How long does a painting take to complete?
It, of course, depends on the painting but the three paintings in the Nova Roma series took six years. The hippodrome painting specifically took three years.
Why do you work on paintings that take so long to complete?
That isn’t my intention when I start them but the subject matter of these particular paintings required more labor than a typical painting would.
Why are you doing these paintings about Constantinople?
These particular paintings are a subset of a larger series I am currently working on. I had to start somewhere so I thought I would start with these.
What reference material did you base the Constantinople paintings on?
I used various sources both written and visual. Since Constantinople (now Istanbul) no longer looks the way it did 1500 years ago I relied on written accounts detailing what the author saw first hand or conjectured and the research and reconstructions done by other artists. For the view of the city and basic layout of the hippodrome I primarily relied on the reconstructions at byzantium1200.com
Where are your paintings exhibited?
Currently, on the walls of my studio.
Do you sell your paintings?
I would love to sell my paintings but unfortunately I have so much labor in the current ones that they would be cost prohibitive to most buyers. However, I do have prints available for purchase through this website.
Why don’t you have more paintings to show on your website?
Partly because of how long the recent ones have taken to complete but also because for about twenty years, with a couple of exceptions, I stopped painting all together.
Who are your favorite artists?
It’s a pretty long list but at the very top would have to be Jean-Leon Gerome, William Bouguereau, John Singer Sargent and Norman Rockwell.
Did you go to art school?
Yes. I went to California State University Fullerton studying primarily under Don Lagerberg.
Are these real paintings or are they digital?
100% hand painted acrylic. I created my reference material through the use of digital tools but the paintings themselves are completely hand painted from start to finish.
Why do you work in acrylic instead of oil?
Primarily because it’s the medium I’m used to working in but also because it allows me to work in a completely solvent free environment.
If you don’t make your living as a painter how do you make a living?
For the last 32 years I have been working in the field of visual effects as a matte painter.
Why do you start your paintings in black and white first?
I’ve actually only done the last one and a half paintings that way. I painted the lower half of the Hagia Sophia painting in shades of gray because that part of the building was fairly monochromatic anyway and I knew I could add color later with glazes. For the hippodrome painting, because of the detail I knew it would require, I decided to paint the whole thing in shades of gray (except for the sky) and glaze in the color afterwards. It worked so well that I might just keep working that way from now on.
Why does the film about the hippodrome painting look like it was made back in the 1970’s?
I grew up in the 70’s and one thing I always loved in school was watching the 16mm educational films that were shown occasionally in class. So instead of making a film that was strictly a stop motion movie showing the progression of a painting, I thought it would be more fun to watch if it were seen within the context of being part of a larger fictional educational series on artists.
Where did you get the music for the film?
I put the film together as I was working on the painting so I didn't know how long it was going to be until it was finished. Initially I was going to use a piece of music by Claude Debussy but it was only ten minutes long and I eventually realized that the film was going be much longer than that. At that point I contacted Alexander Nakarada who wrote the music I used for the previous video I made about the Hagia Sophia painting. I told him I was going to need a custom score written specifically for this film and he was eagerly on board from that moment on. What he has written is truly astonishing and made what would have been a tedious film to watch into something mesmerizing and beautiful.