I think some people are born artists and others are not. I don't mean some people are born with a natural talent to draw or paint or sculpt. I mean people who are born with the inner need to create. Everybody has some natural talent but most fail to develop their talent through the formative years of their lives.
I guess an artist is one who can live their life not wanting a 9 to 5 job or needing the security and comfort that comes with such a job. I think that describes me.
When I was still a kid I was making realistic graphite pencil drawings and playing around with painting. It was not too long after that when I realized I was an artist. I left behind the family farm and studied fine art and photojournalism in junior college. I thought it would be fun to make a living doing something a lot of people paid to do as a hobby.
I was right. I worked almost 30 years as a photojournalist for newspapers and magazines and, although not very rewarding financially, I can't think of any profession that would be more interesting, more fun than photojournalism. I loved it. I hated it when I had a day off from the job.
Over the years my photographs moved over the Associated Press wire and appeared in publications such as USA Today, the Dallas Morning News, Rocky Mountain News, the Seattle Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and many other publications. Also in many major magazines. I also won many awards for my images. But a time comes for all of us to kick back a little.
Several years ago osteoarthritis set in and that combined with an old injury from a serious auto accident gave me no choice. I had to get off my feet. All the years walking along football sidelines and through airports and on assignments had taken a toll. I had to sit down. I didn't retire. You have to have money to retire. I just had to stop working and get off my feet.
So I returned to my first love which is making graphite pencil drawings and oil painting. Most of my graphite drawings I do now are miniature portraits of people from the past. Mostly heads only three or four inches tall. My paintings are mostly landscapes. I like to paint, it's more fun, easier. I paint memories, memories of places I've lived and places I've traveled over the years and have photos of to work from.
These days I live with just my cats and often sit up well past midnight creating my art. I like to work late at night. It's quiet and there are no interruptions. My art work is frequently purchased by collectors in Fort Worth and Dallas and one of my drawings was used to promote an art show and sale sponsored by the Fort Worth Community Art Center. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram wrote that I was, "one of Fort Worth's best artists."
But I don't create my art just for a collector to purchase and hang on their wall, although I do appreciate and need the commercial success. I create my art because that's all I want to do. That's what I love doing. Few things in my life are more rewarding than to complete a drawing and knowing I've done a good job, that others like looking at it.
Quite often I'll finish a drawing or painting and put it away for awhile, not wanting to sell it because I've put so much of myself into it. Then when I do sell it I hope the buyer can somehow know that they are buying more than just an image.
My graphite drawings are usually only a few inches in size but when the viewer looks at one he can see the lines of the years or the sparkle of youth or the pain that is in the subject. The detail is there. My oil paintings are more impressionistic and vary from sizes about 8X10 up to 16X20.
Most pieces range from about $60 to $180 and shipping cost is extra and varies with each piece, usually $12 to $25 depending on whether it's framed or not, size and insurance.