Art


 

My mom was an artist who loved to paint, so I grew up around paints, canvases, and her creative works. I've always liked painting portraits, maybe because they require more precision than still lifes or landscapes (you can be off a little bit painting an apple on a plate, and everyone still knows it's an apple, but if you miss your subject's nose by a millimeter, it becomes a painting of a totally different person).

I've always liked trying to be precise with my hands, which is probably the reason I ended up with a career in surgery. Doing portraits requires a lot of precision.

 

This is the first portrait I ever painted.  It is of my older brother Pete's, daughter Jamie.  I painted the figure from the bottom up, and my technique on the skin went from blotchy on the legs to smooth on the face.  I like the smooth style better and have used it ever since.

 

 

I also prefer realism, probably because I'm still somewhat insecure as an artist. If you create something abstract, you may have to convince people that it's good.

If you paint a portrait, and it is spot on perfect -- almost photographic -- then no one can argue that you're not good, at least technically. In time I hope to explore some more abstract, loose-form styles in painting.

 

 

Above Left:  The latest thing I have done is a portrait of my mentor and family friend, Fred Teal, MD.  It hangs in our office.

Above Right:  Portrait of Casey.

 

Below: Is my only attempt at sculpture (so far).

 

Art Update!

 

2020 has been a horrible year for all of us in so many ways, but, for me, there were a few upsides. The surgery and office schedules slowed down, and that let me make more family dinners, help the kids more with their homework and, after not picking up a paint brush for over a decade, start another portrait project! I had a hard time getting the caps off of some of the old tubes of oil paint, a few of which I hadn’t used for 20 years(!), but, once I got started, I realized how much I really missed it.

The subject this time was my wife. I’m a huge fan of the portrait painter John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), and I had a photo on my phone I took of my wife on a bench using her phone that struck me as very “Sargent-like” in its composition. I especially liked the angles her arms and legs made, and the phone is such a ubiquitous element in all of our lives these days, it seemed like the perfect “time stamp” for a painting that I hope our kids and their kids will enjoy.

When I took the photo, the kids and I were standing in a ridiculously long line waiting to get tickets for the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut. My wife had the brilliant idea of getting on her phone and ordering us all tickets on line. A few seconds after I took this photo, we were able to bypass the line and waltz right in with our e-tickets. (She’s not just beautiful, she’s smart, too!)

I've always liked trying to be precise with my hands, which is probably the reason I ended up with a career in surgery. Doing portraits requires a lot of precision.