Why Paint Sporting Scenes?

‘Why do you paint sporting scenes?’ seems to be the question I am most frequently asked when I’m at a show or among clients. I actually first started out painting automotive art. Cars are a passion of mine and I felt it only natural to paint them. But fly-fishing and the outdoors are also a strong part of my life and not long after I started my career as an artist I found myself drawn to these subjects as well. It didn’t take long to leave the automotive art behind and shift my focus completely to sporting art and wildlife paintings.

A dear friend and fishing buddy of mine was actually the first person to ask me to do a painting, which focused on him fly-fishing the East Branch of the Croton River in southern New York State. I truly enjoyed this experience and soon found myself more and more drawn to all aspects of the sporting life. As the word got out, commissions followed from anglers asking to be painted as they fished their favorite stretch of river. Not long after, my interest to collect angling books and memorabilia also started. This inspired my hunting and fly-fishing still life paintings. Naturally, enjoying the outdoors meant learning and enjoying the beauty of the natural surroundings. So I began to include wildlife art to my list of subjects to paint. About two years after starting to paint wildlife scenes I was accepted as a member of the Society of Animal Artists. This was a wonderful experience. Not only did I show my paintings alongside some of the finest wildlife artworks in the US and abroad but I got to meet some fine artists. Some have, remained, years later, good friends like Mark Susinno of Pennsylvania.

I find tremendous pleasure in the beauty of a sunset along the bank of a river. I prefer walking along a nature trail viewing the wildlife than walking the streets of a big city. Yellowstone and Glacier are places I need to visit. So it just seems natural that I should paint what I enjoy.

When doing an angling oil painting or watercolor I tend to focus more on the river than on the angler. The movement of the water, the color, the reflections are what inspire my paintings. To me the angler is merely a part of this larger “canvas.” This also holds for the wildlife scenes I have painted over the years. I detest scenes where the animal seems to be posing in a “studio” setting. So whether it’s an angler on a river or an elk in a field, to me the most important aspect is the light, the composition and the land I am portraying first and foremost.

As the years pass I find that each outing on a river becomes even more special than the last. I feel the need to express these emotions in my sporting scenes paintings and I am certain that this is something I will continue to do and enjoy for a long time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *