In Richard’s Words

The arts have always been a part of my life. My parents are talented visual artists and our home was filled with their drawings, paintings, sculptures and hand made costumes. My step-father was an air force navigator who traveled widely and collected art from around the world. My step mother is a popular two and three d artist who has shown professionally for years. A 3 year stay in Japan had a strong influence on my artistic esthetic. A strong sense of composition was really my only natural artistic gift and it took years of encouragement and hard work for me to become proficient at drawing and painting.

My goal as an artist is to instill in another the beauty I find in life; whether it be through color, texture or line. I hope that those who interact with my work feel a part of me and my artistic vision. My approach to picture making is unusual in that instead of choosing one medium to explore a subject with I use several mediums to explore different aspects of a subject. Often I’ll use drawing and etching to study the linear aspects of a scene then work with water colors to explore light and color before moving on to an oil painting with its richness of tone, depth and detail.

I enjoy the challenges presented by the different mediums, whether it be the varying textures of paper and canvas or the unique characteristics of oils, pastels water colors and inks. “The Dancer” and “Veiled Dancer” are examples of using the texture of the paper and controlled application of water colors to create the effects of light and shadow on a figure draped in several types and colors of cloth.

Even a brief perusal of my work and one recognizes a tremendous variety of mediums. All of my work regardless of the medium that I have chosen reflects my dedication to realism as expressed by the many masters of the Renaissance. Quite often I will do a piece as an etching and then execute the same image as a pastel, watercolor or oil. Other times the image itself informs the medium. Many of my works, particularly the large oils, are scenes from ancient ruins in places I have visited. Typically I do watercolors and then work from sketches and photographs when I return to my studio.

The desire to create realistic images of the human form has also driven my development as an artist. Through many years of studying technique, life drawing and anatomy I have developed a stylistic approach that produces pieces with a strong realism and a deep emotional content. I strongly believe that the human form is one of nature’s greatest expressions.

I have been painting and engraving on stone for about 5 years now, beginning with a series of architectural studies of the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park. In January of ’09 I started a new series of figure studies. I begin each piece by studying the stones unique colors and surface contours to find just the right fit with the subject. Often the stone will strongly influence the choice of subject and composition of the piece. Next I transfer my drawing onto the stone and use an etching stylus to engrave the outlines into the surface. The final step is using acrylic paint to fill in details, light and shadow, giving the subject a sculpted, 3d look. I sometimes use the stylus and sandpaper to remove paint and highlight the stone surface.

I am really enjoying working with this new technique as it combines my experience with painting and printmaking as well as my love of stone.