How did you first get involved in art?
I have many memories of drawing, copying, and doodling as far back as I can remember. However, the focus on improving any drawing skills began in 6th grade, when classmates began paying for those drawings.
In 1980 I began working in computer graphics, long before the days of personal computers and Apple products, and was a creative directive for several decades in video, animation, multi-media, internet, and publications.
In my spare time I still painted for my own pleasure. Over the years, I would occasionally submit paintings to juried competitions, a couple of times winning awards. In 2006, I joined the Gateway Gallery Artist Cooperative in Clayton, MO which provided incentive to paint and a venue for displaying my work. My paintings were also on display at the Argonne Gallery in Kirkwood. These relationships helped me grow as an artist and introduced me to many of the fine artists in St. Louis.
What drawings did your friends pay for?
When I was a kid, I was drawing superheroes, hot rods, spaceships, and then moved on to copying Salvador Dali's melting watches and exploring subject matter in the realm of the surreal. One of my friends actually submitted a drawing I did of Superman into a local after-school TV show as his own drawings, and the host pointed out how good it was. Some friend! My interests soon moved on to realistic depictions of whatever subject interested me.
Do you have an academic history or any art-training?
There has been no formal art training other than a couple of night classes I took in the mid-70’s to learn the basic techniques of etching and lithography, and to have free access to the presses and tools. Those student efforts were noted by several awards, and in one case, a brief display in the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Most of my paintings are referenced by my experiences, places I have visited, and subject or scenes that intrigue me. Inspiration often comes from the simple desire to learn or refine a technique, to capture a visual or lighting effect, or to put on canvas something that moved my emotions. This can be very personal for me, and whether or not those emotions come through can only be judged by the viewer.
My favorite paintings are almost all by representational artists. Those paintings demonstrate excellent draftsmanship, technique, craftsmanship, and are true to the subject matter. This is not to say that I cannot enjoy artwork that is non-representational. Craftsmanship alone will draw me to any piece of artwork, regardless of the artistic style, medium, or subject matter.
Do you have favorite paintings you enjoy or artist that inspire you?
There are many artists that I admire from various points in history, for the excellence of their work and impact on future artists. Growing up near Washington D.C. gave me access to the many Smithsonian museums where I spent much of my free time. When I visit DC today, I am still drawn to specific genres, artists, and several specific pieces of art every time, including: Frederick Edwin Church's "Niagara" in the Corcoran Gallery of Art; Thomas Moran's "The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone" and Albert Bierstadt's "Among the Sierra Nevada, California" in the Smithsonian American Art Museum; and Wendell Castle's "Ghost Clock" in the Renwick Museum to name just a very few. The dazzling collection of art inspires me every time I visit. William Harnett, the great American tromp l'oeil painter, produced amazing oil paintings that practically dare the viewer to inspect every square millimeter with a magnifying glass. Vermeer, Hans Holbein, Turner, George Inness, Andrew Wyeth, Norman Rockwell, Edward Hopper, the artists of the Hudson River School, all of the Old Masters, the art from the ancient civilizations... how can there be a favorite?
What is your connection with the Foundry Art Centre? How did you discover it?
Every artist in the St. Louis area is likely aware of the Foundry Art Centre. Over the years, I have been fortunate to have my work accepted into several of the juried shows here.
Over the past few months one of your studio artists, Jody Williams, has been working to establish a local chapter of the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA). By coincidence, my wife and I were visiting the Foundry Art Centre just days before their first meeting. We talked with Jody, and she invited me to come to that meeting and possibly join the group. Participation in this group is encouraging me to explore new subject matter and techniques for creating art. This is a fun group of talented artists and Jody is a fantastic resource for information on botanical art.
What are you currently working on?
There are always a number of paintings in progress - oil, acrylic, and sometimes watercolor. Some sit partially finished for quite a long time while I consider how to move them to the next level of completion. There are a number of portraits of family, several landscapes and seascapes, the start of a series with flowered window boxes as the theme, and plans for many more.
How do you connect with people through your art?
This is a difficult question because my paintings are not created to please an audience. I paint to please/challenge myself, and I am critical of my work, always seeing ways a painting could be improved. Still, it is very gratifying to hear words of praise when a piece is determined to be good enough, for now.
Ed's painting, "Japanese Garden Morning", will be on view in Noticing Nature through March 11, 2016. Another painting of Ed's, "Can't Dodge Decay", has been juried into Impact which opens Friday, March 18, 2016 and runs through Friday, April 29, 2016. Plan on attending the opening reception on March 18, starting at 5:30pm with a special gallery talk by Impact juror, Jane Sauer.
Article by Jillian Schoettle.