I wish I could say I was immersed in art since I think my artistic journey began at birth. Drawing and making things have always been a part of me. I connected with people by making drawings for them. I liked making gifts for people. It’s just always been who I am. I took art for two years in high school and majored in art in college with an emphasis in woodworking. But the siren song of playing rock & roll in the clubs dashed my studies on the rocky shores and I didn’t finish my studies nor receive an art degree.
Shortly after our first child was born I started my own finish carpentry business as the sole proprietor/carpenter. For the next 12 years I threw all of my creativity into designing, building, and installing mantles, bookcases, entertainment centers, staircases and many other architectural details. In all, it had been 19 years since I left college and had rarely even sketched just for fun. I think I almost forgot that I had ever been an artist.
Then came the stroke. I will spare the details other than it left a dead spot in both halves of my brain in the area that controls fine motor skills and motor development. I was cautioned when going home that I may no longer have the finite motor skills that I had prior to the stroke. I wanted to prove to myself that I could still create. Prior to the stroke I had been told by a doctor who was watching me do some woodworking in his home that I had the steady hands of a surgeon. I wanted to prove to myself that I still had those steady hands. I met a new art buddy who was into fountain pen art and making comics. I had been fascinated with the line work in comics since childhood but had never attempted this kind of art. So I dove deep into ink art for a couple of years and made several self published mini comics.
I always loved the sharp contrast of the black and white comic strips and the black and white comic books. I wasn’t digging the new digitally colored art in modern comic books though. Some of the indie comic artists were using watercolors and I got really inspired by that. This is when I began trying to learn everything I could about watercolors and techniques for applying them.
Thanks! Comic making is very challenging for me, but it is great fun and very rewarding when it all comes together. That same art buddy who had gotten me into the idea of making comics challenged me to come up with a mini comic for an upcoming event at our local comic shop. I decided it might be fun to make a comic using the lyrics to one of my songs.
So I approached making the comic as if I was a director making a music video. It was such fun, and people seemed to dig the concept. I have made three other mini comics as visual interpretations of my songs. I have even woven some of the comics together into the larger story arc that I am telling in my webcomic titled “The S.A.U.C.E.R. Records.”
Yes, I love working with wood. I mentioned earlier that I learned some about woodworking as an art major, but my dad had been a DIYer his whole life. And he wasn’t a hack at it either. He showed me a lot about using tools and there was always plenty of scrap wood for me to learn on. When I began playing guitar I wanted to learn the art of luthierie (building and repairing stringed instruments.) I am still slowly building up my shop and my skills necessary for that work. I built a ukulele about 10 years ago and it is one of my favorite instruments that I own. In the shop I especially enjoy using old world hand tools, and the artistry and precision of fine woodworking.
Kelli and I first connected when I had made my first Voyager wooden palettes. She even helped me brainstorm for the name. I’m pretty certain Kelli is the one who threw the name Voyager out there in the conversation! I hope that in my retirement years I will be able to work on stringed instruments and continue other smaller woodworking projects.
Choosing a favorite SWM product is kind of like asking me to choose my favorite song by The Beatles. However, I can say that my favorite palette is the retired Luminous Palette. And I can say that the Warm Yellow is a color I wish I could never run out of. Both the warm and cool yellows in that palette are my favorite yellow paints that I own. Since I do so many sunrise, sunset, and moonlit paintings, I find myself always reaching for one or both of these to create that luminous glow of natural light. Nimbus, Gaia, and Ancestral red are some other favorites.
I love the fact that Kelli does some science before she just starts throwing together a new paint. SWM paints are consistent and I would trust them as much and sometimes more than any commercially made paint.