I have studied work by other artists my entire adult life. When I started painting, I began studying painters in all media much more closely, and continue to do so. In my opinion, to avoid studying how other artists handle composition, light, value, color, brushwork and edges is a foolish short-changing of one’s artistic development. My small reference library ranges from Rembrandt, the Hudson River School, Russell and Remington, N.C. Wyeth, and the French impressionists, to the fantasy art of Frank Frazetta, and the wonderful work of the American illustrators of the twentieth century. It also contains books that are more instructional or inspirational by a variety of modern day artists. I often revisit the work of Corot, Turner, and Constable, and of course, great American painters like Andrew and N.C. Wyeth, as well as Innes, Homer, Bierstadt, Church, Durand, Chase, and Sargent. California urban landscape painter William Wray once told me that he believes the wider the range of influences one is exposed to, the more likely they are to develop their own personal, unique style. I agree with him.
I value pastellists for their bold strokes of wonderful color. I am fascinated by the way a watercolorist can say so much with a single transparent wash. I study oil and acrylic painters, trying to understand their subtle color/temperature variations and expressive brush strokes. When it comes to gouache, one of the greatest users of the medium, in my opinion, was French artist Eugene Galien Laloue. In terms of current day gouache painters, the names Thomas Paquette, Nathan Fowkes, Marc Hanson, and Erik Tiemens come immediately to mind. I consider myself to be in good company.
The past is a valuable resource. What has come before can lead us into future work. I gladly allow myself to be influenced.