me.
As an undeclared freshman at Stephen F. Austin University, I continued art classes in earnest. With the encouragement of my family and my professor, Lance Hunter, I declared studio art as my major. After a year, I transferred to Lamar University. I studied under Steve Hodges, Larry Leach, and Jerry Newman. Steve Hodges had the most influence on me. He is the one that I consider to be my mentor. He helped me raise my skill to a professional level. In addition to school, I was working for an arts and crafts show promoter on the weekends, where I got the idea to sell my ‘homework’ at a local restaurant, where I was also a part time bartender. This idea worked out great. Everything I hung on the wall was purchased rather quickly.
In my second year of live figure drawing, taught by Hodges, he pulled me out of the middle of class and asked me to go, in his stead, to do live courtroom sketches for the local ABC news. It was a paying job that was normally his. He could not go on that particular day so he sent me. Immediately, I drove to the courthouse and did the drawings. I brought them directly to the newsroom where they filmed the drawings. I received payment, then went home and watched my drawings on television that night. This was the day I realized I was truly meant to be an artist.
From there, I began focusing my efforts on oil painting portraits under the instruction of Jerry Newman and Larry Leach. Soon I began to get commissions for oil painted portraits. It was then that I decided to end my ‘day’ job and begin my life as a freelance professional artist.
That was 1996, 18 years ago. Since then I have completed hundreds of commissioned paintings and drawings. I have had solo exhibitions at the Beaumont Art Museum and The Art Studio Incorporated and in homes of private collectors. I have a portrait permanently installed at the federal courthouse in Beaumont, Texas. In addition to portraits, I have been commissioned to paint landscapes, wildlife, still life, buildings, and pet portraits.
I currently live in Beaumont Texas where I was born and raised. I paint in a studio in my house on 21st St., where I live with my beautiful wife Monica and our two lovely children.