Maui Watercolor Artist Eddie Flotte: Biography
As I sit down now to begin my updated autobiography as part of a newly designed website, it is early fall 2011. I am looking back at what, I think, would have to be called a fun and productive life. First of all, I have lived on Maui for the last 26 years. In that time, I have produced a large, growing body of watercolor paintings that tell an in depth story about the world I see. Those paintings have sustained me, graced my life, shaped my identity, and justified my existence. My paintings and reproductions hang in private collections all over the world, including five in the collection of the Hawaii State foundation for the Arts.
My Rock and Roll band "Eddie and the Promises" has been performing on Maui for the last four years. It is a spin-off of my last band "Hot Apple Pie," which spun off from "The Rising Icons."
I've written and recorded a long catalogue of original songs. I've spent years surfing, snowboarding, Jiu Jitsu training, and soccer coaching. I studied French in Paris, traveled the USA, been through Italy, Corsica, Greece, Yugoslavia, Germany, and Great Britain.
I have been published in magazines, newspapers, and featured on television and radio, both as musician and painter. I've illustrated two published children's books.
I look at all of this with gratitude and wonder how it all worked out so well.
Please allow me to put my best foot forward, take this opportunity to blow my own horn a bit and provide some biographical facts... at least the ones that paint me in a favorable light.
I was born in 1956 and grew up with my parents and four sisters in the small factory town of Ambler, Pennsylvania in Montgomery County. Ambler is a borough nestled along the Wissahickon Creek about 25 miles north of Philadelphia. It has a long and colorful history; the architecture is beautiful, ornate, and varied.
The streets of Ambler were crowded with kids of all ages playing touch football and kick-the-can, or moving in swarms to and from school. In the winter, ice skating on the Wissahickon Creek, snowball fights, and sledding down the middle of steep, snowy streets were epic events.
Everyone in Ambler was connected either through family, church, or neighborhood. My grandmother, my aunts, uncles, and cousins all lived within a three block area.
We attended Saint Joseph's Catholic Elementary School where we were educated by the strict, disciplinary hand of the good Sisters of Saint Joseph. There were a few of us in every classroom.
It was a strong, proud, and close-knit community. The kids growing up there were sent out to fend for themselves in a perpetual proving ground of competition.
In contrast, my father had grown up in the country a few miles away, in a peaceful, rural area called Center Square. It was a welcome change of pace for my sisters and me to spend time there with our grandparents during weekends and summers. Life in Center Square was ideal. We flew homemade kites and drank lemonade from shiny tin cups of assorted colors. Over the meadow and through the woods was a populated pond of bluegills. The pond sat against a country ice cream shop called Mckelvey's. Eating ice cream cones, feeding ducks, catching sunnies, and counting barn swallows was routine activity. Winters we skated on the frozen ponds.
Everything about Center Square was of a time gone by. The paint was chipped, the upholstery and wallpaper were worn and faded. It was a world of cut glass and crocheted doilies. The drawers and closets were filled with nostalgia. I could stand for hours examining the buttons and pins, tops and gyroscopes, corkscrews, penknives, skeleton keys, skate keys, kazoos and whistles, dice, or dominoes in their kitchen junk drawer.
Pathways of time were visible across the kitchen linoleum and hardwood floors. A 1938 Zenith console radio stood in the dining room. I remember singing songs along with Elvis and The Everly Brothers. There was an oldtime general store just down the road with shotguns and 22s hanging from the ceiling. The fire house where my father had driven the engine and run the water pumps until he was married, was just up the road. My grandfather hurried out with his flashlight, to direct traffic, night or day, whenever the fire whistle blew.
It was a living Norman Rockwell illustration. My sisters and I were firsthand witnesses to all of the elements of any Andrew Wyeth painting. We were first introduced to watercolors at the dining room table at our grandparents' house. We all had a great love for painting, drawing, coloring, and clay. My sisters had patience and skill. I did my best to keep up and to learn from them.
My father played the tenor banjo and the trumpet. He could and would find his way on any musical instrument that appeared. He and my grandfather, a rhythmic extravaganza on bones and spoons, were natural performers. They were regulars in the fire house stage productions... usually minstrel shows. My father recognized my interest in music at an early age and started me on the guitar.
He taught me his favorite string band tunes and insisted that I practice and perfect them. We routinely tortured visitors to our home with our repertoire. He also had a great knack for drawing, block lettering with cast shadows, perspective, and cartooning. The concepts he taught me then are still the fundamentals that ground me today.
My mother was a passionate believer in perseverance. "If at first you don't succeed" was her mantra. I found her drawing kit, "Learn to Draw with Jon Gnagy." I am sure it was hidden just where she knew I would find and claim it. She always left a blank paint-by-numbers canvas hidden away for me to find. There was a copybook full of her original poems. They all rhymed and I liked that. Finding it was another great influence on me; if she could do it, I could do it. While I struggled to read, I somehow liked to write.
My sisters were all Dean's List, straight "A" scholars, always at the very top of their class, model students. I was way behind with no chance of keeping up. Homework was a curse. Self control in the classroom was an impossibility. The arts became my way through; people no longer seemed to worry about all the things I wasn't and instead they noticed the thing I was. I wrapped my entire identity around it. I knew art was my ticket and I latched right onto it.
At Archbishop Kennedy High School in Conshohocken I was overjoyed to find they offered art as an elective. In place of world cultures, studying The Ming Dynasty with its endless emperors, places, and dates, I could be happily at work in the art room with an opportunity to grow and maybe shine. It made the caged feeling of high school tolerable.
My father passed away very young, halfway through my sophomore year. Any attempt I was making to stay in line was entirely an effort not to disappoint him. When he left this world, I began to bend the rules. By the end of the semester, Archbishop Kennedy High School wanted me gone. I switched to public high school for 11th and 12th grades where no one seemed to notice when I missed my classes. When I camped out all day in the art room, no one ever objected. Graduation day felt like a set up, as if someone in charge had made a mistake. I expected that seconds before handing me my diploma, someone was going to pull me out of line and my charade would be up. That is, to this day, a recurring nightmare. When I graduated from Wissahickon High School in 1974, college was absolutely the furthest thing from my mind.
After a summer at The Jersey Shore and fall in Ambler working as a cook, I hitch-hiked to California to visit a friend. We were close and she was now at the "California College of Arts and Crafts." It was January of 1975. I worked as a house painter and spent most of my free time with her and her student friends, being artsie, eating apples and cheese, drinking wine, acting intelligent, and feeling free. Soon enough though the semester ended and my art student friends all went different ways. With no friends around, I ventured to the Berkeley Campus of University of California on my day off to listen to music and watch the street performers. I met a guy there who invited me to visit his communal home to sing a few songs and eat a good meal. Three weeks later, I was escaping from their farm in Mendocino County through a dense woods in the middle of the night. My efforts to say goodbye and leave through the front gate were futile. I had tried three times that same day, only to find myself surrounded by a hundred crying, pleading, commune folk begging me to stay. I literally escaped and found out later that these "Disciples of Sun Myung Moon" were a cult made up of brain-washed devotees, lured away from home, never to return again. "Cult" to me was a brand new word. I was completely naive on the subject. I actually thought they were nice, hard-working people, with lots of good musicians and lots of good singers, very charismatic, just way too clingy for me.
I hitch-hiked back to Ambler and I was home within a week, waking up my family with a box of Dunkin Donuts. I got a job right away tending bar in a local tap room just outside Ambler that was owned by a family friend. Working through the summer and into the fall I was able to bank a bit of money. In late October I took my portfolio to the highly competitive Hussian School of Art in Center City. I wrote a check for a year's tuition and enrolled myself into commercial art college. I rode the train into Philadelphia daily to battle the other very talented and very competitive students, in an effort to put up a winning assignment. Hussian had a brilliant faculty who, besides teaching, all worked in the commercial art field. It was clear everyone was growing at an incredible pace. I know I was. Halfway through my second year, I felt ready to move on. I began looking for a job.
I was hired by the Myron Wasserman Graphics Design group, moved into the city, and worked with him for the next two years. Myron had incredible taste. He was a gifted designer and colorful character who taught me much and included me in every step of his process. We worked together painting murals and super graphics all over the area. I did my part designing elaborate logos, letterheads, business cards, and advertisements. I stayed there as long as I could, to learn; but it was Myron's domain and Myron's vision that mattered. I was anxious to be on my own.
By 1977, I had moved into the artistic, renaissance community of South Street. The area flourished with young artists and musicians. At that time, South Street was the center of everything hip from New York to Baltimore. My apartment was right smack in the heart of it. I played music with various friends and listened to the best bands around at the Legendary JC Dobbs, Five Doors Down. I worked as an illustrator, a sign painter, a muralist, and a street corner portrait artist.
I found steady work creating custom, abstract, installation paintings for a cluster of interior decorators. The work I did on these abstract paintings helped me to develop a fresh and free compositional confidence. A nearby community art program offered life drawing five nights a week. I went religiously. A rotating assortment of models striking 2, 5, and 10 minute poses on a nightly basis, gave me a wealth of practice drawing at a frantic speed.
Early one winter morning I was out on my stoop, waiting for a client. I had been up all night rushing to finish his record cover. Sitting there, I realized that I had been unconsciously drawing the buildings across the street, in my mind. Every little detail noted, proportioned, included, and connected to the next at a pin-ball-like speed. I ran in and grabbed some materials and quickly did two paintings. My client came and went. I remember, I was in an intensely focused state and barely went through the pleasantries to make our exchange. I went inside to look at the new paintings and found that the spirit, the story, the flavor, and the details were all there. They told a narrative tale about the neighborhood and the people who would live there. Of all the light bulb moments in my life, I think this one was the brightest. My life changed course immediately. I stopped needing a client. I stopped offering myself up for hire. Instead, I went about illustrating my own world. It was a bottomless source of inspiration. A joy.
The characters of the neighboring streets and the old forgotten buildings began to jump out at me and I painted them as fast as I could. I had an innate sense for where real beauty was hidden. At least in my own opinion. The South Street Star published a double page spread of some of my paintings. I had completely resigned myself to the fact that I would probably be a starving artist, when suddenly the paintings began to sell.
In all I lived and worked in the city for nine years. By the winter of 1985, I was finally clear about what I wanted to do artistically. I realized I could do it any and everywhere. A friend, John Travis, suggested I move to Maui. Another friend suggested I leave on March fourth so that I could "march forth." That is exactly what I did. I flew to Maui on March fourth, 1985.
This was the perfect time to arrive. On Maui I found a well-developed art community. Most painters saw the harbor, palm trees, beaches, whales and dolphins, flowers and fish. Few artists focused on the old plantation style Maui. I did. That is exactly what I had hoped to find and I found it everywhere.
I started in Paia. First with Horiuchi Market and then the adjacent Chevron station. Friendly people approached me immediately. I worked my way around town seven days a week, visible on the sidewalks, painting it all. People's interest grew. We opened a gallery in town and called it the Eddie Flotte Store.
Paintings sold quickly. Every sale brought a better price. Soon I was including neighborhood characters and the plantation workers out in the cane fields. I focused on Paia for several years. A steady, progressive visible development was evident with each new piece of work. The Maui News put my painting of Mr Brown's Paia Town on the front page of the Sunday paper and my story written by Kauie Goring in the center fold of the "Light Life" section wrapped around a head-to-toe photo of me. I painted with a fervor. I was literally afraid to take a day-off, afraid to lose my momentum.
In 1987 I took a trip to Europe and another in '88. In all, I spent six months. I lived in Paris and ventured out from there. I worked in Montmartre painting store fronts and street characters. I became friendly with many of the street artists who worked on Place du Tertre. I studied French at Alliance Francais and often stopped in Luxemburg Gardens on my way to class. In the garden, I drew old Frenchmen playing checkers. They were always there. Soon they were completely comfortable with me and enjoyed watching me work.
I drew wooden fishing boats in Corsica and Greece. In Cannes I drew sun bathers. In Saint Tropez I drew the harbor. I sketched people everywhere. I rode trains, ferry boats, sailboats, and motor scooters. I spent nights on park benches, in youth hostels, and on deserted beaches. I made friends everyplace I went. I often dream I am there again, on cobblestone streets, making my way through Montmartre, in search of old friends.
I have always been inspired by the paintings of Andrew Wyeth. One day the Maui sculptor, Reems Mitchel, gave me a picture book called "Wyeth at Kuerners." I looked at the book and was instantly obsessed. It illustrated a mesmerizing skill that had little to do with technique or finesse. It was pure passion. I'd studied his work before but never had been able to see it. I could see a man slamming paint down, in a blind fury. It seemed as though he couldn't possibly be a conscious part of the process. Still, every splinter of detail seemed perfectly in place. Naturally, I tried to mimic what I saw.
In the winter of 1989, I took myself to Chadds Ford PA, 'Wyeth Country', in search of Kuerner's farm. I had to see for myself the source of his inspiration. I began working in Chadds Ford, meeting the folks at the local diner "Hank's Place." They all seemed very proud to tell me stories of how they were acquainted with the famous artist. They called him Andy. One morning, while eating at Hank's, I heard the bell hanging above the front door ring, the way it always did. I turned around this time to see the artist clammering through the door and up the step. He was wearing a big green parka and looked like he had just finished raking leaves. I recognized the same twinkling eyes I had seen in an early photograph. The only empty seat was next to me at the counter. He was headed my way.
I think the smile on my face was so genuine that it heightened his friendliness. He greeted me with a smile and we began to talk about painting. I noticed his fingers covered in dark green paint and I followed that lead. I pointed out my portfolio and he was graciously eager to have a look. He stopped at each piece with a comment. There! That! yes! Keep this going! He told me what he felt I was doing right, and he told me what I was doing wrong and then how to proceed. "You are ready," he said. "Don't let anybody box you in," "make quick decisions and put them on paper as fast as you can." "Dark?" I asked. "Vivid," he replied. He grabbed his two fried egg sandwiches "to-go" and was off saying, "I've done three paintings already this morning." "How do you keep warm?" I asked. "I keep the engine running and sit on the hood. It keeps my buns warm," he said with a smile. I sat at the counter beaming. I felt as if everyone had seen what had just taken place, but I never turned around to check. I just tried to make it look like routine activity.
Later in the week a dear woman named Joanie Harutunian, who had been watching me work, approached offering to bring me onto Kuerner's. She said we had to go immediately. It seemed risky to violate Andrew's private domain, and I said so. "Suit yourself," said Joanie. She turned and walked away. I quickly gathered my things and off we went. At Kuerner's, I had the divine pleasure and honor of meeting Anna Kuerner, the subject of some of Andrew's most magical work, and her son Carl. I wandered the grounds all day to see firsthand every corner of what had inspired Andrew. I sat and painted Out Behind Kuerner's.
From the roadside I painted Winter at Kuerner's. Later that week, Othaniel's Porch and Othaniel's Life. My fascination with Kuerner's and Chadds Ford has brought me back to paint many times over the years.
I visit The Brandywine Museum regularly to study Andrew's originals with my nose right to the glass.
In 1992 and '94, I traveled to Florida to find the old fishing villages I had always imagined there. I found Blackburn Point near Sarasota. Buried along the water, hidden by swampy overgrowth, was a cluster of fishing and crabbing boats, old sheds hanging over rickety docks, piles of gill nets, and more.
When I found it, I felt as if I had struck gold. I am always looking for my Kuerner's Farm, a concentration of inspiration, that kind of place where I can just wake up and go, knowing I'll find something new to spark my interest. Here I found such a concentration. I returned again and again until I had touched on it all.
I have visited California three different times on painting expeditions. Trips in '89 and '94 led to paintings in Moss Landing, Monterey, Santa Cruz, Bolinas, Sausalito, and Sonoma County. In '93 I traveled to Los Angeles to see the famous Venice Beach. In a very short time I finished several paintings of the colorful area including some very recognizable characters.
While there, I stumbled into the Kuenstner Brothers Animation Studio. Daniel Kuenstner saw my portfolio and put me to work immediately. He was deep into an animated pilot of Ripley's Believe It or Not. He hired me to paint backgrounds for about ten different scenes. Daniel was a genius. He could draw anything straight off the top of his head. He whipped up animation in the classic Disney style, bringing it to life and made it look easy. What he needed from me were backgrounds that functioned as light stages. He wanted to see his animated Mr Ripley passing in and out of lighted and shaded areas as he walked about his cluttered archives. He demanded lighter lights, darker darks, contrast. He said I should picture a single beam shining through a skylight into a dark room. How would it hit Ripley's desk or wrap over his bookshelves? I appreciated his direction and finally met his needs. It turned out to be a wonderful effect in the finished film. Did I use light in my paintings before then? I guess a little, maybe, in a way; but from then on, it's been a strong, integral effect in almost every piece. My first painting after the Ripley project was "Once Upon a Daze". It illustrates well the new, decisive presence of light.
Our Paia gallery served us for eleven wonderful years. We enjoyed our neighbors, our friends, our community, and our customers. In 1996 a fire brought an end to the era. The fire played out in a way that seemed miraculous. Starting with the man who's name was Mr Good. He, we were told called the fire department at 3 am from the deserted (pre cell phone) streets of Paia, to say a fire was raging up over the top of the old wooden buildings. The fire department raced in and extinguished the fire, but every piece of work was completely dry and untouched. The fire erupted in an electrical socket eight feet from eleven years worth of watercolors on paper and thousands of limited edition prints, my life's work. It burned its way up the wall and then through it, it burned its way out of our gallery and then stayed out. Meanwhile it engulfed the outside of the tinder box structure.
The following day when we were allowed to go in, we saw how the fire had spread across the inside of the gallery, only far enough to touch the baby toe of a tiny guardian angel pin posted on the wall. It didn't spread a hair further. I thought eventually Mr Good would return to see how we had fared, but he never did. We sat for a few days in the aftermath, basking in what felt like waves of residual grace. We took a week to weigh things out and then decided it was time to move on. We moved everything up to our new home in Makawao and hung our sign. These days we show work from our home by appointment. I continued painting in Paia but began more and more to focus on upcountry in Makawao, Kula, and Haiku.
In 1996, I agreed to illustrate Angkat, The Cambodian Cinderella written by Jewell Reinhart Coburn. Over the years I had turned down many offers to illustrate books. I was very happy and fairly successful. The work I was doing came as natural as breathing. I excitedly moved from one piece to the next. I was never uninspired. Jewell had approached me years earlier and I declined, remembering my years as a commercial artist in Philadelphia. Those years were sometimes stressful and creatively blocked. When Jewell called me again in 1996, she must have caught me on the perfect day. I remember I was wanting something fresh. I wanted more recognition. Maybe this book was just the thing. So I agreed. I made clay models on wire armatures. I dressed them in rag costumes and posed them for all of my sketches. I recruited characters from my neighborhood, dressed and posed them in make-shift costumes with paper mache jewelry, and photographed them for my final paintings. By 1998 it was finished, printed, and published by Shen's Publishing with 28 full-color illustrations by yours truly.
With my newly published book in hand, I went back to Pennsylvania for my first extended stay since 1985. I returned to Ambler and began painting as I had wanted to do for years. I think we often pass by the scenes which make up the backdrop of our day-to-day lives and overlook what a powerful part of our consciousness they are. My eye is always on that backdrop. So much of Ambler and the surrounding Montgomery County was etched in the depths of my subconscious. I could stand practically on any street and feel the flood of nostalgia. I worked for the next three months and produced an extensive collection of paintings.
I had the images reproduced and rented a booth just in time for the town's yearly festival. My mother, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins all came out and manned the booth with me. All day the people of Ambler, many of them old family friends, crowded around our booth. The response to the Ambler paintings was infinitely more than I could have even dreamed. They connected to the images in the deep emotional way I had hoped they would, in the way that I did. We sold all of the prints in the first hour. We took orders the rest of the day. It was spectacular. Since then I have managed to get back home often, for 3 to 4 months at a time. I have continued to work there in the surrounding counties and along the Jersey Shore. The body of work is a bounty in itself. I have been selling my prints in stores there and over the internet to the area customers ever since. More than anything I've enjoyed the connection with old friends, family, and the east coast mentality. I feel completely at home there.
In 1995 on a whim, I whipped up a few pages of random fantasy sketches. I had no particular theme in mind. Lots of flying things appeared. Eccentric characters in ultralight-style fantasy kite planes soared through a sky full of floating household objects. A week later I was again just fooling around trying to write some new song lyrics with a fresh approach. I decided to lightly weave together those week-old sketches with some bouncy lyrics... What eventually took shape was a clever little thumbnail mock-up rhyming storybook.
I showed the book here and there but eventually it wound up pretty much just sitting on a shelf in the corner. At that time I called it The Night That Butterfly Flew. Every so often I would do a finished painting from one of the sketches in hopes of producing the finished book. Sometime around 2007, I thought it would be fun to experiment with some of the tools on my computer... tools like I-movie, Photoshop, GarageBand etc. I wanted to see if I could produce a short animation. I started with the first line from The Night That Butterfly Flew. Click by click I began to find my way, gleaning what I could from earlier paintings and painting new things as I went. It was an insane amount of work, so I took every shortcut I could find.
After about six months of working through the night, I wound up with a short animated movie called A Most Adventurous Dairy Cow. It is narrated by an original song set to the melody of "Being for the Benefit of Mister Kite" by The Beatles. It turned out to look very different from what I had originally imagined, nothing like the book, but close enough to finally put the project to bed.
I went on to write several other songs designed to weave ballads through a series of my paintings. Paia My Love, Proud to be Ambler, and Echo Promises of Summer Love can all be seen on this website. Other original songs illustrated with borrowed online images can also be seen on my YouTube channel, along with videos of my band, Eddie and The Promises.
It has been my pleasure to function as a teacher many times over the years... to pre-school, elementary, high school, and college students, to artists, teachers, and privately. I've stopped outdoors in mid-painting to give a lesson to anyone who asked for one. Many of the paintings in the "stuff" category of this site came as a result of teaching demonstrations. They illustrate many of the principles I have come to understand. I used many of the stuffed animals to illustrate my approach to drawing. There are insights to many important fundamentals like perspective, point of view, contour, patterning, volume, depth, space, ambiance, counter balance, and color. I gladly share what I know, or think I know, to anyone who is ready for it. Like with all arts and all disciplines, the more you learn the more you realize that you have only scratched the surface. I believe the best is yet to come.
Countless angels in the form of friends, family, and good Samaritans, have made this life of 'following my heart' possible. Their encouragement, example, patience, forgiveness, and support have carried me. Some I have already mentioned and others I'd like to mention now.
First and foremost, Sandy Cotton, who has unconditionally loved me since the day we met in Lahaina in 1985. Her hard work and counsel, her infinite range of support for me, my dreams, and my work has single-handedly made all of it possible. Every morsel of my success has her loving touch upon it.
Florence Collins and Mary Schacte were tandem art teachers at Archbishop Kennedy High School. They literally brought me out of class to explain that my talent was a gift and that I should seriously consider making art my way of life. From that moment on I never second guessed it. It was they who recommended Hussian School of Art.
Talents like Jamison Smoothdog and Tommy Potts from Philadelphia showed me that art is something that you are, and not something that you do.
John Travis is the founder of the legendary JC Dobbs, which was the most important showcase venue for original music in Philadelphia during the 1970s and '80s. It was John who invited me to Maui and kept me dry during the first rainy month of March when first I arrived. He welcomed me into his home in Haiku and let me base myself with him until the rain finally stopped and I was able to get out and find my way. His encouragement has been a constant influence.
Gay Marshall, whom I met during her Philadelphia tour with "A Chorus Line" in 1983, showed me the true meaning of commitment and dedication to one's dreams. Gay and her husband, Jean Louis Blondeau, welcomed me to stay with them for the six months I spent in Paris. It would not have been possible for me to drift through my days in Europe in such a carefree way without their help. Gay is recognized world wide as an incredible singer, actress, and performer, especially in Paris and New York. You can see some of her performances on YouTube. She recently published the CD "Gay Marshall Sings Piaf." Her husband Jean Louis' photographs are world renowned, especially his documentation of the times of Philip Petite. Together they planned and engineered Philip's high wire walk between the World Trade Centers. Jean Louis is featured in Philip's Academy Award-winning movie "Man on a Wire."
Dave Bullock, who went on to be a phenomenon in the world of animation, graphic novels, and superhero cartoons, worked at Kuenster Brothers during the time I was in LA. He and his brother Sam welcomed me in. I slept on their livingroom couch through the entire Ripley's project. During that time we cooked up one of the most memorable Thanksgiving dinners of my life. It came complete with a back alley game of touch football. I was asleep on their couch on the night the north ridge earthquake of 1993 hit.
Frolic Weymouth is the uncle of my Maui friend, Knox Weymouth. Besides being a great and well-known painter, he is also the driving force behind the Brandywine Museum and Conservatory. Frolic drove me around the Chadds Ford landscape in a horse-drawn carriage explaning to me his family history in the area dating back to the Revolutionary War. He told me Andrew Wyeth was his best friend on earth. He is the protector of the art of Andrew and his father N.C. Wyeth's archives along with much of the work of Maxfield Parish and Howard Pile, to name a few. He allowed me to sit in his barn for the next three days painting Frolic's Horse Hopefully and Sexy and Lustful. At one point he came out to look. He took my pencil from my hand and redrew his horse's shin. Remembering that always makes me smile.
Most importantly, I want to mention and thank my family. They are, by far, my toughest critics and loyal advocates. Their love and tolerance is the cornerstone of my life.
I am forever appreciative of Betsy and Donny Kohn, my sister and brother-in-law, for opening their home to me on my many open-ended visits back east. To call it "hospitality" would not even begin to describe their generosity. They provided me with everything I could have possibly needed to feel at home. Even more, they made me feel welcome and loved. I could not possibly have experienced visiting, working, and staying back east in such a fun and free way without their support. Thank you a million times over.
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