Born and raised in New Orleans, I fell in love with horses long before I went to the races at the local racetrack, The Fair Grounds. It was in this first close-up with the most beautiful of equine athletes, the Thoroughbred, that began a lifelong fascination with the equine form. After college studying a variety of subjects, I lived a few years in New York, Boston and Saratoga Springs near the track. A job in the public relations office at Sotheby’s in New York gave me my first glimpses of sporting art and I was hooked. In 1985, I moved to the Bluegrass of Kentucky to pursue my dream of becoming a portrait painter, and worked behind a desk writing pedigrees and advertising copy while teaching myself to paint. After a few years I received my very first portrait commission, to paint the great Nashua, in 1989. More or less, I never looked back!
After living in Kentucky for 25 years, I moved to Northern Virginia in 2011, the heart of “hunt country.” I have become immersed into the sport of foxhunting and enjoy photographing the sport as well as attending the point-to-points and steeplechase races here in the area.
Essentially self-taught, I was originally drawn to the beautiful, soft technique of George Stubbs and the color and virtuosity of Sir Alfred Munnings. Other favorites who have inspired me include Emil Adam, Jacques-Laurent Agasse and W. Smithson Broadhead.
My portrait gallery page shows you some of my best portraits; many of them have a smokey, vague background as you will notice. Most of my portraits are at least 24″ x 30″ or 30″ x 40″. These larger sizes allow me to emphasize the beauty, color and elegance of the subject as well as paint the subject large enough to give them “realness” without photographic flatness. Many of my clients tell me “he looks back at me!” When I hear that, I have succeeded.
Sometimes I venture out into “plein air”, taking a portable easel/paint box and setting up somewhere outdoors that begs to be painted: it is a most challenging endeavour! In between my commissioned work, I love to work in pastel and especially charcoal, for someone who works in color all day, black and white and shades in between is a creative complement and very relaxing! In the last few years, I’ve taught beginning painting to adults, something which I thoroughly enjoy. And recently, I’ve begun to do pencil drawings which I thoroughly enjoy. After spending almost two years photographing the Blue Ridge Hunt, some of the over 25,000 photographs I’ve taken I feel are worth making into a signed and numbered limited edition large print on archival photo paper to be matted and framed. The sport is an endless source of inspiration.
I have been blessed with a gift I inherited from my paternal grandmother, Sydney Milburn. I was a toddler when she died, and she is never far from my thoughts as I work in my studio. I owe most of my early nurturing and inspiration to a high school art teacher, Miss Katherine Ricks, for without her support I may never have had the nerve to pick up a brush!
In 2011, my work was accepted into The Art at the Mill show in Millwood, in Northern Virginia and has been accepted every time I enter their shows. My page of artistic highlights describes my professional participation and publication.