In case all of you are wondering where are my latest paintings, here's what's been happening. There is an old saying "Time to go back to to drawing board". It means if something is not working the way you want, try again, re-invent, learn, make mistakes, keep going back to the drawing board over and over until you get it right. Over the past six months, I've decided to focus my energies on perfecting and honing my skills as an artist to another whole new level of quality and detail. All of my life, especially when I was a kid, I used to draw in extreme details when I was 10, 11, 12, etc. I like accuracy but I got frustrated when I couldn't achieve quality work like I was first seeing by artists like Chris Foss, Joe Johnston, Roger Dean and Ralph McQuarrie. I would try with colored pencils, (fail, pastels, fail, markers, fail). I would use any and all drafting templates architectural, electrical, standard, etc and I had no idea about different grades of lead graphite from 6H to 6B range. I just took a no. 2 pencil and pushed it to the limits I knew. I tried acrylic and oil painting and got frustrated because what I saw in my head was NOT what came out on paper. I would draw over and over, paint over and over until I got something I was proud of. In High School in my junior year, I finally took an art class only to be told that me and another great artist, Edward Reed who sat across from me and became my best friend, "there was nothing they could teach us as we were more talented" than the teacher. It was a bit frustrating and the only thing that kept me sane was my friend Ed to "compete" with in a friendly "throw down the gauntlet style. We used to joke with each other after doing a carefully hand-drawn portrait, "Top that dude!", which of course we strived to do. We did good, especially with portraits but we were bored, we had reached a wall, a limit of what could be achieved. Without the proper teachers and influences to guide us, to push us to the next levels, we got stuck. Luckily Ed found airbrushing and started to learn from some of the world's leading airbrush artists and I discovered H.R. Giger and Syd Mead around the same time. No one told us the path to choose, we had to blaze our own. There were gateways to Hell we were forced to go through due to unforeseen circumstances and we persevered, but like a good Battleship like the Galactica, we took a heavy beating from the world of reality. Wrong place, wrong time, wrong influences. That's why I don't want to hear from the younger crowd today any excuses of why they can't achieve greatness. They have access to amazing teachers online, the web, the Gnomon School training, cool software and drawing boards (Wacom), and amazing programs both free and powerful or established, costly but effective programs that allow a person that has a home computer to do anything now. They have no excuses except they can pull the lazy card. You get what you put into it. You work hard to create great work and you stay humble so you can always learn from others and keep and open mind to listen to what the masters can teach you every day! So, here I am at 49, I've made a good career as a fairly accomplished artist. Guess what, I'm going back to the drawing board everyday to relearn the basics, the proper geometrics and mathematical formulas for not good but great drawing and sketching that will translate better to better, more high quality master works. In other words, I'm re-practicing and re-training my brain and my hands to learn better ways of creating the images I want and have wanted to create since I was a child and finally we have the ability, knowledge, experience and wherewithal to do so; to execute not good, but great pieces of art that will stop even more people in their tracks to say around the world "Have you seen this guy's work!?!!?" It's not an ego thing, it really isn't, it's personal, it's a challenge that was given to me and I accepted it when I was 10. It's now time to start "proving" it like never before. So, like Master Yoda would say, I have to unlearn what I've learned and learn the better ways, the correct ways that are the slightest nuance people see without knowing it in my works. It's what separates the good from the great. I will never be the "best artist in the world" - There is no such thing. There have been the trail-blazers in the past from DaVinci to Frazetta to the modern masters. I want to create work like they do with figures, with animals. I want to paint more like the quality and precision of Syd Mead, Ralph McQuarrie, Daniel Simon and Stephen Martinaire' and the raw passion and vibrancy of John Pitre and John Berkey. Finally if I can add the haunting mystery of Beksinski and H.R. Giger and combine that with the sheer raw talent of Frank Frazetta; I might have something I'm so proud of that I can go to my creator with like a child ready to show their parents - "Mom, Dad, Look what I made for you!". I love my work, the quality, the passion, the beauty but there can be so much more to create that's in my mind's eye. I've learned more in the past two months concerning the mass connection of music, mathematics, art and sacred geometry that I ever had before reading tons of books and while I continue to "re-learn" how to paint a human being like a master, there will be no rest for me. It's time to awaken the Sleeper and Rise from the ashes of Brimstone like a Phoenix and play Daedalus as Icarus flew too high. We can not be like Prometheus. We have to craw before we walk and we have to walk before we can dance. So I'm back to learning new and better techniques that ever before!