In The Beginning: 1976
It was a 20 minute wait for the bus after school in the cafeteria where Kurt and I sat at the long lunch room tables and put our #2 pencils to work for a different cause. We took request from a line of kids who wanted our drawings of rocket ships and race cars, martians or monsters. One after another we knocked out drawings until one day Kurt said " you think your better than me" I lied and said no. I spent my Saturdays in a class for young painters in a studio behind a small art supply store in Staten Island NY named after the the artist and owner, a women named Hable. I painted in acrylic on canvas boards, heads of dogs , clowns and a ship at stormy sea. There was much praise bestowed upon me and it went straight to my head. I even went so far as to ridicule Mrs. Hable's pallet knife paintings of owls in front of the class when the master was not around. I was a natural painter and was asked to show my work as part of a group show representing the young beginner group. I went from being excited to disappointment when I saw my pictures crammed into a small space between the front door and window instead of the main exhibition wall. I followed this success by being upgraded into the teen group and that was when I began to fail. Painting went from being fun and easy to difficult when I judged myself against my more practiced peers. Around this time most kids in grade school stopped drawing and declared me and another boy in our class "the artist", They decided there should be a competition to see who the best artist was to be. After much discussion they came up with a theme. It was decided upon with the insistence of the girls, to be a garden. I panicked, one thing I did not draw was flowers. At the end of the recess we revealed our drawings and when I saw his work I knew I had lost. The quiet fat kid who was my competitor drew a garden with perspective! There was a fence that opened into his garden with a large fruit trees in the foreground and a variety of plants reduced in scale as they receded into the distance. Mine was just a bunch of cartoon daisies. I still had my fans and I never stopped drawing like the other kids and as I got older and went to art school those early paintings remained very special to me, about a time when painting came easy to a boy with all the confidence of a man.