After graduating from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, I worked as a graphic designer in Florida and as a free-lance artist in California. Coming back to Ashtabula Harbor in 1981, I received my teaching certification with honors from Cleveland State, and over 30 years taught more than 22,000 children in the Ashtabula Area City Schools art. I have done a lot of cartooning and illustration in my artistic life but these latest art works of the Harbor are a culmination of my developed artistic style and my sentimentality for the community in which my Finnish ancestry has called home for multiple generations. They settled in Conneaut Harbor in 1887, and my other great- grandparents came to Ashtabula Harbor in the 1890’s. With this latest series of artwork I have stepped into a new realm of creative invention.
I was blessed with an opportunity and good fortune to spend most of my life in Ashtabula Harbor. I was born in the Harbor and my great Grandparents and their families contributed to building the Harbors in Ashtabula and Conneaut. They built the docks, railroads, business districts and ships in the Harbor. I heard stories about the people and their lives from them. The stories were never boring ones because Ashtabula Harbor has never been a boring place. Therefore art depicting the Harbor should never be boring! These ports helped to build our country.
With my artwork I aspire to animate that spirit and energy that bleeds and flows from the old bricks, wooden trim work and other architectural features of these classic historic buildings. Oh the stories they could tell! They move and twist in the wind. They have their own layer of skin and sweat built from their rich history of activity. From this layer of skin are born personalities and each building takes on its own life in my artistic renderings. They breathe, they move, they emit a sense of being that is a collection of accumulated history that spans generations of Harbor citizens and visitors. These buildings are the survivors and with my art I seek to preserve their characters for generations to come.
Technique: I believe my line is important for conveying a sense of liveliness. In and out, back and forth, the line becomes alive and descriptive. My watercolor methods permit lines and independent color spaces where necessary while leaving my brushwork free to cross the lines when necessary. Bright color dominates the work as I take a drawing and bring it to life with rich mixtures of colors that excite the eye. My composition reaches into the fundamentals of perspective drawing while creating a distortion, but in my curves and deviations from straight lines, the full scale of the composition returns to a balanced perspective more real than the obvious.
Style: My art is light and can be appreciated by a wide range of interests. When arranged as a focal point in a room setting, each individual work serves as a fun and interesting conversation piece that generate conversations of appreciation and affections. To include these works in home and commercial interior design is to invite rich and exciting conversation into the space. These stories should never be forgotten. This is in kind and in spirit with the motifs behind my works.