My earliest memory of my involvement in art was on the kitchen floor of my parent’s home tracing animals from books and magazines. I think I was about five years old. From then on art became an important aspect in my life. At seven I got my first set of colored pencils and some “color in the numbers” pieces. From there I graduated to oil paint by numbers. Once I conquered the skill of keeping the paint in the lines, the work became tedious. I purchased my first set of oil paints, brushes, canvas panels and some “how to” instruction booklets and began freehand painting, mostly seascapes and landscapes. That carried me well into college but not majoring in art. Instead, my high school guidance counselor convinced me to go into mechanical engineering as commercial artists did not make any money. After two and one half years of engineering I became bored and my grades suffered. I switched to art and immediately my whole outlook changed.In college I took classes in design, painting, drawing, ceramics, metal sculpture and photography. My interest in photography grew and I decided to get an advanced degree in photography. Working and living in San Francisco gave me the opportunity to document my experiences there. I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the San Francisco Art Institute. I loved the 35mm black and white work. It was a whole new way of seeing; documenting life within the film rectangle. I had a few shows and felt that I wanted to pursue a Masters degree in photography.
At the same time my culinary career was burgeoning. I had the opportunity to run a kitchen at a seafood restaurant in San Francisco and I was accepted into the Masters program at the Art Institute but decided that I needed to work for a couple more years to focus my photography. I then had the opportunity to go to Florida to open a seafood restaurant there with friends. With the intention of coming back to San Francisco I helped open the restaurant and got the staff trained. By that time though I had made friends and was into the new lifestyle.
The immediate impression to me was the huge change in landscape. Gone was the urban chaos. Gone was the intimate relationship with the city. The new landscape was broad and flat, but I immediately noticed that it was disappearing. Progress was destroying the huge citrus groves. In there place, strip malls were rising like water from a flood. Somehow the 35mm format did not fit the vastness of the Florida landscape. I purchased a 4 x 5 view camera and began documenting the landscape with it.
That whole process got me thinking about painting again. I set up a studio and started painting and photographing. My art was thriving at least emotionally. This continued for a few years and family matters brought me back to Connecticut. I continued to paint and the chef work continued to expand as well. I ran a California style restaurant and then expanded my repertoire in a French and Northern Italian restaurant. Meanwhile a masters degree was tugging at my brain. I applied and was accepted into the Masters program at the University of Connecticut.
It was there that I somehow had the urge to learn fly fishing. I joined a local fly fishing club, took some lessons in fly tying and soon became hooked. I went on a club sponsored trip to the Salmon River in upstate New York. It was there that lead me to the discovery of Atlantic Salmon Flies. I took a few lessons and soon was so infatuated with salmon fly tying that it became an obsession. I was still painting at the time but soon realized that salmon fly tying was going to supplant the painting. The rest is history now.