Still one of my favorites.

According to the date on the paper, I was ten when I first took a real interest in drawing. I’m sure there were plenty of sketches before this one, but this one sparked an elevated desire to become good at it. I can vividly recall the excessive erasing, redrawing, and moments of pure frustration as I tried to perfect it. Completing the drawing offered a slight sense of accomplishment, but also a fair amount of disappointment. It just wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be. But if I’d been satisfied with it, I suppose I might have stopped right there.

Realizing the gap between my actual ability and my desired ability initiated a phase of prolific drawing. For the next few years, I just kept drawing scene after scene. It was fun, challenging, and frustrating at times, but I could see gradual improvement which was encouraging. Another source of encouragement at the time were family and friends. I’m extremely grateful to have all those wonderful people in my life.

A few of my early works.

 Split interests.

Along came the teenage years, and the drawings in those days conveyed my changing interests. It wasn’t all about wildlife and the outdoors anymore. I was also working through a correspondence art program during this time, focused on improving drawing skills and learning the basics in composition, values, etc. After completing the correspondence courses and graduating high school, I headed off to South Dakota for an engineering degree.

The university years left little to no time for pursuing art. A few silly doodles in my notebooks were all I could fit in at that time. It was four years packed full of study and work. On the weekends that I didn’t have to work I would drive to Iowa to see Megan. That’s her in the drawings above. Study, work, girl. That was life for those years. Although my artistic efforts were on hold, my desire to continue the pursuit was far from diminished.

 The weird results of boredom.

First stamp entries.

With school finally out of the way, Megan and I got married, got jobs, and just like that I had free time in the evenings again! It was time to start a new phase in the art pursuit. Painting! I purchased some oil paints and got to it. My experience with those first few paintings was similar to my experience with that initial drawing in 1995. A lot of frustration and disappointment to be honest. But I kept at it and even entered a couple pieces into the Minnesota wildlife stamp competitions. The first entry was a turkey which ended up second after losing a tie-breaker. The second entry was a trout which took first place. Both were such fun and exciting experiences. I learned you’re never too old to appreciate when grandparents and family save those newspaper clips!

Shortly after entering the stamp competitions, we were blessed with the first of four children. I also started an engineering business thinking it would allow the time and flexibility to pursue painting more intentionally. That was one of the most naïve thoughts I’ve ever had. Business demands and a growing family quickly consumed all hours of the day and night. I managed to finish a painting of two orioles and started a couple others, but it was pretty much a painting dry spell. I eventually stepped away from the engineering industry and shifted my focus primarily to painting.

 Scarce product of a busy era.

Today, I’m glad to be painting more fervently than ever before. The desire to portray natural wonders and share life experiences through painting continues to grow as I seek to improve in all aspects of the work. It’s a very fulfilling act of faith in which I get to praise God by simply using a gift He’s provided. I look forward to continued growth with each new painting, and I’m thankful to share this work with a supportive and encouraging community.

I currently live near Pine Island, Minnesota with my wife Megan and our four children. We enjoy many of the outdoor activities the region has to offer, and we cherish our relationships with the wonderful community of people in our lives. Above all else, our faith in Jesus is central to our lives. It’s where we place our hope and trust, and it’s the firm foundation on which we build our lives.

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