What is the first thing that you think or do when you wake up in the morning?
“Often my thoughts aren’t really coherent when I first wake up. The first thing that I do is let the dogs out. I guess, oddly enough, the first thing I always do is make note of what the sky looks like since I mostly paint on location, and since you can’t rely on the weather forecast in central Oregon. I honestly haven’t thought about this much before, but I often find my eyes looking up to the sky. Where I live there is a big open sky so you could see weather coming better than the forecast.”
What makes you whole?
“Jesus. This is a simple answer however it is not simple or small what Jesus accomplished for us. I want to be honest about where the joy in my heart comes from.”
Was there a pivotal moment or experience in your life when you decided to pursue art as a career?
“When I was a kid, I liked to draw pictures. My grandmother was always very encouraging of me. It was when I went to college that I took an art class with Bruce Herman. We became friends and I went to his house. It was through Bruce that I learned there was such thing as an artist. My grandmother was a painter, but I never realized that being an artist was a possible vocation. Number one, Bruce is a follower of Jesus, and number two, Bruce was encouraging but also hard on me because he saw that I had at least a small amount of raw talent. He invited me to his studio, which is where I got hooked. It was where I learned about the things that brought him inspiration and the tools of his trade. Seeing all these things, canvas, a can with brushes, framing equipment in the corner, and other things laying around made me come alive for some reason. Had it not been for Bruce, I wouldn’t have become an artist; he also encouraged me to go to art school.”
Do you have any personal reflection you would like to share about life in “quarantine,” or how you have experienced recent times as a creative person?
“My life hasn’t changed a whole lot, although my career has taken a hit because all of my workshops, art shows, etc. have been canceled. I have been healthier, because I have four kids, and someone always have the sniffles that they bring home from school. So, since that hasn’t been happening, I can’t remember the last time I had a cold!”
What is a flower?
“God’s creation! For me a flower is pretty, but I have a deeper connection because they remind me of my mom. She opened my eyes to see the beauty in flowers. Very often the flowers we would pick on a walk would be an 8th of an inch or less. They are so beautiful, most of the time you would just step on them because they don’t command your attention as a human being would. In the last few years I have been aware of how my parents opened my eyes to things I would have otherwise missed. I want to thank them for this.”
What made you want to participate in this exhibition?
“When Kathryn asks me something, she is one of those people that when she asks me something, I really try to listen and take it in. When she goes to put something together, she has a vision and is so thoughtful. My first thought is, why me? Then I think, okay if you are asking me I trust you that this might be a good fit. I am not interested in doing shows just to do shows. I should be because my wallet is thin, but I am just not. I am foolish about finances, but I am not foolish about knowing what feels right for me, and I trust that Kathryn knows this too.”
Why is this meaningful to you, and what do you seek to communicate in these works?
Eric says, “For me, in general, when I paint flowers, it’s about two things. I decide I want to paint flowers. After that, I think “how can I make a design?” (some people call this composition; you can call it whatever you want). My paintings might look haphazard, but the truth is I spend a lot of time thinking about color harmony and a light dark pattern. I would like people to feel that they just stumbled upon grandmas table. But my paintings are very thought out with regard to design. There is a brain behind it, but I try to put that aside. My goal is to shorten the distance between my heart and my hand. I am not rendering every little blossom, or every wood grain. I am kind of impulsive, all in at first and then tired, so I have had to come to terms with that and embrace it. I am trying to paint the scene loosely and as though you were seeing it at a glance, which is the way we see most of life. We don’t usually stare at things…
It is pretty evident to the educated viewer that I am painting with loose impressionism. The idea is to paint the feeling and not the detail. Where the drawing is a little off, it isn’t because I couldn’t spend more time. A confident stroke in the wrong place is better than a tentative stroke in the right place. This doesn’t give you license to just throw paint around, but you work within the parameters and know when you can leave it.”