|A Brief Autobiography
by Tom Lubchenco
oil on canvas
(winner of the "Moolick Award" for professional painting in the 2000 Glenwood Springs Fall Art Festival)
| When I was in my third year at the University of Colorado Medical School, I belatedly followed the philosopher's dictum to know thyself, deciding that I would rather be a painter than a doctor, whatever the consequences. The constraints of time forced a decision. Though I had done well there, I chose to exit, ending my formal education.
As a painter I am self-taught. I have learned by trial and error and have made many messes. I believe that drawing is the crucial element. If one can mix good colors and draw with them, then one's imagination can be served. Push eyeballs around with composition, and paint in poetry, not prose.
I have learned from nature, and having said that I am self-taught, of course I have borrowed from other painters. To a point, you are what you steal. (That's original.) Painters I admire, even if I cannot incorporate their notions, include: Turner (for elevating colors to a high pitch, without contrivance or gaudiness, and for the dissolution of details in light . . . unlike Rembrandt, for example, who dissolved details in darkness), Moran (for the same use of color that made Turner temporarily exempt from oblivion), Picasso (the painter of the century because he drew so well), Vermeer, Sargent, Cezanne (whose apples one could use as hammers), local Dan Sprick (whimsical poetry, exhilarating use of color, damned difficult subjects) . . .
There have been diversions. Music nipped at my heels. I know those three chords and horsed around in bands. And I have two beautiful kids, which slowed it down awhile.
But I can't help myself, and Ruth, my loving wife, has encouraged me to paint. In the local art scene, including local shows and restaurant walls, I have sold many paintings, won numerous awards, and have had paintings handsomely displayed in the local papers. Recently, in an intrepid foray, one of my paintings was named a finalist in the American Artist Realism Today competition and was reproduced in the October 2000 issue. Leaning over and trying hard to make pictures that are nourishing to not only artists but to everybody, I take these modest successes as an indication that my work is indeed edible.
I use my brains and my hands, endeavoring to create durable goods.