My Artwork - Painting

      My mother, Martha Snowden, was a gifted painter. She used oils and was very likely inspired by one of my father's cousins, Jimmy Banks, who was a recognized painter in Richmond, Virginia in the middle of the twentieth century. I have two of Banks's paintings at home, and about twenty of my mother's paintings.

      My mother lacked confidence in her ability, which is a shame because she could have produced dozens of more works. I am not sure when she first took an interest in painting, but I think it was when she was in her forties. We lived in Hawaii, just outside Pearl Harbor in officer's quarters (my father was stationed at Fort Smith) in the mid 1960s. My mother did some painting then, and I have a few pieces from that period.

      Her greatest works came when she and my father were living in Japan. Between my father's military service, and the time he spent upon retirement with Hughes Aircraft Company, my parents lived in Japan for almost ten years. It was there that my mother found a mentor, a Japanese artist that I never heard much about (and whose name I do not know). That person assisted my mother, and she produced some outstanding paintings. I have quite a few of them in my home.

      I was impressed and inspired by mother's talent and works, but I realized at a very early age that drawing was not one of my talents. Thus, I never tried to do anything serious with the arts (photography is the only exception). What I believe I inherited from my mother was a 'good eye'. Artists must have a good eye so they can look at others' works and appreciate them. One of the key elements of the visual arts is perspective, and that has been fundamental to me in my photography. That is another component of a good eye.

      Very recently I was exposed to some 'wall art' as my wife and I were decorating a townhome the family has in south Florida. We quickly decided that we should focus on abstract art, so we went to many places and sought inexpensive works that had some degree of harmony and similarity in them. Most of the things we acquired were acrylics. As I looked at them and thought about them, I had something of an epiphany. I should be able to do something similar to those pieces. I knew I had the imagination, the perspective and a fondness for add shapes and color combinations.

      I decided I would give this a try. I purchased some brushes, palette knives and some canvas and decided to dive in. I watched about three youtube.com videos for some fundamentals but decided I would mostly start on my own and see what happens without hours and hours of videos.

      In a matter of days, I was producing some things that I felt were good enough to hang on the wall at home. I also realized that there was virtually no end to the flow of expression on the canvas. Each time I go to my basement studio something happens and I create things, sometimes without any obvious plan or idea of where I am going. I have concluded that I simply need to follow my instincts. Sometimes what I do in a session is over and I leave the piece as as. Other times, I stop, give myself time to re-assess, and then return just to go in a completely different direction with that piece.

      I have come to the realization that my works deserve a wider audience. This conclusion was not an easy one for me as I tend to be very self-critical of anything important I do. I have often described myself as a "master of self-deprecation", and anyone near me knows this all too well. It is a significant step for me to say "this work deserves to be seen by more people". It is the same with my writing.

      I understand that I have a major task ahead of me as I seek to have my paintings displayed in galleries or even art museums. I am not very optimistic because that is not my nature (I am a Skeptic), but there is no way I will give up on my belief that my paintings have value and that people will be willing to pay for them.

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This is a painting I started the day of the "Massacre at Robb Elementary" in Uvalde Texas.

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This is the first of my paintings that are inspired by the Webb Telescope images.

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