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If you have talked to me during the past few months, you will know that I am very happy with my career NOW. Not that I haven’t been happy with my career during the past thirty years, I have, but now I am where I have always wanted to be.
When I first started my career, every painting for every publication was a challenge and a step forward. At one time early in my career, I want to see just how many publications I could do a cover for. I also dabbled in comics, which I really enjoyed, but I knew that painting was my real challenge and pleasure. After around eighteen years of publication work, I knew that my true joy was painting what I wanted to paint, not simply being an illustrator which made me a tool to be used by an art director or a client with money. But I was trapped, in a way, by my occupation itself, I wanted to paint, I did enjoy illustrating, but I couldn’t just stop and start doing my own thing and hope that every month I could sell a couple of paintings to pay the bills. Soon my children were in high school and then college. So I had to keep illustrating. I tried to take on jobs that would give me more freedom to inject my own ideas, but they were few and far between. I guess, because of my upbringing, I had a very hard work ethic and, as I was taught, if someone is paying you good money to work for them, then do what they want and please the “boss” so that you would not loose your job. Both my parents are still alive, my father is 88 and my mom is 83, they grew up during the great depression, in rural Kentucky…so it was hard and work was scarce or non-existing. Just hard work on the farm to stay alive. So, I took their advice and that was my approach to every job in life. After college and the army I started my career as an illustrator and that was my work ethic–I did what I was told. On a few occasions I would argue with the art director, trying to convince him to let me do the job a little bit more “my way”…but I didn’t argue too much, I had to make a living and he was the “boss”. I always looked up to those illustrators that would argue and had the attitude do the art their way or not at all. Many of these guys were single or their families hadn’t grown enough to be in high school or college, so it seemed, to me, that the paycheck was not as important them. So I am guilty for not standing up for my thoughts and ideas on many many jobs.Read More