Growing up as a young man in the High Plains of Texas, classical or fine art was never a consideration within my family.
My Mother, however, was constantly a creative influence within the family. She never considered herself an artist, but she was always making something beautiful. Whether designing and creating needlepoint, or lining all of the kitchen drawers with samples of colored linoleum, or melting chunks of colored glass in a kiln to cover coffee table tops, her mind was constantly buzzing with ingenious outlets, and her hands were always making something. She never discouraged her children from making things.
My Grandmother learned to paint with oils in her 60s in Taos, New Mexico after the death of my Grandfather. This gave rise to many visits to Taos and an early exposure to the fine art of Northern New Mexico. My family believed that you surrounded yourself with tasteful objects and that it was even better if you designed and created them.
During my teens, becoming a Boy Scout and participating in an Indian dance group led to a lifelong interest in the life, culture and art of the American Indians. I marveled how they created wonderfully beautiful objects out of raw materials drawn from nature. Porcupine quills, leather, feathers, horsehair, shells and trade beads acquired from occasional contact with white traders became the resources for decorating everyday objects. Pictographs, petroglyphs, and ancient pottery demonstrate that designs and decorations were a constant companion for thousands of years. Inspiration began with nature, but always evolved into a naturalistic abstraction.