I did not take to painting until my early 40s. I was trained as a lawyer and conducted civil rights litigation for many years. I turned to art partly as an escape from the people-oriented and verbal –oriented tasks of the law. I immediately fell in love with the painting process because one can do it without thinking of the consequences for anyone else, and because I can also finish a piece of work in three or four hours rather than three or four years.
At a time when I was teaching at the Washington University Law School, I decided to sit in on the introductory painting class taught by a friend, Sheldon Helfman , at the Architecture School. Helfman is a water color master, but I started out with acrylics, and have now switched to pastels and oils.
The thing I remember most is that Shelly told us that a painting is a visual statement about the subject. Although I do not fully understand how a statement could be visual rather than verbal, I accepted the definition, and I still think of a painting in this way. I think it has helped me to realize that I can’t really think very far verbally about a painting, and it keeps me focused on the visual effect where I am comfortable.
Many painters try to completely visualize their paintings before they paint, even selecting the title before they start.I follow a different process. draw a rough drawing of the surface , and then start filling in the forms and lines, spaces and colors.