I was born and raised in Wisconsin and, even though I haven't lived there for nearly 30 years, I still feel deeply connected to the land, water and people there. While growing up, I never thought about "becoming" an artist. I always just figured I was one. I attended four colleges before graduating from the American Academy of Art in Chicago. For now I hold the title of Master Artist at Hallmark Cards, and my life is devoted entirely to painting and teaching. My personal philosophy is “Life beats down and crushes your soul, but art reminds you that you have one.” Through my workshops, I help reconnect people to their creative impulse and help them recover their hearts. In this click-and-get-it now world, it's really important to take time for reflection, and creating art is a great conduit for it. The creative process can be humbling, but it can also be just the invitation needed in order to enliven a life. My own painting style is influenced by a host of people, everyone from my kindergarten teacher to Andrew Wyeth, John Singer Sargent and Winslow Homer. I'm also deeply grateful to my wife and four kids for their encouragement and inspiration.