I began painting while receiving instruction from a local community center artist and teacher shortly after graduating from college.
I developed some sensibility for abstract expression from a former teacher on Oak St., Miriam Lilje, and her studio – Atelier Mimi. One of my favorite painting projects with her started out as a realistic image based on Durer’s famous Christ-like self-portrait which then took an abstract turn. After I felt it was complete and Miriam was satisfied with it, I started having gnawing feelings that the painting needed more. So I started making circular motions around his right arm. I’m not sure what I wanted but ended up drawing a “globe” that was held within his arm.
My first year was spent in Gretna. After that I moved to New Orleans to a spot on St. Charles Ave. I found a cool little place called, “Piece ‘a Work – The Art Gym,” a place where you could get a monthly membership and go in whenever you liked during the day and do art. It was run by a young lady named Kathryn Schindler.
Kathryn “turned me on” to acrylics which I began to enjoy and I have since continued with acrylics as my main medium for the most part.
She also had artist’s works galleried periodically. On one occasion during a showing, Dr. John walked in with a group of friends to view the works.
Listening to music while painting creates a synergy that is, at times, amazing. The textures of each grow and inform the other making the whole experience more enlivened. The process can feel mind expanding, a natural psychedelic experience. The interconnectedness of music and the creating of visual art strengthen mindfulness.
One of my first paintings, my second painting ever, was an interesting project for me. It was based on a photograph. I painted the image of a Buddha face carved out of a tree in Thailand, but the photograph was in black and white allowing me to use my imagination for color.