Mike :

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Exposure to art, for me, began in 8th grade health class, drawing hot rods with my buddies when the teacher became dry, or boring. We tried to duplicate the hot rod art of "Big Daddy" Ed Roth.  Mr. Roth drew and painted his weird and wild creations on T-shirts and for "Hot Rod Magazine", and we tried our best using pencils and notebook paper to be like him.


While in the military, an artistic friend and I played with art during slack times in our squadron. After the military service I attended Boise State University. At BSU, I needed a class toward my degree in Elementary Education, "Art for Elementary Teachers".  Master watercolorists headed the BSU Art Department and taught our class. The professors introduced we aspiring teachers to watercolor painting, compelling us to purchase two Winsor & Newton brushes (a number 10 round and a 1 inch flat) and a plastic palette and the primary colors in tubes. We painted and drew and enjoyed trying to use the tools. 


I was reminded, and still often recall, Mr. Fred Ochi, a man from Idaho Falls. Ochi painted in watercolor in his spare time from his sign painting business. I often ran across him painting on location en plein aire, at local ski areas and in the country around Idaho Falls. He primarily painted images of local barns. His barns are now quite famous. I often joined the crowd watching Mr.Ochi paint. I was interested to see the water spread pigment where he attempted to direct. The soft, probably lost, edges pleased me. 


After retiring from a life in education, many years after BSU, I sat in my home office and suffered acute boredom. One can only mow so many lawns and walk so many laps and watch so many grandchildren's soccer games. My memories and my BSU experience spurred me to locate my old art supplies and splash some paint, just for fun. I kept the undergraduate brushes and tools packed away, my wife only knew where.


She dug them out for me, and I bought some fresh tubes of simple watercolor paint. I still had a few sheets of watercolor paper and with tap water was prepared to give it a go. Playing with the paints revived my love for watercolor. I studied with a workshop in St. George, Utah and read books and found many interesting lessons on "you tube". I painted some with Professor Gaye Hoopes (one of the past professors from BSU). I became involved with the Nampa Art Guild, and the Idaho Watercolor Society, and I joined the Plein Air Painters of Idaho.


I don't state a flowery philosophy of art, nor do I think deeply of a special message I am trying  to convey, but I am telingl a story. I am simply moved by the light and shadow and colors in nature and people. No matter where I am, subjects pop-out with beauty. The Lord is a master artist. My goal is to portray some of His striking scenes and His people, and paint something beautiful/interesting that others might enjoy seeing and feeling as much as I. Sometimes I get a good one, sometimes a bomb. But, I enjoy the times and experiences and try to find brush time daily. When I flop, I remember, ”It is only paper, or canvas, try again.” Watercolor is my favorite, but I work in acrylic and oils as well. The art I produce is satisfying (to me), possibly exciting, hopefully interesting.