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It's difficult for me to explain how I, a songwriter for 40 years of my life, am now equally, if not more excited to write today about my painting.
It's odd. I had no idea that I had any real talent for painting. Honestly. I had tried it five years ago and after a few months of lessons and a few unexciting paintings I gladly returned to my music room.
It was now, well over a year ago when my close friends, Margie Perenchio and Ani Moss asked: if they built and opened a studio/gallery, would I support the gallery by painting there? It was so far in the future it was easy to say yes. You know that kind of 'yes!'
When I painted my first painting there; an abstract that I quite liked, Margie failed to share my enthusiasm.
"Ani and I have been taking lessons for nine years. You can't expect to hang that in our gallery. You go home and paint a self portrait and then we'll see." She said sternly.
Never one to shrink from a challenge, I teamed up with their teacher at the time, Manny Cosentino, to learn how to paint a self-portrait. Although he was urging me to consider a simple apple or banana, or at the very most, the two together, I was determined to show Margie I could do it.
Most surprisingly it turned out reasonably well. Margie, I think, was quite surprised. But not more than me.
That was the beginning. With a wonderful painter and the head of UCLA's graduate art studies, Roger Herman, acting as a mentor, I set out on a journey that has already taken me further than I ever dreamed possible.
Roger turned me on to artists he had taught and thought I might try working with. I learned from Greta Waller and a few others. Out of some wonderful artists I seemed to work best with a graduate student of Roger's named Frank Ryan (a terrific artist currently exhibiting at Walter Maciel Gallery).
Like a sponge, with a few holes in my memory, I began to soak up everything I could learn.
As I said to Frank and Roger, I don't have time to go slow. I'm a late bloomer so I'm putting myself on the fast track.
My passion seems to be in portraits and abstracts; two ends of the spectrum.
I've shown some of my work at LA Art house, and I owe a real debt of gratitude to Margie for pushing me further than either of us thought I would or could go.
My paintings have already found their way into the collections of Michael Chow, Mo Ostin, Steven Spielberg, Joe and Irene Roth, Barbara Davis and Shelli and Irving Azoff, and Sandy Gallin.
Recently I have gotten to spend time with and photograph Eric Fischl, who I am currently painting. I am finishing his portrait this week, and the most amazing thing was being able to send him jpegs of my progress and receive his emails back regarding his reactions. It is so amazing to me that one of my all-time favorite contemporary artists and I are dialoging in this way.
I have just begun a painting of my friend, David Geffen. I am planning to paint David Salle, Ross Bleckner and April Gornick, another amazing artist and Eric's wife.
Others who I still plan to paint are, Nicole Kidman, Nora Ephron, my friend Sandy Gallin, Cesar the 'dog whisperer', Donna Karen, and Arianna Huffington. And in-between each portrait, an abstract to allow me to freely fall in love with the paint itself.
Months ago Roger sent me an article to read from Esquire. It was entitled "Late Bloomers", and spoke of many artists of all sorts, who discovered their talents later in their lives.
To me it only reinforced what I have always believed. If you want to do something enough, do it. If you can dream it, you will be entirely surprised at what may happen.
It all begins with daring yourself to take the first step. In my case it was dipping a clean paint brush in to some beautiful color paint and applying it to the canvas.
I would be very interested in hearing from some other "late bloomers".
It sure goes a long way in keeping our today's and our tomorrows exciting.