Are you inspired by other artists work?
My love of fine oil painting reaches back to my education as fine arts painter at Syracuse University. For me, the most important issue about painting is not the printed image, but what a person takes away when experiencing the original work. I moved to New York to be near its wonderful museums, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Frick Museum, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Pierpont Morgan Library, and Museum of Modern Art. I still spend many afternoons visiting my favorite artists -- Hans Memling, Jan Van Eyck, Velazquez, Caravaggio, Vermeer, Mondrian, Rembrandt, Rubens and Titian. I strive to comprehend their complexity and bring that into my work. There is nothing so impressive to me as standing in front of a huge Velazquez that is 12' wide and 9' tall with fully life-sized figures! (I actually made a pilgrimage to the Prado Museum in Spain to see that one.) Or I will spend long stretches of time gazing into the minute details of a tiny Van Eyck, 8" by 12", bumping my nose on the glass straining to see details almost invisible to the eye. It is the combination of classical aesthetics with my love of Modern abstraction that I attempt to meld into one art form in my paintings. You can see these influences in some of my illustrations. For example the woman Cartographer is inspired after Lorenzo Lotto's portraits; the dense compression of figures in Faramir at Osgiliath are the melding of Caravaggio-like renderings with the surface patterning of a Pollack; and the vertical columns in Ashling recall Barnet Neuman while building upon the atmospheric illusions of Van Eyckian perspectives.
Which painter would you go back in time to watch painting?
Diego Velazquez would be my choice. To witness both his working methods in oil technique and to speak to him regarding the psychological structure of narrative story telling.