At the age of two, in St Joseph, Missouri, I can remember a big maroon biplane with spirals on its still-rotating wheels roaring past the windshield of my father’s car. Dad took us to the airport often. The thrill of those early sounds and scenes inspired me to study all the airplane pictures I could lay my hands on. During that process of studying I cemented my lifelong love of aviation and art thru teaching myself the rudiments of draftsmanship…sketches of airplanes were on the inside covers of every book in our house and some of the walls.
Just before graduating from high school I enlisted the Navy (1945-46). The GI Bill gave me a year of college followed by years of art schools. Washburn University, Kansas City Institute of Art, The Ringling School of Art, Sarasota, FL where I ran out of GI bill so I went to work at a hometown (Topeka, KS) ad agency as an art director/illustrator for 6 months until up popped the Korean Thing. Back in the Navy for a couple more years (1950-52)..which fortunately included more GI Bill. With my goal at that time of becoming an illustrator I enrolled in the Famous Artists correspondence course while still in the Navy as a Draftsman/Illustrator 3rd Class at Navy Training Aids
Went directly from the Navy to California in 1952 and started in graphics once again as an art director for several years. With my restored GI Bill I went back to school at Art Center in LA as well as Chouinard School of Art and a couple semesters at UCLA. Opened my very successful graphics studio in LA 1954 to 1969. I flew at every opportunity… commercial license… instrument rating …flew a childhood dream from LA to NY (right over the St Joseph airport where it all began)… multiengine rating in a friend’s twin engine …joined an aerobatic biplane club…flew in an International Aerobatics Club competition in the photo above…what a thrilling life!!!
After years of graphics and illustration and a bleeding ulcer I was introduced to and encouraged by a very successful painter in Carmel. I made a big choice. At the end of 1969 sold the beautiful ‘Pasadena house on the hill, shut down the lucrative studio in LA and moved to Carmel Valley, CA where I unpacked a brand new easel, read Mayers Handbook for the Artist, and started to paint with oils!
After a time my work was being shown in Carmel at the Gallery Americana and later at Zantman’s Gallery. A year or so and later I opened the Ron Grauer Gallery in Carmel. The following seven years with the gallery were very educational, interesting years. It was a good time…it was a lousy time… it was not the time to be in the art business in Carmel during the Nixonian recession, in the late 70’s. I made a judicious decision and I bailed out of the gallery business, joined up with a really sharp ad guy, named Paul Fingerote, who'd just arrived in Carmel from a LA/NY/London agency We started the first 4A advertising agency in Monterey County (4A’s a big deal in the ad-world ).
As CEO at the agency the money flowed very well…we had a lot of fun… won lots of awards…but it wasn’t the kind of art I longed to return to... sold my shares of the business to my wonderful partner. Divorced that year…remarried… divorced again in ‘87. Those were tough years for all of us…lots of tears, lots of joy. Continued to paint but never really settled down…met some great, beautiful and wonderful people who added much to the tapestry of my life.
In 1995, leukemia grounded me…no more playing in the air. A noisy plane will always propel me outside to have a look … aviation always played a big part in my earlier life. Today, painting and drawing is my only reason for being … and that’s really thanks to drawing those airplanes way back then …seems that I flew a a large circle..beginning with airplanes to art, to airplanes and back to art. It's all been good.
Born in 1927, and having lived and painted on the California central coast since 1970, you can figure I’m no 'Pollo de la Primavera'. However, during a 1995 Charles Movalli workshop (Charles is a wonderful guy, and a wonderful painter, teacher and writer), there appeared a lovely, talented female artist and I married her before she could get away. Lois Johnson…a soulmate! My good fortune and excellent timing because Loii nursed me thru several years of Leukemia, chemo and hospitals ( she still looks over me like a sexy mother hen). Life is even more wonderous and still never ceases to thrill me as I grow older and older and even older. My painting is more fun, more personal and honest… hopefully better. At last, I’ve settled down…unless we decide to move to Hawaii, France or Mexico. There must always be room for one more adventure.
( Never pass up an opportunity to trade your cow for a handful of magic beans!!! – Tom Robins )
My most recent work has been painting an assortment of figurative descriptions of musicians, singers, dancers. The ballet, Scheherazade first got my attention because of the gorgeous music, but then I became enamored with ballet itself which led me in the direction I'm headed at the moment. The ballet is beautiful and I did pen drawings from videos and researched ancient Persian records for background material. There are a few of Scherezade and some of the newer subjects remaining at the Garden Gallery, Half Moon Bay, CA. Having never painted these subjects before, I’d love to have your feedback on such work.
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* Collection of John & Dianna Couch, Macintosh Corp.
* Collection of Judith Avery, Avery Labels
* Collection of J.J..Rieiser
* Collection of Nicholas & Gabriel Hahn, Hahn Winery
* Collection of the Monterey Community Hospital
* Collection of the Corey House Corp., Salinas.CA
• Collection of the Monterey Peninsula Country Club
• Collection of PeterO’Rourke,Brook House,BerkshireUK.
• Collection of Stockfleth-Disston Interior, San Francisco
• Collection of Neil Giarratana, Pres. MarantecAmerica Corp
• Collection of Rhoma Young and Associates
* The Christopher Bell Gallery, Monterey, CA
* The Big Sur Land Trust Invitational Plein Air Show
*New Masters Gallery, Carmel, CA
* California Heritage Gallery, San Francisco
* CaliforniaView Fine Art Gallery, solo and group shows
* Carmel Art Assoc. Carmel, CA, solo and group shows
* The Muckenthraller Invitational, Los Angeles, CA
* The Monterey Museum of Fine Art, Juried exhibit
* Monterey County Fair, juried shows, multiple awards
* Listed in “Who’s Who in America”
* Member Carmel Art Assoc. 1970, past Bd. of Directors
* Pacific Grove Art Center, juried shows, awards
* Pacific Grove Museum History, juried shows, awards
* James J. Rieser Fine Art Gallery, Carmel, CA
* Howard Portnoy Gallery, Carmel, CA
* Carmel Festival of Art, Juried Pleine Air Show
* The Garden Gallery, Half Moon Bay, CA
* Bonhams-Butterfield auction house LA.