Bear with me! You may have noticed already that I tend to ramble on a bit & be a bit too personable. I've learned to tone it down somewhat, over the years, living in this part of New England, but it persists... So, read on at your own risk... or don't. As I mentioned on my home page, I’ve always had this left brain tilt toward the artistic, creative side. Kind of an enjoyable, uncontrollable passion that seeps in & permeates your life, changing how you see, feel, & do most things. Ever since doodling some “Murf the Surf” style cartoons at around 14 years old, I’ve always had this urge to draw, sketch, paint, put something down on paper or whatever surface, to conceptualize, to make real, what I see in my minds eye. I can’t say that I’ve had any formal training in art aside from art club in high school & a couple art classes in college, but art has saturated my life for a long time now. From the art scene in schools, I later dove into the art scene in Honolulu, Hawaii & Aspen, Colorado for 10 years as a gallery hand & picture framer for several art galleries & frame shops there. I’ve set up many a show, been to many openings, & met & worked with a multitude of artists using all types of mediums, some famous, some not so much so, but should have been. And, needless to say, I framed A LOT of artwork. During those years I got to know some of the art professors & instructors at the University of Hawaii Art & Photo Dept. & I spent a lot of time there soaking up what they were willing to teach me in their spare time about techniques, styles, etc. I picked up a lot of information, & learned much of the art trade during those great, creative times. In 1980 I moved up to Vermont with my wife, who called it home. After spending those formative years in Hawaii, Vermont was a bit of a change, but 40+ years later I call it home too. You can call it Maidstone, Vermont, located in the Northeast Kingdom, in the least populated county, Essex, of the 2nd least populated state. We built our own home here one summer, doing all the work ourselves, inside & out. We have continued to expand & maintain it over the years with a sun-room, framing shop/studio, porch, deck, larger yard, flower & vegetable gardens, during our busy summer months. Very satisfying work! It's a wonderful rural area surrounded by inspiring forests, mountains, lakes, streams and wildlife. So thick & lush in summer... greener then Hawaii even and a sight to behold in fall. So quiet & pristine in winter, as to take your breath away, which it often does.
N.E. Vermont affords a more simple, laid back lifestyle... away from the hustle, congestion, traffic, & stress of city life. A great place to raise a family, but often times, hard to find work, as there just isn't that many jobs or businesses around. Around 83’ I did a series of about 10 pastel paintings which I showed at a local (40+ miles away) art gallery. Sales were not as brisk as I had hoped, but then the market for art work here certainly wasn't the same as a bustling downtown art gallery.
Soooo…. around 87’, I dove into experimenting with that new fangled thing called a computer. I got myself an Amiga 500 with Digi-Paint, & delved into the realm of digital art. AMAZING! This was an endless source of new information & techniques at my fingertips & led to bigger & better machines, & of course, constant upgrades to programs like Photoshop & Painter. New 3D art, design, & animation programs really opened up new realms to explore, as computer use began to explode into the population. Company work led to desktop publishing, database work, & Web Design, which I later did freelance for about 5 years, locally & online. Which, eventually, led to the first decent paying job I’ve had up here, as an Information Systems Specialist in the Information Technology department of a local health care firm for 6+ years. I thought I'd retire there, but... alas... as the saying goes... "Any (corporate restructuring) excuse in a storm". For the third time in 30 years, I found myself unemployed due to "recessions" in a seemingly more recession proof area of the country.
Bright side of it all is, I find plenty of time now to follow my passion for pastel art & web design. (I bet you were wondering when I'd get back around to pastels, as that IS the point of this website. 8-) So far, I'm doing most of my pastel work inside, at easel, during those long dark winter days, after those busy summer & fall months. As always, I’m inspired by nature & the pastels I have pictured in my head, but often use many of my photographer brother-in-laws photos for references.
There you go!... my life in 6 short paragraphs. Whew! Not bad considering what started looking like a autobiographical novel. But.... a couple more things I'd like to mention.
About 15 years ago, my wife Mary, decided to expand her freelance business "Maidstone Paperworks", to include picture framing so as to help her brother, Photographer Roger Irwin, with his blooming photography business. So I taught her all I knew of picture framing & set her up with a basic in home shop. She has since taken the shop & the picture framing business far beyond anything I had done in the old days, with conservation & preservation techniques for artwork, & using the latest in archival materials. She has become the local go to person for proper picture framing & matting. To see how & what she does, please visit her site at Mary Richardson Preservation Picture Framing.