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We are a Mother, Daughter, Father team of artists! We each have our own stories (Jennifer, Susan, Douglas) that have molded us and changed our work into the unique styles that we have, but what’s really interesting is that we also have one story together!
You might be wondering how a father, mother and daughter all became professional artists? We wonder too! The first thing is that we have a common passion for the painted word. Sure, we nurture and support each other and each other’s creativity but how did it all happen? What came first? Well, if you put it that way, Susan came first as she studied fine art in college. It isn’t that Douglas was not aspiring to be an artist at the time, but they met and fell in love at first sight (which is a whole other story) and wanted to get married and have kids right away, so he got side tracked by his fatherly and husbandly responsibilities. Susan kept studying while having the babies (all three of them: boy, girl, boy). When Jennifer was about four, Susan met Ron Lukas, a master painter in the Russian impressionist style (which is simply painterly painting with strong value and good color harmony), and so her real study began. Susan came home from her classes with Ron, woke Douglas up and talked art till the wee hours of the morning. Good thing they were young! Douglas began to learn the artist thought process by listening and processing the lessons and ideas that Susan brought home. After Susan put the kids to bed, she would paint late into the night. Once again, looking back, she’s glad she was young. Only a fire and passion like hers could have done that, inspiring those around her. Douglas was also taking classes when he had time. They soon met their second mentor, William F Reese and his wife Fran. A long friendship developed between the two couples that nurtured and matured Douglas and Susan’s art judgment and skills.
Susan and Douglas believe a well-rounded general education demands drawing skills, so as Susan’s ability developed, she began teaching the kids. They say that the difference between the kids and their learning to draw was simply Jennifer’s focus and interest. At two years of age they could tell that Jennifer was profoundly interested in art. They would give her markers (because she didn’t misuse them) and white paper and she would kneel on the wood floor (still in diapers) and begin to make patterns. She would start on one end of the room with the first paper. When she was "done" with that she would move on to the next paper eventually lining them up like a train around the house. The remarkable thing to them was, firstly, her ability to focus on this for hours and secondly that her pages would all be different in color and pattern, but they would somehow all work together.
Of course, growing up Jennifer had the influence of hanging out with great artists of our time and at a very young age of four years old began sitting for them while they painted, learning a lot from just listening while she sat. By 8, she had done her first plein air painting. At 10 she attended a 3-day (9 hours each day) figure drawing workshop taught by Henry Stinson (a good family friend) with her parents. When she was 13, Henry took her on and became her mentor until the age of 18, when he told her to go find a gallery. While she felt there was much more to learn and would go on to take workshops from many influential artists, she followed his advice. Susan took Jennifer to the gallery that was representing her in Scottsdale (the Long Gallery), and the owner immediately set up a Mother-Daughter show that started Jennifer’s career.
After the kids were raised, Doug started painting full time in 2000 and worked side by side in Susan’s studio working with her to round out and hone his skills. He was showing in galleries by 2002 which seems like warp speed unless you count the years being a "closet" artist, taking classes, plein air painting, drawing and talking art with all of their painter friends. At this point Douglas’ love affair with nature and single-minded focus steered him outdoors into the plein air experience, developing as a serious landscape artist. The whole development of the three, with their different situations in life to deal with made all three become professional in a relatively short period of time. Susan’s first gallery representation started in 1999, with Jennifer in 2000 and Doug in 2002.
Setting our individual styles aside, it is fair to say that our story as developing artists grew simultaneously. We think the same on things that matter, such as: artists are forever students of painting, that knowledge is power, and that art surpasses all knowledge of the craft. Simply copying nature is not good enough. Artists must interpret nature. All paintings should be beautiful even if the subject isn’t. Paintings should inspire, evoke emotion and/or be exciting. They should be a visual experience, a visual communication between the painter painting and the viewer viewing. We believe an artist should paint their own vision. And as Rudyard Kipling penned that each artist shall "work for the joy of working, and each in his separate way, shall draw the Things as he sees it for the God as things as They are."
We feel that our relationships as father, mother and daughter are a rich combination of the family we share, our passion for art, the excitement of running our businesses, good food, good coffee and just plain fun. We hope while exploring our website, you enjoy seeing the world as we view it and bump into something that inspires your own vision.
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